Friday, 25 March 2016

Press note issued today, March 26th 2016, on the occasion of the release of the report of the Peoples Commission headed by Justice Katju at Chandigarh

Press note issued today on the occasion of the release of the report of the 'Peoples Commission' headed by Justice Katju at Chandigarh on March 26th, 2016

Press Note

Justice Katju Commission of Enquiry was formed at the request of some Human Rights organization to enquire into the incidents of 14th October, 2015 at village Behbal Kalan and Kokaputra, Faridkot, Punjab, in which two persons were killed and several others injured due to Lathi Charge and Firing by the Punjab police and property was damaged. Although the Punjab government has also set up a commission of enquiry into the matter but there was general lack of confidence in this ‘official commission’ and hence the request for the formation of this ‘People’s Commission’. Thus, the purpose of this ‘Peoples Commission’ is to investigate into the aforesaid incidents, record its findings and put them in the public domain for the people to know the truth.

Behbal Kalan Incident

Mr. Justice M. Katju, a former Justice of the Supreme Court of India, the Chairman of the Commission,accompanied by a large number of individuals as also members of Bhatinda Bar Association visited the spot of Police Action at Behbal Kalan on 30th January, 2016 for site inspection. Thereafter on 31st January, 2016, The Commission again visited the said village and held its formal sitting in the premises of the local Gurudwara.
The Commission ensured that prior notices were issue to authorities of the Punjab Government i.e. the Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and D.G.P, inviting them to appear, either personally or through their representatives, before the Commission but unfortunately, they neither responded not any of their officials appeared before the commission. In the morning of 31st January a notice was again sent to Sh. Amar Singh Chahal, D.I.G. Faridkot who is also a member of the SIT formed by the State Government to look into the matter. This procedure was adopted to strictly to comply with the rules of natural justice, which requires that both sides should be given opportunity to be heard. However, despite our giving ample opportunity, no representative either of the State Government of Punjab or of the police department appeared before us. The Commission was therefore constrained to proceed in their absence. In course of the press conference held at Bhatinda, on Feb 1, 2016), this Commission again announced that ‘doors’ of this Commission shall remain open for about a week (till 7/02/2016). The Commission delayed its report hoping that the Government will response but it is unfortunate that despite subsequent telephonic enquiries from the office of the Chief Secretary Punjab, no attempt has, till now been made by them to co-operate with this Commission. It equally painful that despite it being an open and shut case, the Commission appointed by the Punjab government has also made no headway till now.
It is still more painful to note that no headway has either been made in the deplorable, painful and shameful incidents of desecration of Holy Shri Guru Granth Sahib at several places in the month of June 2015
Anyhow 37 witnesses presented their affidavits at Behbal Kalan. Instead of merely relying upon the affidavits, these witnesses were thoroughly examined before taking their testimony on record. Several other witnesses and victims also chose to depose before the commission and were examined accordingly. This process was adopted to ensure the credibility of witnesses and not to accept their statements blindly.
All affidavits and statements were divided into three broad categories to facilitate in-depth examination of each of them:
1-      Statements of relatives of those who had lost their lives in the unfortunate incident of police firing.
2-      Statements of individuals who had received bullet injuries in the said police firing.
3-      Statements of those individuals who received blunt injuries in police lathi charge and whose property was destroyed in police action. This category also includes persons who were target of police action in any other related way and had directly suffered.
Following are the details under each of these heads:-
In the police firing of 14th October, 2015 two persons namely Krishan Bhagwan Singh son of Mohinder Singh r/o V. Niamiwala and Gurjit Singh son of Sadhu Singh r/o V. Sarawan were killed.
It is unfortunate that no follow up action was taken by the authorities. However keeping in view public outrage a FIR No.130 dated 21.10.2015 was registered at P.S Baja Khana under Sections 302/307/34, & 25/27/54/59 Arms Act. This FIR was lodged on the basis of letter bearing No.318/PA/DIR/BOI dated 21.10.2015 from the Director Bureau of Investigation-cum-Chairman Special investigation Team Punjab, Chandigarh to the Senior Superintendent of Police Faridkot. Unfortunately it appears that with a view to hush up the matter the FIR names only some unknown persons as culprita. It also refers to an order No.1306/Crime-E-3 dated 14.10.2015 of the Director General of Police, Punjab declaring constitution of a Special Investigation Team headed by Sh. Iqbalpreet Singh Sahota, IPS, Director Bureau of Investigation Punjab with Sh. Amar Singh Chahal I.P.S D.I.G, Ferozepur Range Ferozepur and Sh. R.S. Khatra, IPS, D.I.G. Bathinda Range Bathinda as members. The FIR further states that the SIT had ‘gone to Faridkot’ on 16.10.2015 to take stock of the situation regarding firing at village Behbal Kalan. No headway appears to have been made in the case. There is no information regarding any progress or case diaries. There is hushed silence from the side of the government.
 Five persons namely Harjinder Singh s/o Sh. Beant Singh r/o Gurusar, Gurcharan Singh s/o Jarnail Singh of village Sarawan, Beant Singh s/o Balkaran Singh r/o V. Behbal Khurd @ Niamiwala, Angrej Singh s/o Jugraj Singh r/o V. Behbal Kalan and Gurjit Singh s/o Resham Singh r/o V. Behbal Kalan were injured in the police firing on 14.10.2015.
Those injured in the police firing as also in lathi charge stated that the police action was unprovoked and sudden. The injured included some women and even children who deposed vey vocally. It is shocking that apparently there was no magistrate present on the occasion and this formality was completed later on. Police is reported to have fired on unarmed and peaceful congregation hiding behind the pillars of a brick structure used as a bus shelter and also from behind a tractor trolley which was over turned and used as a ‘Morcha’, a shield. It was like police was firing at an enemy crowd. From the testimony of witnesses it further appears that the police party which fired was led by Sh. Charanjit Singh, S.S.P. Moga and SHO Baja Khana.
There were some uncorroborated statements given by some witnesses which claimed that the police action was ordered the moment some mobile phone call to the S.S.P. ended. The timing of the call should be a matter of record with the telecom company and taken cognizance there of by the official commission.
This commission, as such, holds Punjab police guilty of excessive and unprovoked action against a peaceful congregation and of using brutal police force including lathi charge and firing without reason and without the statutory magisterial orders which need to be passed on the spot itself.
Since there is a lurking suspicion that the police action was ordered following the telephonic orders from someone higher up who was trying to controls the situation through remote control, this Commission would like to quote the decision of the Supreme Court of India in the case of Parkash Kadam Versus Ram Parkash Gupta (2011), in which it was held that a fake encounter (read firing by implication) by the police even on direction of his superiors amounts to murder and those police men who commit the crime may face death penalty.
This Peoples Commission would also like to warn the police and administration from using their pressurizing and intimidating tactics to force people of Behbal Kalan and neighbouring areas ‘into submission’.

