Friday, 29 January 2016
Wednesday, 27 January 2016
Post Pathankot, a number of questions have risen to the fore, neither for the first, nor for the last time.
What ails the investigation, both of Dinanagar & of Pathankot? Shooting down a few of terrorists in our territory is no big deal, but the question is of the will to try to unearth the conspiracy and there appears to be none. And lack of will takes us to a good number of Babus and Security Officials aspiring to grab the ‘Apex’ grade of the service with a possible lucrative postretirement benefit. There is no dearth of such butt licking bafoons and how even the clever, mighty and crafty politicians fall pray to their machinations once these elements become part of their intimate coterie.
Indira Gandhi was no gullible fool, but she was fooled by a section of her coterie. Post operation blue star, in wake of the assassination of DIG Atwal, in front of the Golden Temple Complex, a section of this coterie, politicians included, and some officials of Punjab police and bureaucracy including a section of politicians of the day, favoured arrest of Sant Bhindaranwale. But no one had any idea how it was to be done; Indira Gandhi, to start up did not favour it for whatever reasons. Then someone in the high up struck a brilliant idea. Both intelligence bureau and the R&AW were ordered to launch a clandestine operation and under which, innumerable number of letters were posted to Indira, some by name, some others care the PMO etc. Attempts were not to let any pattern fall in. These letters stated how anguished the writers were at ‘ lack of her will to restore normalcy in Punjab’. The letters, written in emotional and surcharged language stated that ‘lack of action did not behove’ the image of an ‘iron lady’ who had so brilliantly helped in creating Bangladesh. This operation sowed the first seed and in due course of time dreaded and ill conceived operation blue star happened.
Similarly Modi is no fool. To rise from a Chaiwala to the very top job in the country is no easy task. He has substance. He certainly has a pain for the country and for Punjab and that is why he spoke about drugs in Punjab in his one of the initial ‘Man Ki Baats’. But what happened there after? He, now, is just not able to react to the ‘drug issue and tragedy of a dying valiant civilisation on a piece of land where one Harappa & Mohenjo-Daro civilisation existed. Did his coterie play managed this changed attitude?
Now let us straight back to Punjab, Dinanagar and Pathankot, to be more precisely. It is undeniable fact that a well laid out and well oiled specific coterie of drug smugglers exists in the entire Punjab society; be it political, administrative, security or civil. And the prime motive for each of them is drug money for whatsoever purpose, including politics and personal squandering. Punjab politics is primarily dependent on drug money. All and sundry, 'except our high and mighty politicians, both in centre and state, Election Commission of India and police/ security agencies' know this open secret which is written in capital letters, the world over.
Drug was the main electoral issue in the 2014 general elections. And now when the state of Punjab is approaching towards the 2017 state assembly elections, a number of leaders are sweating under their shirts. Various coteries have started working over time. Where as one leader swore by a holy book to finish drugs within four weeks if they come to power, some others are busy proclaiming that drugs are a ‘non issue’ in Punjab. Sources in the Intelligence Bureau make no bones about the fact that they have been busy sending reports to their head office in Delhi that drugs are going to be the major issue during the forthcoming elections in Punjab. And the ‘crisis management teams’ both at the centre and the state have been in working in the very top gear go ensure that it does not become so.
Some political parties are all out to prevent drugs becoming a major political issue in 2017 Punjab elections.
So what is happening post Pathankot, is no big deal. Attempts of the NIA appear to be to shield some vested interests and the all pervasive POLITICIAN-DRUG LORDS-SECURITY/POLICE NEXUS. Attempt is on to save some political interests in Punjab and if for such a grandiose task, ‘flimsy’ national interests need to be sacrificed then who the hell bothers? Hence the allegations that entire drama being enacted by the NIA is a charade. I don't know. But one thing is sure; that in a sham democracy like ours drugs and drug money have consolidated their position.
Tuesday, 26 January 2016
Of Mice, Cats & Dogs & The Bourne Identities
The recently held programme in Chandigarh on December 10 to commemorate ‘International Human Rights Day’ had suddenly reminded me of the recently announced witness protection programmeof the Delhi government. This event which had RetdJustice Katju, as the key note speaker, also refreshed some old memories hidden in obscure corners of my mind. I feel that this much needed program needs to be implemented throughout the length and breadth of the country if we need to set the judicial system right. But it will be only one of the several ways needed to revamp the ‘so-called’ justice machinery in the country. There, off and on, have been allegation against a section, howsoever miniscule, of judiciary itself, and it is not a hidden secret. Several judicial luminaries including some of the former judges, eminent lawyers and jurists, besides the media itself, have been raising the issue and seeking judicial accountability and transparency.A couple of heads have rolled and a couple managed to escape the accountability. Only the time will tell if the judicial system will get the needed transparency and revamping or not.
