Sunday, 10 February 2013

Update India: The Noose and the Drone

On the 13th of December, 2001, at around half past eleven in the morning, a squad of five Fidayeen terrorists attacked the Indian Parliament building in New Delhi. Travelling in a white Ambassador car which was furnished with fake security stickers, it somehow managed to make its way through all the concentric layers of policemen and associated guards, until it reached the Parliament building itself. The five terrorists then – in view of TV cameras – opened fire, killing seven and injuring eighteen people before they were shot dead by the security men present. None of the politicians were killed or injured.

The incident sparked off a completely artificial war scare with Pakistan, in which thousands of Indian soldiers were sent to sit at the border and – as a lot of them did – get blown up by their own landmines. Everyone knew it was an artificial war scare because the politicians and industrialists made no attempt to send their money and families abroad, and because any war with Pakistan would mean the annihilation of India’s industrial base, which is concentrated in the west of the country. Besides, an all out attack against a nuclear-armed enemy would be the action of a suicidal moron, and whatever the Hindunazi government then in power was, it was not moronic.

In the aftermath of that attack, some people were arrested. Now, as a general rule, in the aftermath of every terror attack in India in which Muslim terrorists are either involved or suspected to be involved, the security forces magically find incredibly detailed clues (often including mobile phones complete with numbers called, left at the scene) which enable them to speedily round up a whole mess of “conspirators” – not one of whom would be under suspicion otherwise.

So it happened in this case, where these terrorists, despite the planning that got them into shooting distance of Parliament,

... left behind a thick trail of evidence—weapons, mobile phones, phone numbers, ID cards, photographs, packets of dry fruit, and even a love letter.[source]

You know, just what terrorists carry along with them to prove who they are and who their contacts are.

Among the people arrested in this case, then, were a Kashmiri fruit seller, one Afzal Guru, and a teacher in a Delhi college, one SAR Geelani. Both were sentenced to death by a special “anti-terrorism” court – one operating under a lovely, and since repealed, Indian law called POTA under which the burden of proof of innocence was on the accused (who was in custody and hence of course unable to furnish proof) and a confession to police (invariably under torture) was evidence.

But, sentenced to death or not, the case against the accused was full of holes – so full, indeed, that the Supreme Court of India finally acquitted SAR Geelani, to the fury of the Great Indian Muddle Class and the police. Geelani was then most mysteriously shot and badly injured outside his lawyer’s home one evening, but fortunately survived. Not so lucky was Afzal Guru.

SAR Geelani

A couple of months ago, I’d written about the hanging of the (alleged) lone surviving terrorist of the Bombay attacks of 2008, Ajmal Kasab. Now, there wasn’t any real doubt about Kasab’s guilt – he was even photographed in the act. But there was absolutely nothing – nothing at all – that was certain about the guilt of Afzal Guru.

That didn’t stop the Zee TV network from making a film, during the trial, and showing it on national TV, in which SAR Geelani and Guru were both portrayed as a hundred percent guilty. If Zee apologised after the acquittal of Geelani, I never heard about it. (I meant that sarcastically; of course they didn’t.)

Guru, in the "Islamic terrorist" picture in which the media always depicts him. At his arrest he had no beard and a clipped moustache.

Since this post isn’t, per se, about the trial of Guru, I am not going to go into details about the evidence (or, more accurately, lack thereof).  More information on the travesty that was Guru’s trial is here. I’ll just point out this: the Supreme Court of India, in its judgement, admitted that there was no proof that Afzal Guru was a member of any terrorist group and the “evidence” against him was only circumstantial. But, even so, it said it was sentencing him to death to “satisfy the collective conscience of society”. Meaning, someone, anyone, had to pay for the crime, so why not this ready-to-hand scapegoat of a Muslim Kashmiri?

The years went by, with Guru on death row, and with his mercy petition pending before the President of India. The Hindunazi government of the time fell, and another, equally right wing, but allegedly secular Congress Party government took over. Presidents took over and left office, but none of them made a decision on the Guru execution. (It must be understood that the President’s position in India is absolutely that of a rubber stamp; he is a complete figurehead who can’t reject any order advice sent to him by the government. He can only send it back – once – for “reconsideration”. However, he has a considerable moral authority, and anything sent back by the President is just about dead in the water.) Until this last President, Pranab Mukherjee, long a functionary of the ruling Congress Party, took over and instantly began signing death warrants.

There is, of course, a reason why Pranab Mukherjee should be sign executions at this time. Nothing in India happens without a political reason. The Hindunazis have many times over accused the Congress Party of being “soft on terrorism”, and jeered at them for not hanging Guru. Now, those of you who have been reading me for some time know that this is, positively, the worst government ever to contaminate the halls of power in this nation, so much so that (and I’m embarrassed to say this) even their murderous and corrupt Hindunazi predecessors look like angels of shining light compared to them. And now, election season is almost upon us; a plethora of state elections (including in this state) due this month, and national elections next year, which the Congress has not a hope of winning unless the Hindunazis sabotage themselves.

So, Afzal Guru was hanged on the ninth of February, in complete secrecy, the execution announced with fanfare after the fact. Curfew was also clamped down in Kashmir, just driving in the point that the government doesn’t trust the Kashmiris not to revolt. (Nice way to turn the man into a martyr.)