Kot Kapura Incident

Procedure adopted in respect of the Kot Kapura incident was the same as in case of the Behbal Kalan. In case of Kot Kapura, unlike Behbal Kalan, not too many persons came up for hearing / deposition. However some prominent and well known Sikh religious leaders and pracharaks deposed on free will and accord and got their statements recorded. They included Giani Kewal Singh, a prominent Sikh scholar and religious leader, Bhai Panth Preet Singh, a well known pracharak, Bhai Bhaktora Singh, Bhatinda, a well known Sikh religious preacher and Satnam Singh S/o Mangal Singh, resident of village Chander, Dist Ferozepur, Punjab.
In case of Kot Kapura incident aswell witnesses deposed that the police action against the peaceful protestors was sudden and unprovoked. In this case as well, despite written notices, no State or police authority cared to appear before the Commission to provide their version. Circumstances, circumstantial evidence and statements were enough to convince the Commission of illegal and arbitrary nature of the police action. Police firing is an extreme measure to be resorted to and that too only in very rare and exceptional circumstances. This, the Commission feels, that the police action was totally uncalled for and unjustifiable. We are living in democracy and people have right to protest and assemble peacefully without arms as provided for in Article 19 of the Indian Constitution. The crowd assembled at Kot Kapura was also, like Behbal Kalan, unarmed and peaceful. They had neither committed any violence nor threatened it. Therefore, it was just no occasion for the police to resort to such an extreme step as firing with live bullets.
It has also been brought to the notice of this Commission that the place where people had assembled peacefully and where uncalled for police action was staged is under electronic surveillance from all sides. The control room is located in the nearby police station. The C.C. T.V footage can bring the truth out. This commission hopes that the police does not temper with this important piece of evidence which may be called for in an appropriate court of law or forum. This commission would as such warn the police not to temper with this evidence and not to try pressurizing the witnesses, as has been brought to the notice of this Commission.
In this case also, the Commission would like to quote the earlier mentioned decision of the Supreme Court of India in the case of Parkash Kadam Versus Ram Parkash Gupta (2011), in which it was held that a fake encounter (read fake action, by way of implication) by the police even on direction of his superiors amounts to murder and those police men who committed the crime may face death penalty.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Shaheed e Azam Bhagat Singh

Was reading Shaheed e Azam Bhagat Singh's writings and documents.
Awe inspiring man and writings.
Shook me up.
"My strength is the strength of oppressed, my courage is the courage of desperation", he wrote at one place in his diary.
Needs a thought...

