Your House, My House: Batla House
By Amit Sengupta
03 August, 2009
Hard News Media
As rain eludes like a miracle which must never happen and the heat moves like a snake inside the poisoned intestines of modernity's bad faith, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has yet again sprinkled salt on festering wounds. And mind you, this pain and injustice will sprinkle and scatter and spread across the parched landscape like a curse and come back again and again, like salt on blood.
If the current wise men in the NHRC think human realism and bitter realism can melt away or diffuse just because time and justice move so slowly, then they should look at the infinite history of festering memories, the knowledge system of organised injustice: 1984 Delhi, organised massacre of Sikhs, or 1992-93, the Shiv Sena pogrom against Muslims in Bombay, and the Gujarat genocide in 2002, of the many classical renditions of mass murders of innocent Indians in Indian democracy, State sponsored, or sponsored by non-State actors.
It's amazing how myopic human judgement can become. But does that make a philosophical conjecture myopic, the object of investigation an eternal emptiness, the public spectacle of a horrible event a thing which happened only as the police saw it, created it, thought it out, turned it into a subjective-objective reality?
The bomb blasts in the heart of Delhi, Jaipur and Ahmedabad ripped through the hearts of thousands of citizens of India, and the pain and anger will and must remain, as will the complete mistrust of the police and the intelligence apparatus which almost always can never anticipate, or stop terrorism, which almost always discovers post facto the masked faces of the police version of cracked cases.
The Batla House case is as cracked as the cracked conscience of those who refuse to enter the totality of the endless black holes and unanswered questions that preceded and followed the encounter, widely considered as a fake encounter. And if it is not a fake encounter, prove it. Let us see all sides of the truth. Give evidence, and not only the police version, will you?
How can a nation celebrate its daily life of multi-cultural patriotism when such brazen Alienation Reports move in a continuous spiral of deliberate, systemic, bad faith? How can an organisation which the country looks up to as the symbolic custodian of human rights, actually go ahead and submit such a one-sided, unilateral, shoddy report as it has done on the Batla House case? Did it not feel an iota of remorse or self-doubt in terms of being on the right side of objectivity, history? Is there nothing called the totality of truth, looking at all angles of the rectangle, the grey of the twilight zone?
The centre of the vicious circle?
The holes on the head of that boy, Sajid, as if he was made to sit down and shot from above, will remain etched in the nation's memory. As holes. As black holes in the police version. As all the uncanny, hard-headed questions raised by the Jamia Teachers' Solidarity Group, reporters of the Mail Today, media, lawyers, politicians, civil liberties activists, students, neighbours, friends, fathers, brothers, mothers, sisters: are their questions, their world view, a piece of shit? Are they outside Indian democracy and the system of justice?
The eminent members of the NHRC should have visited the dingy bylanes of Batla House and Jamia Nagar next to the Jamia Millia University in Delhi soon after the encounter: the white fear of the Special Cell of the Delhi Police was as visible as colour white, as cold and as cutting as ice, you could slash it with a knife and find its cold edges inside the skin and eyes. So intense was the fear.
The mass brutalisation and alienation of an entire community. Organised hounding of the young. The destruction of hope in a secular democratic India.
This is exactly, yet again, what the NHRC report has done, and done so effectively.
If history lessons can be repeated, then this NHRC should revisit the painstakingly documented NHRC report on the Gujarat genocide, 2002, with every version recorded and interpreted in the light of truth. No wonder, almost all official and independent institutions in India and abroad accepted the NHRC report: the Election Commission of India, Editors Guild of India, Independent Tribunal of former judges, women's groups, fact-finding teams, media, civil society, filmmakers, and even the Supreme Court in its observations on the Best Bakery case. In all probability, the SIT will yet again reinforce the NHRC report on Gujarat 2002.
Indeed, if the current NHRC can't repeat history, the least it can do is to scrap this farce. And start renew. On the side of justice, objectivity and fair play. Or else, the wounds of injustice will continue to fester - from here to eternity.