Anyhow the question of needed reforms is not the moot point in this piece. It concerns memories, memories of a turbulent past which had shaken not only Punjab but the entire country. Yes, I am talking of the troubled past of Punjab, a past which still looms over Punjab in more than one ways.
Those were the days of the ‘Mice, Cats and Dogs’. The ‘Mice’ were the hunted category and included both militants and terrorists. Yes I draw a distinction between both the categories and some time in one of my later writings, I will talk about them at length. Cats were civilians, coming from the category of both militants and terrorists as also ordinary civilians, who were given ‘protection’ by the security forces and used as ‘moles’, both for the purposes of identification as also neutralization of militants and terrorists. I am using the word, ‘security forces’ because these Cats were used by all forces, the police, para-military, the army as also by the intelligence agencies which were acting under cover. And ‘Dogs’ were a few of the ‘handlers if the Cats’, belonging to several of the government agencies referred to in the preceding lines. Many of the Mice were eating into the personal assets, wealth and property of ordinary civilian population. Loot of some of the Mice was, in turn, devoured by some of the Cats after annihilating them and then came the variety of ‘Dogs’, a few of those ‘gentlemen handlers’ who were running a specific breed of ‘Cats’. These ‘Dogs’ might have been few, but they were ferocious. They gobbled up these Cats and grabbed whatever the latter had looted. Is it not ironical? Or maybe some of us will call it the ‘natural justice’? I do not know. The assets of some of these ‘Dogs’ were in turn swindled by their paramours and in certain cases their families managed to get control of the loot.
It is impossible to ascertain the total number of these Cats because no record thereof was ever maintained. They did not exist officially. But it is a well known fact once their utility was over, a large number of surviving Cats were given a new identity. Their old persona was ‘killed’ on papers and fake papers were generated to give them a new identity. Those were not the days of the ‘Adhar Cards’ having a unique number or gas connections linked up with their bank accounts. PAN cards were also not being used with ‘impunity’ for each and every thing. Those were the days of the good old ‘Ration cards’ which were ‘manufactured’ with great ease and the passports which were also either easily faked or issued without great hassle.
Certain officers of yesteryears have been gloating over how they had ‘resettled’ several or several hundreds of the so-called Cats. They were settled here or sent abroad either with real or faked papers on the basis of their faked identity and many of them obtained foreign nationality on one ground or the other. A few of such foreign nationals who obtained new identity are still working as moles for the Punjab police.
And now, how this ‘plan’ germinated? Those days, as also still, there is not any ‘witness protection scheme’ in operation in the country, though a beginning has since been made in Delhi. The scheme for the resettlement of the Cats was borrowed from the witness protection programmes in force in the United States of America. This country has one of the most developed of such programmes. And Americans, in turn, had obtained inspiration from the ingenious schemes which was thought of and implements by the Nazis fleeing Germany after the fall of the third Reich. The ‘United States Federal Witness Security Program’ which is generally known and is popular as the ‘Witness Security (WITSEC) programme, was enacted in 1970 under their ‘Witness Protection Act. Because of some loopholes in this programme, ‘Witness Security Reform Act 1984’ was enacted to make the system more comprehensive. Though this programme is primarily the ‘prerogative’ of the federal government but some state governments also carry it out with the concurrence and aid of the federal government. Under this scheme the federal and in some cases, even the state governments first gives a new identity to vulnerable and ace witnesses and then resettles or relocates them at a safe and distant place. Such witnessed are also given financial aid besides providing them with suitable jobs. Under these programmes several thousand of witnesses along with their families have been given new identity and resettled in the United States
The ‘Witness Security Reform Act 1984’ could not have come at a more appropriate time. These were the days when Punjab was getting more and more turbulent. But the concept of Cats had still not caught up the imagination of the Punjab police, security forces and other power centers. They were to come later on but the idea implanted by the said act caught on because all such persons, who were earlier called informers and a few of whom later got converted in to cats, always had the first query, ‘ What will we get in return?’ and ‘ How will you protect us’? Normally they gave the answer to the first question, themselves, and it was that they either wanted help in grabbing some property or to get some of their antagonists annihilated.
Simple (I know it sounds cruel and mirthless, but I just stated the fact clearly)
And Matt Damons continue living as Jason Bournes.
The other day, one of my journalist friends from Delhicalled me up to check up the reported statement of a top former diplomat that we don’t have Narco terrorism in Punjab. I was shocked beyond belief and painfullyrealised how this word means different things to different people, but I am still far from being convinced. It is indeed a pity that even when dealing with our paramount concerns about the national security, people want hard documentary ‘balance sheet’ to show what amount drugs were produced and where and where and how it is sold to terrorist groups and for what amount. I will not be surprised if in due course of time such like people will want actual written receipts for each of thetransactions and there after receipts for each of the arms deals, disbursement of money with actual video shots there of and all that. I am not that that muchintelligent and broad minded, sorry.