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Chapter 5; The Death Route: ‘Genocide’ of a Great Civilization'

Chapter 5

Golden Triangle and the Golden Crescent

After having understood, what Heroin exactly is, we can move ahead to understand the dynamics of trade of this deadly and lethal Drug.

The world, as it exists today, has two major opium producing areas. The ‘Golden Triangle’, consisting of Myanmar, Cambodia and surrounding area on the North Eastern side of India and the ‘Golden Crescent’ on the other side and consisting of Afghanistan, North West Frontier Province of Pakistan and surrounding areas. India is, thus, more or less sandwiched between two of the major Opium producing areas of this world. Here, in this chapter, we will talk about the golden crescent. 

                                    Image of the ‘Golden Crescent’ and the Golden Triangle’

The Golden Crescent

Golden Crescent is located on the good old Silk Route; on cross roads of Central, South and Western Asia, overlapping mountainous peripheries of three nations; Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, though only Afghanistan and neighbouring areas of Pakistan known as North West Frontier Province primarily produce opium. Iran and Turkey traditionally and primarily remained a consumer and a prominent trans-shipment route for the smuggled opium and opiates. Afghanistan is the primary opium producing area in this belt. On an average it produces about 90% of the world’s non pharmaceutical grade opium. 

Opium Poppy and its Sap

As on date the Golden Crescent has a more notorious place in the history of opium production as compared to Golden Triangle of South East Asia, the older and traditional opium producing areas of the two. History of bumper production of opium over the years and manufacturing of heroin becoming a massive 'cottage industry' has its roots in the turbulent political history of the region. 

Though Afghanistan was not a politically, socially and financially stable country but the ouster of Mohammad Zahir Shah, the last king of Afghans, in a coup in 1973 is considered to be the triggering point of a prolonged period of political unrest; on account of a number factors, international politics involving Russians and Americans included; and consequent turmoil within various Afghan war lords as also good chunks of mujahidin taking on to opium production in a bid to generate more and more drug money with which arms, ammunition, explosives and war machinery could be purchased. the period of turmoil is still going on in Afghanistan.

                            King Zahir Shah, Russian withdrawal, Mujaheddin, War lords


NATO forces in Afghanistan

At the peak of its opium production in 2007, Golden Crescent produced more that 8000 of the world’s total 9000 tons of opium. It had then almost monopolized the world market. Though the yield has come down a bit but it still is the most opium producing area in the world. This area also dominates the cannabis resin market on account of the high resin yields of the region, 145 kg per hectare of land which is almost four times than of Morocco standing at 36 kg per hectare of land. Available figures indicate that the Golden Crescent also caters to a much larger world market of Heroin, about 64% more than that of the Golden Triangle. It produces and distributes over 2,500 megatons of opiates to Africa, Europe, North American sub continent and the Central Asia and supplies to almost 9.5 million opiate users worldwide. On an average about 5300 tons of opium is estimated to be produced in Afghanistan alone of which, most is estimated to be converted into heroin. Most of the produce comes from the provinces of Kandahar and Helmand of this country. Despite worldwide efforts to capture and seize as much opium products as possible, only about 1% of heroin exported from Afghanistan in an illegal manner, is intercepted by various national governments. It clearly indicates either the ‘complicity’ or ‘a-complicity’ of the powers that be. The enormity of the problem, worldwide, can be gauged from the fact that over one million people are estimated to be involved in the business of drug trafficking.

Opium producing area in Afghanistan
Historically, in the late 1970s, the Afghan government began to lose control of its provinces during the Russian invasion of 1979-80 and it was during this time that Afghan warlords flourished and with them, the production of opium. It was primarily because the ‘regional commanders’ were in desperate search of modes to generate money to purchase arms, ammunition and the weapons. Till this time the smuggling route was primarily via Balkans, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan.     

                                                 Drug routes from Afghanistan
This was the time when, in mid 1980s, the Pakistan I.S.I. started pushing drugs into India through smugglers, who in the intelligence language, are known as ‘common sources and resources’. When the Soviet army was forced to withdraw from Afghanistan, in 1989, a power vacuum came up and various Mujaheddin factions started fighting against each other for power. The West, by this time, had also discontinued its support to them against the Soviets and consequently the poppy cultivation out there was deliberately increased manifolds, by the warlords. It reached its peak in 1999 and the world was flooded with Opiates. Since then the poppy production in Afghanistan has been varying slightly up and down but more or less the average opium production has remained the same. And one of the favoured routes, besides others as depicted in the map, remains through the Indian Punjab.

