Association for Protection of Civil Rights Goa Chapter organized a talk each at south and North Goa on “Politics Of Terror” on 19-20th Feb 2015 by the renowned and famous investigative journalist Mr. Ajit Sahi. Mr. Abdul Wahab, the State Coordinator of APCR Goa Chapter while stating the need for the talk said that Goa fortunately has a very active civil society but at same time international and national efforts to weaken civil rights group were constant. The slogan of War on Terror and the passing of draconian laws were being used to suppress civil liberties and violate human rights. Hence it was important to appraise the Goan Civil Society and the masses of the propaganda in the name of “War on Terror”. The talk in south Goa was held at MCC hall- Margao and the talk in North Goa was held at Maratha Samaj Hall- Panaji
Mr. Ajit Sahi with twenty eight years of experience in the field of journalism shot to limelight when he exposed the false terror charges on innocent Muslim youth across India. His detailed investigations of hundreds of such cases forced the police investigations teams and media houses to run for cover for the blatant lies and propaganda . He has also extensively written on the counter insurgency measures adopted by the governments in the tribal areas.
In the inaugural address Mr. Asif Hussain quoted Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, who in his address at the All India Civil Liberties Union (AICLU) said “The idea of Civil Liberties is the right to oppose the government”. He said it is the right of the Civil Society to raise questions and ask the Government about the policies and programs adopted by the government. He elaborated how this freedom to hold the government accountable for its actions will guide the nations towards policies that are beneficial to all the citizens of India. He said currently the policies adopted by successive governments since liberalization of the economy in 1992 has been favouring the few capitalists from India and across the World only. He said the policies of the governments has made basic necessities of life such as education , health and food beyond the reach of the common man. He said land acquisition and forced evictions to transfer farmers lands into the ownership of MNC’s at dirt cheap compensation, as was the attempt in Singur is a matter of great concern. Summary arrests of innocents on framed and false charges, dislodging the tribals of their lands in the garb of fighting naxalites and fake encounters were all serious matters that needed to be addressed for India to fulfill the aspirations of its countless people . He said until the governments are exposed of their misdeeds and faulty policies the dreams of Indians will be unfulfilled. He said governments across the world were using “War on Terror” to invade and occupy the land and resources of the nations. Fomenting and engineering discord in and within nations to weaken governments and later sign economic agreements with such nations after installing puppet regimes has been the practice of US and its allies. Unfortunately ever since India has extended a friendly hand to Israel and USA India’s Internal security seems threatened. At this juncture he said it was necessary to unveil the propaganda behind war on terror and expose the myth of terrorism and understand the Politics of Terror.
Talking Politics of Terror- Myth and Reality, Mr. Ajit Sahi said that it was only in 2008 that he set out with a singular mission to identify the terrorist groups across in India and since then has a pedigree in talking on the subject after extensive field investigation. He said he started with Muslim groups and he later included the Naxalites too in his investigations. He asked what else can be journalism if it is not investigative. He said using words such investigative journalism and true journalism was wrong because by definition journalism is to investigate and tell the truth. His inspiration he claims was a the description of the news he stumbled upon in a book and it described news as “what someone somewhere is trying to hide, everything else is advertisement.” He said the best examples of investigative journalism was the unraveling of the “Watergate scandal” that led to the resignation of the then President of USA Mr. Richard Nixon. He advised that when one reads the newspapers in the morning they should check whether the content is something that someone somewhere is trying to hide or whether it is a public relation exercise as it was with the auction of the suit of the Prime Minister. What surprised him most he said was that after every bomb blast the authorities would immediately identify the perpetrators immediately and secondly what bothered him and confused him was the fact that within 3, 4 or 5 days after the bombing the police would arrest few men and claim that these were the people behind the bomb blast without even completing the on-ground investigations which takes a lot of time. Thirdly the lack of interest by all in the following up the progress of the cases in the courts in spite of the bombing being accorded prime media attention also raised his doubts.
He detailed out the legal procedures involved in the cases of arrests including intimation of arrests to the judge within 24 hours followed police custody interrogation and investigation and judicial custody until filing the charge sheets which is called the framing of charges. He said it is very rare that a judge does not accept the charges and even more rare that a judge discharges the accused in this period of framing the charges as has happened in the case of the BJP president Mr. Amit Shah who has been the accused in a triple murder investigation. It is only after this process that the trial begins with witnesses bought forward by the prosecution and the defense followed by cross examination of witnesses to be followed by arguments by either side and finally the court judgement. But what surprised and shocked him the most is that nobody gave the same amount attention when the cases go to the courts. The charge-sheets he said are written in a manner that reading it is herculean task and even if one reads it is impossible to comprehend it and understand what it states. He said that there are charge-sheets that run into thousands of pages but after naming the accused in the beginning no more reference is made to the accused in the entire charge-sheet that follows and since it is cases of terrorism most end spending years together in Jail with no charges leveled. The nature and emotion behind of terrorism cases is such that no judge would want to go against the public perception of the charges and bail in such cases is a distant dream. He later said in his investigations across the country including the red-corridor states he is yet to find even one accused of terrorism amongst the Muslim, dalit or a tribal to be genuine. Citing the example of the attack on Indian institute of Science in bangaluru how investigating the authorities can mislead the public through its PR department going to the press because today one does not question the authorities. Every statement by the police and government authorities is accepted as truth. Currently an atmosphere has been created to influence our mind set to accept the fraudulent counter terrorism measures and accept it as truth and reality.
He went on further to expose the hypocritical slogan of War on Terror by the USA and how false claims of WMD’s led to th war against Iraq. He said then how lies and propaganda has been the tool of the Governments across the world and arms themselves with draconian laws to suppress the questioning of their actions. He said the modus operandi is to file cases against the innocents by investigations teams from across the states in India. So when the accused gets released from one court he is later picked by investigation teams from another state and so forth and languishes in the jails for nearly 20 years or more until he gets acquitted. He went on to remind the audience of the famous Haren Pandya case in Gujarat whose murderers are yet to be identified. He informed that on 16thMay as Narendra Modi was leading to become the Prime Minister of India on that same day the Supreme Court was releasing an order acquitting 6 persons who were falsely accused of the Akshardahm Temple attack in 2002. And the order went on to say that these six men were framed and that the Gujarat home department did not apply its mind while sanctioning the prosecution of these innocents. He even referred to the fake encounters in Gujarat in which close to 22 people were killed during the time the Narendra Modi was the chief Minister of Gujarat.
He went on to conclude that the common man never likes wars but it is always the case that they are dragged into it by the rulers , telling them that there is a threat and raise the decibel of patriotism to lead them to support the war. Every nation that is rich in natural resources has been the victim of USA represented by MNC’s. Common men have always been used as pawns to further the agenda of the few capitalists and every voice against their agenda of monopolizing the natural resources of the world has been thwarted by the bogey of war on terrorism. He said to restore human rights and civil liberties one has to constantly ask questions to unveil the lies and propaganda of those in power, whoever or wherever they may be.
The program was well attended at both the places and in the questions and answer session many important questions were raised about the collaboration between the those in power, media and investigation agencies. Mr. Ajit Sahi spoke with confidence and his experience helped him in delve deep into the subject. Many activists from Goa were relentless in asking questions and were keen to prolong the discussion to learn from Mr. Ajit Sahi Later Br. Samir Khan proposed the vote of thanks. Adv. Zaheer Abbas compered the program.