The word Narco Terrorism first used by a former president of Peru, a guy named Fernando BelaundeTerry, way back in 1983 to describe ambushing of hiscountry’s anti terrorist police force. Yet another of the definitions understands it as a means of attempts of narcotics traffickers to influence the policies of a particular government or a society through violence and, or intimidation, and to hinder the enforcement of anti-drug laws by the systematic threat or use of such violence. Pablo Escobar's violence in his dealings with the Colombian government is probably one of the best known and documented examples of Narco Terrorism. The term is being increasingly used for known terrorist organizations that engage in drug trafficking activity to fund their nefarious operations and enlist recruits, besides acquiring expertise, arms and ammunition.
With reference to our part of Punjab, we can trace NarcoTerrorism back to mid 1980s when smuggling of gold was substituted by smuggling of heroin from across our border. This transformation followed somewhatstabilising the prices of gold in the international markets. Prior to that old was the primary commodity being smuggled into India from two major points that is the erstwhile Bombay from where Haji Mastans and the like were operating and our part of Punjab. A number of high and mighty political leaders and other rich people were involved in this kind of activities. The reason for their involvement was the fact that the smuggling of gold required ‘patronage’ and ‘considerable monetaryinvestments. This who is who of yesteryears were the people who could do both and were doing so.
Then came mid 1980s when the colour of smuggling changed, from gold it became white, heroine, smack or Chitta, as it is called popularly, here in Punjab. This was the era of ushering in of militancy in Punjab. On account of the ‘ideological’ pressure from militants, the use of liquor was fast diminishing fast and a sizable chunk of people started getting ‘hooked’ on to opiates, that is substandard and adulterated variety of heroin. This kind of opiate was introduced mostly by the same variety of rich political and other who is who of Punjab. The reason was there for was considerable delay in getting ‘remunerated’ for the drugs passing through Punjab, to their ultimate destinations abroad. Selling of the drugs within Punjab to almost a readymade clientele which already was into opium and ‘Bhukki’ that is the poppy husk, was not difficult task.
Thus mid 1980s was the starting point of usage of smack in Punjab, which reached a peak in subsequent years followed by the introduction of ‘Synthetic Drugs’ which primarily belonged to the Amphetamine and Meth-amphetamine groups and precursor elements like Ephidrine and Pseudo Ephedrine. Being a highly priced synthetic drug, they, like the grade four heroin, it was basically and primarily an export oriented commodity. There production places were, initially lightly called, ‘export oriented units and later it became one of the code words there for.
Now comes the top secret ‘List of top drug smugglers, barons and their associates’, prepared by me in 2007 as the head of intelligence of the Punjab police, which the Punjab government is desperately trying to hide. And in course of hiding the same, they are making foolish and stupid statements even in the high court. It was a top secret list and was almost a shocking ‘Who is Who of Punjab’. I am sure that the office and spare copies of that list must be somewhere and the day some ‘righteous’ person brings it out and makes the same public, then, I wonder, how the Punjab government and its stooges, react? Now the next question which comes up is, as to why the Punjab government is trying to hide that list? A number of persons figuring in that list are the persons who are, cutting across party lines, areengaged in the policy making and implementationprocess thereof. The sole attempt of such like people is just to ensure that the drugs remain in Punjab so that they can continue their nefarious activities, politicalactivities included. And a number of them are gettingthis drug money either in the form of ‘protection money’ or their direct indulgence in the game of smuggling. These activities come within the ambit of the second of the definitions of Narco Terrorism which is given above.
Now let us deal with the history of Narco Terrorism in India. Ever since the dismemberment of East Pakistan, now Bangla Desh, Pakistan has been ‘committed’ to attempts to create lawlessness in the country and if possible, dismemberments of our Kashmir and Punjab. They have an extensive network of sleeper cells not only in this region but throughout the country. And these activities are being carried out with the help of massive amounts of drug money, with which not only arms and ammunition is being procures but it is also been used for on the ground activities. In the initial post Bangla Deshyears, these nefarious activities used to be carried out with the help of the ‘Secret Service Funds ’which havenecessarily to be reflected in the national or state budget of the country or of the state, as the case might be.. To avoid this exposure, most secret services generate their own ‘Secret service Funds’ through their illegal and nefarious activities, including gun running and drugs And the drug money provides this immense cushion to Pakistan and that too with impunity.
And if still some of the well placed individuals say that we don’t have any Narco Terrorism in the country, then may god endow them with some wisdom.
This is yet another, like all others, of my articles sent to sent to a daily, but not approved by them...
So here it is...