                                                   India becomes a major route

Major destination of the Afghanistan produced opiates remains Europe and North America. Major routes include Afghanistan on to Iran, Turkey and then in to Europe. Turkey falls both in Asia and partly in Europe as well. Other prominent route is via Russia and parts or the erstwhile U.S.S.R.; and then came the route through Pakistan, the sea route via Karachi and other minor ports, besides the air route. The major route through India is via Punjab. Trying to understand, correctly, in this perspective, it is important to mention that the route of trade of opiates through Iran, Turkey, Russia etc remained and still remains quite hot and favoured one, but they have ‘problems’ of terrain, climate and the hostile geographic, ethnic and political reasons. Seizures have been quite high on those routes. As compared to this scenario, the smuggling of opiates produced in Afghanistan, turned out to be easier through the Indian Punjab. To start with, till mid 1980s, the border was almost porous and smuggling was easy, almost a child’s play. Then later conditions in the Indian Punjab became fluid and the concentration of the authorities got totally diverted to ensuring law and order and peace in the state or to put it more bluntly, in ensuring that Pakistan did not succeed in cutting Punjab from India. Besides these reasons, more important reason because of which the drug trade through Punjab flourished was the willing and direct involvement of some important political families of the Indian Punjab, in the drug trade. The latter successfully also ensured willing support of some of the black sheep in the security forces as also a part of the central and the state government machinery in their nefarious task of drug smuggling. 
Heroin packed in plastic covers is stuffed in to PVC pipes and pushed in to Indian side of the border

PVC pipes used to stuff in heroin 

                                                      Cylindrical shaped Heroin packets

                            Cutting through the border wires and crossing through is another mode
 As on date the smuggling through the Iranian, Turkish and the Russian routes was and still is primarily being done by rich and organized ‘syndicates’ or ‘cartels’ with the help of police and some other powerful persons who get their cut. These syndicates and cartels are primarily based in Russia, Europe, Canada and the Unites States. (See Annexure). Initially smuggling through the Indian borders was primarily being done at the behest of some powerful political families of Punjab. The direct involvement of these families still exists but there are broad indications that this route is also in the process of being taken over by regular drug mafia, the one owned and bring run buy Dawood Ibrahim.


 As already stated, in the initial years that is till mid 1980s and before, one of the major drug routes were through Pakistan itself. It was both through the sea as also air routes and it was primarily operated by the Pakistan’s I.S.I. itself. Drug consignments used to go off Pakistan either by air or the sea routes, courtesy the I.S.I. This was the time when Pakistan was getting huge American and European aid in terms both of finances and military ware. A good chunk of this money was, however, being cornered by the political bosses of Pakistan, who primarily were members of the Pakistani armed forces. They used good chunks of this aid to feather their own nests in Pakistan as also abroad. Major chunks of money coming in from these ‘donor’ countries ultimately found its way to the Swiss, American and European banks, besides the Bank of England, in the accounts of the Pakistan’s army top brass and other politicians who mattered from time to time. These, incidentally, were also the years of the growth of Pakistan’s I.S.I., the all powerful Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence that is the premier intelligence service of Pakistan which is operationally responsible for providing ‘critical national security and intelligence input to the government of Pakistan.

                                                        Pakistan's Dreaded ISI

In the initial years the task and the activities of this organization included support to the Afghan and ‘other mujaheddin groups’ against India ( a task which still continues because creating internal security problems for India remains its primary task and duty ) as also in Afghanistan which was then under the Soviet occupation. In the latter task the American C.I.A. extended total support to it. Though the role of the I.S.I. still continues in Afghanistan but the point to be brought home is that its primary target, directly and indirectly, still remains India. The ‘donor countries’ are fully aware of this fact but choose to keep their eyes classed because of the so-called tactical and strategic reasons. Primary task of the I.S.I. is to establish and run its vast network in India, be-fooling the Indian intelligence agencies, and to create political, racial, and social as also economic unrest. And for this task it has to have access to vast amounts of unaccounted money. In the intelligence parlance it is called the Secret Service Fund, in short, the S.S. fund. This fund is not subject to audit in any country and is supposed to be used only for the ‘intelligence’ related tasks. Only one ‘utilization certificate’ is required stating that, ‘it is certified that the money has been used for the purpose for which it was intended to be used’. Is it not easy? All the intelligence agencies all over the world use it. Since the budgetary allocations are not enough for the nefarious things that they do, none of them hesitates to use all sorts of dubious means to garner and accumulate this fund. All the countries do it with impunity. Intelligence and espionage is a dirty game where all immoral and filthiest of practices are employed. 


