Sohrabuddin: Interrogating the media - The New Indian Express

Sohrabuddin: Interrogating the media

Published: 11th August 2011 02:03 AM

Last Updated: 16th May 2012 10:20 PM

The facts unfolded here reveal a conspiracy – a hostile political strategy to communalise, thus weaponise, an illegal encounter killing to demonise a selected State; to oust its leader, outside ballot process. That State is the least sinner in fake encounters, just one in a hundred. Yet, its leader is vilified as ‘Mauth Ka Saudagar’ [merchant of death]. So, the selected State’s leader is the target, not fake encounters as evil. The State selected? Needs no guess. It is Gujarat, certified as the best governed, most prosperous. The leader targeted? Needs no mention. Narendra Modi, known as the cleanest, also the ablest. The National Human Rights Commission’s list of 440 fake encounters from 2002 to 2007 under inquest shows the share of Gujarat as just 5, almost the lowest. Uttar Pradesh tops the list with 231, followed by Rajasthan 33, Maharashtra 31, Delhi 26, Andhra Pradesh 22, Uttaranchal 19, Assam 12, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka 10 each, Tamil Nadu 9, West Bengal 8, Bihar and Haryana 6 each. More. At 7.25 am, on 8.8.2011, the NewX channel reported a further 120 fake encounter deaths in UP after 2007!

Yet, from 2006, the ‘secular’ media has been obsessed with, not the most guilty in encounter sins, but the least — Gujarat; and with only one of the 440 encounters — of Syed Sohrabuddin in Gujarat, none from the rest. Baying for Modi’s scalp, the media relentlessly pursued Sohrabuddin’s case, charged Gujarat with killing him [and his wife, Kausar Bi] only because of his religion. It made Sohrabuddin the poster boy of secularism, insisted on CBI probe to cover Amit Shah, Gujarat Home Minister then, and Modi himself. The judiciary too chose for CBI probe only Sohrabuddin’s case out of the 440 encounters. Later when CBI misused the court mandate, resorted to patent illegalities to fix Shah and target Gujarat and Modi, the media even seemed relieved. Interrogatories to ‘secular’ media on its role in the Sohrabuddin case are overdue. Here are some.Did the media even hint that, like Sohrabuddin’s in Gujarat, there were 435 other encounters outside, being inquired into by NHRC? No. And did it ever ask for CBI probe into them? No. Did it ever tell the true facts about Sohrabuddin, other than about his religion, like that he was a dreaded criminal, a crony of Sharif Khan, Dawood Ibrahim’s Gujarat head; or that he was arms carrier for ISI; or that a huge cache of 24 AK-47s, 22 grenades, 5250 rounds of AK-47 ammunition, and 81 magazines, adequate for a 1993 Mumbai blast were recovered from his farm house; or that he served a 5-year jail term under terror law? Never. Did it ever say that he had 21 big crime cases against him – two, under anti-terror law and nine, under Arms and Explosives law – in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan? No. Did it even remotely hint that he had had connections with LTTE’s drug peddlers or that he contract-murdered in broad day light in Chennai an advocate who had tipped off the Narcotic Control Bureau about LTTE or that he killed a gangster, Karim Lala, in Udaipur in December 2004 and took over his extortion business in Rajasthan – for which Rajasthan was after him? Never, ever. In contrast, one magazine even profiled him as a ‘Muslim businessman’!

The media hid Sohrabuddin’s criminality and sanitised him as Modi’s victim. The Congress party improved it.  It made him the main issue in the 2007 Gujarat Assembly elections, thus adding communal poison to an illegal killing to make it deadly. Sonia Gandhi, adopting Sohrabuddin as the party’s poster boy, charged Narendra Modi as “Mauth Ka Saudagar”. The media even saw the use of Sohrabuddin – an extortionist, arms-carrier, a murderer and the point man of Dawood – in the elections as strategic. Now begins the sickening story of how the CBI subverted the Sohrabuddin probe to suit Congress party’s politics.  

Not just BJP governments in Gujarat and Rajasthan, the Congress government in AP, headed by Sonia Gandhi’s pet YS Rajasekara Reddy then, too was deeply involved in the killing. Did the media ever highlight this fact? No. If it had, the encounter would lose its all-BJP – read ‘communal’ – character; with the Congress-mix, the killing would become secular! The Gujarat police probe in the Sohrabuddin case led by Geetha Johri, an honest police officer, showed that seven AP police officials, including two drivers, were involved in the offence; that one Kalmuddin, had invited the Sohrabuddin couple to Hyderabad; that after their stay Sohrabuddin couple boarded a bus to Sangli; that the AP and Gujarat police officials, acting in concert, intercepted the bus, disembarked the couple, took them in their vehicles; the caravan which included two Tata Sumo vehicles used by AP police reached Ahmedabad where the couple were killed. The Gujarat CID probe on the encounter in Hyderabad was moving right, but slowly, when the CBI took over the case in January 2010. The CBI charge sheet of 23 July 2010 itself admits that AP police were party to the offence. But where did the Gujarat CID probe hit the roadblock in Hyderabad?

Geetha Johri, who uncovered the fake encounter, arrested her own colleagues, had sought the co-operation of Balwinder Singh, the Commissioner of Police at Hyderabad then, for three purposes: one, to question the AP police officials who had assisted the Gujarat police; two, to trace the missing Vehicle Entry Register of the AP IPS Officers Mess for the period August 2005 to May 2006 that would identify the two Tata Sumo vehicles, their drivers and also AP officials who went in them all the way to Ahmedabad; three, to track down Kalimuddin, who hosted Sohrabuddin at Hyderabad. But Balwinder Singh would not co-operate. QED: the Congress was determined not to expose its role in the sin. See what it did instead. Who did it choose to head the CBI probe? Balwinder Singh! The very officer who shielded the AP police officials now heads the CBI to probe the role of the very AP – Congress? – Police! Shocked? It is just the beginning, with more shocks to come.

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