Incidentally, the policeman who was responsible for arresting and, arguably, framing Guru, was killed by a property dealer whom he was extorting for money. The man was an “encounter specialist” – a death squaddie, in other words, who commits extrajudicial murder and gets away with it. (There was a phase during the 2000s when “encounter specialists” were legion in Bombay and Delhi, and noted for their extreme levels of unaccounted wealth. Lately, the species has fallen out of fashion.) In other words, a paragon of honesty he wasn't.

To get back to the story: the net is already full of the Great Indian Muddle Class (who also profess to hate politicians and who claim that the extinction of the political class would gladden their hearts) cheering the hanging of Guru. Of course, if Guru were actually guilty, then they should have been mourning his death – as one person who actually took some action to rid them of the politicians they claim to despise so much. But the fact is that Guru was a Muslim, and if there is one thing that unites the Great Indian Muddle Class, it is their reflexive Islamomisia*.

After all, this same Great Indian Muddle Class makes no effort to demand the execution of (Hindu) Tamil terrorists proven to be complicit in the murder of the former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi, in 1991, and they have repeatedly voted for the chief minister of the state of Gujarat, a Hindunazi named Narendra Modi who unleashed a pogrom in 2002 in which more than two thousand Muslims were killed and many more made homeless and destitute. Nor do the courts make any effort to sentence to death Hindu terrorists who are at least as much of a threat to the country as the Muslim terrorists are.

The conclusion is inescapable – the execution of Guru, just like his conviction, was entirely a political act, and its timing gauged for political effect. And if the Great Indian Muddle Class falls into the trap (as it has) of supporting political executions, it should beware. Once a policy becomes institutionalised, it’s only a matter of time before it’s turned on its original backers. How will the Muddle Class react if a future government find it expedient to hang one of its pet Hindunazi icons? Not too well, I think.

Talking about extrajudicial murder, India’s first combat drone is scheduled to fly for the first time very soon. It’s claimed to be roughly the equivalent of the Predator. And, knowing the Indian government’s extreme subservience to the American, if the US can justify droning its own people  purely on suspicion, India can, too.

The only silver lining in this is the fact of the incredible and well-known incompetence of India’s defence industry, which can’t even produce a successful basic infantry rifle, let alone something as complex as a combat drone. One can reliably depend on the Rustom (that’s what it’s called) still being “test flown” twenty years from now, while Indian officials keep talking about how it’s going to be the best in the world when it gets into service.

Meanwhile, please note that, basically, the choice for the nation is between the ultra-right Hindunazis and the pro-Hindu “secular” ultra-right. Whoever wins, we’re all going to lose.

Here’s looking down the drain.

*         I will henceforth use this term in preference to Islamophobia. These people don’t fear Islam, they hate it. There's a difference. (misos=hatred)

Update (11 February)

Information obtained after this article was written indicates:

1. Afzal Guru himself was informed of his imminent execution only at bedtime on the night before the hanging (he was hanged at 8 am). I can only speculate on the reason, but the only thing I can think of is that it was intended to stop him from making any last minute legal appeals for stay of execution. The current Supreme Court - headed by a Muslim to boot - is a tad more liberal than the one which confirmed Guru's execution.

2. Not only was Kashmir put under curfew, but large numbers of Kashmiris in Delhi were arrested as a "preventive" including SAR Geelani, who was taken to an unknown place. As of now I am not aware if he has been released. 

3. I'm mildly surprised by the Indian media. By and large, chest-thumping is absent and some amount of soul-searching is going on. Of course they aren't criticising the execution - they
are in favour of that - but of the possibility that the hanging will wipe out the so-called "goodwill" Indians pretend Kashmiris feel for them. Well, boys - you know what, that bus left town long ago.

Copyright B Purkayastha 2013


  1. Bill, Unfortunately, with a little American know-how, maybe they can get those drone up and running sooner than 20 years from now.

    State killing is always terrible but when it's just for naked political expediency, well, that's the worst crime of all.

  2. The Supreme Court verdict says it all -

    "..........the collective conscience of the society will only be satisfied if capital punishment is awarded to the offender."

    It has been the case that the powers that be have always managed to divert the conscience of the country to suit their own purpose. And we, the citizens are guilty of having been myopic, gullible and many a times too obstinate to see right through their schemes. The vast majority of people choose to believe what they have been taught rather than seek the truth themselves. It is in a way a measure to shield our inadequacies and just shows how we have failed as a nation.

  3. Bill,
    This is all so sad. India seems to be following the US of A in near total lock step.
    As to drone killings, just look at the "grilling" given to a certain Mr. Brennan by members of the US Senate. As stated on another web site, the "hearing" resembled a well fed cat being questioned by a panel of skittish mice. This last from the WSWS web site. Yes, a socailist site. Oh dear me, now I may be on some list. Ain't 'Merikkka a grand place?

  4. Updated the post with a couple of items. Thanks for reading and responding, all of you. At least I'm not writing in a vacuum.

  5. Please keep writing. Lot of people read it. But very less comment.


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