                                                CIA                                    ISRAELI MOSSAD

                                                               Russian secret services
                                                                                                                                                                   Pakistan that is the I.S.I., always required and requires vast amounts of unaccounted money to run its operations in India and required funds came and still come, primarily, thorough the smuggling of opiates and narcotics under its patronage. Initially, they pushed narcotics into India through their henchmen, smugglers included. As already stated, this was also the time when Indian Punjab was witnessing serious disturbances within. I.S.I. ensured that drugs, that is, opiates; brown sugar (as it was then called), and heroin, were pushed into India along with the consignments of arms and ammunition. To push in drugs, along with arms and ammunition, was mandatory. Smugglers were ‘duty’ bound to carry both.  While studying the problem and the magnitude of drug smuggling at that time, I was surprised to find that when the ‘drugs’ were first pushed in to India, they already had a ready-made exit route to take these drugs out to their ultimate destinations, that is the United States and parts of Europe. It did intrigue me. I wondered as to how Indian counterparts of the Pakistani drug smugglers as also of others overseas could find the ‘exit route’ over night. Of late, I had to visit all intermediate ‘drug destination’ cities to understand the situation and, as expected, I found that it was primarily the same group of erstwhile gold smugglers, which had become, jobless on account of the stabilizing of international gold prices. They were on the lookout for new business ventures and since they were already in the loop, they readily opted for the smuggling of drugs, it being a still higher return venture, though risks were almost the same.




Finally I am constrained to agree with Delhi police that Kanhaiya Kumar is not a good boy. Our reasons, however, are different. For me, he is not a good boy because he has confused me badly. For last several days I have unsuccessfully been trying to understand what really constitutes ‘Sedition’?

Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code written by British way back in 1860 tells me that, ‘whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine’. Disaffection includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity. Certain changes were, from time to time, thoughtfully incorporated and they included deletion of words like ‘Governor General, Her Majesty, Crown Representative, British India, British Burma’ etc. They were thoughtful insertions because India was deemed to have become independent.

The crux of the matter, however, remains the line, ‘disaffection towards the Government established by law’. Perfect narration it is and I do not challenge it as such. But the moot point remains whether a law made for the survival of a ’gora sarkar’ aiming to keep ‘kale Indians and brown sahibs’, under its thumb, be applicable to ‘Azad India’ (apologies for using the ‘A’ word)?
This question covers a broader spectrum. Barring a few, can most of our governments either at central of state levels; be called to be lawfully created and established? All of us are well aware of the Machiavellian, treacherous and ‘no holds barred’ electoral politics of India. Drug, money, intimidation, blackmailing, murderous mayhem etc have become the salient features of Indian democracy, as we have it today. Governments are often also made either by be-fooling or ‘coaxing’ people with the help of a well orchestrated electoral propaganda run by ‘anti-national’ guys sitting in their air-conditioned chambers using computers, visuals and media campaigns. Such campaigns cost millions and these backroom guys keep running to their banks, laughing all the way.


‘Garibi Hatao’, ‘ Roti Kapda aur Makan’, ‘India Shining’, ‘Achche Din’, ‘Peoples Share in Black Money stashed abroad’, ‘People share in the massive privately held Indian Gold Reserves’ have only helped politicians grabbing the chair. People remain wherever they are, that is if they do not slide down further. Such like people, including me myself, continue love to be be-fooled further by politicians who first take the carrot away from our mouth and then very generously toss it back winning accolades from foolish people like me. This guy Kanhaiya had hit the nail on its head when he stated that fellowships are given, cancelled and again given only to ensure that ‘fellows’ remain in queue. Provident funds are taxed and again made partially tax free to ensure that workers, their hands folded, remain lined up in front of the governments of the day.


Can such like Machiavellian governments be called ‘lawful? May be for some people they do, but certainly not for a free radical like me, who has seen them from inside for about four decades.
The present laws governing sedition need to be replaced. Challenging cheat of any government is not sedition. Anything affecting the sovereignty, security, economy, dignity and suchlike things of the country is, certainly, sedition. Allying or trying to ally with forces opposed to the freedom of the country is sedition. Surrendering national interests to foreign powers either for pittance for the nation or for personal gains, name or fame is sedition. I have known some such persons who fall in the last category and still known to be ‘great statesmen’.


But who is going to bell the cat? 

Certainly not such of the governments which continue raping its people even without condoms and counting imaginative condoms in the closets of others.