Friday, November 23, 2007

Courting Violence

I came home to find that there have been serial blasts all over Uttar Pradesh. 6 blasts, and 13 people have been killed, so far. Extremely tragic, but what is interesting is that these blasts were all in Court premises.

I knew this was coming.

Security in Courts, at least in Mumbai, is pathetic. The High Court has a metal detector and any baggage is scanned, fine, but other Courts are oblivious to the need for security. Even Courts which have high profile cases going on. The only Court that takes any serious measures is the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crimes Act Court at the Sessions Court of Mumbai. Not that the measures are really impressive, though.
Once, I sat in the Court while a visibly disturbed individual came in. He pushed his way through the Security Check, and no one really protested because he was a lawyer. He came in, and started asking everyone something. Then he saw me looking intently at him.
"Is the Bomb Blast Case today?", he yelled.
"Shh...." I admonished him.
He came closer, bent down to my ear, and said:
Luckily the Judge didn't notice. But everyone else did, and I got really flustered and rushed out of the Court. The guy followed.
"What Madam, you got angry because I shouted? I did not shout. I AM NOT SHOUTING!"
"Will you quiet down?" I hissed.
A Havaldar came to my rescue and led him out of the enclosure. I angrily walked up to the dozen Policemen who stood outside the Courtroom.
"What is your problem? How could you let this guy in?" I was so wild that I actually began hopping up and down.
"Sorry Madam, but he said he was an Advocate!"
"So what?" I asked. "Remember Ashwin Naik?"
Ashwin Naik, brother of Underworld biggie Amar Naik, was gunned down in the premises of the Sessions Court by two assailants who were dressed as lawyers.
"Yes, what Madam is saying is right," said one Cop, shaking his head from side to side like all Marathis do.
"I'm not here to play Underworld Trivia. I'm serious. I'm here almost every day, and I refuse to be killed because you guys can't do your job properly. If I ever see any random people inside again, you've had it. And what's wrong with checking every one who walks in? Check me, I have no objection."
"No no no no Madam, how can we?" the Havaldar blushed.
I sighed resignedly. This was really going nowhere.
But it got me thinking. So what if you were checked at the door of the MCOCA Court? You could walk into the Court with a bomb and explode it subsequently. You could walk to the door with a gun and shoot the set of decorative policemen down. Anything was possible. Even at the risk of having to get to Court ten minutes in advance to get through Security checks and get to Court by 11, is a worthy sacrifice, as long as it assures that you get out alive.
But why lawyers?
The blasts came a week after the Uttar Pradesh police along with central security agencies busted a Jaish-e-Mohammed module who wanted to target Rahul Gandhi. Lawyers had thrashed the three JeM militants when they were being produced before a court here. Police believe the lawyers were targeted because they refused to appear in cases where suspected militants arrested.
For more see here.
True. A suspected Militant in India would find it very difficult to find a lawyer. After the July 11th Serial Bomb Blasts in Mumbai, Raj Thackeray made the infamous 'fatwa' against any lawyer who would defend anyone arrested in connection with the blasts. Lawyers refusing to defend accused persons is probably one of the most blatant denials to the rights of persons which exist. Accused persons being beaten up by lawyers is also highly shameful conduct, doubtlessly. However, this is in no way a justification for blowing up Courts and killing lawyers. Needless to say that anyone arrested in this case probably will have the worst time getting a fair trial.
Another pointless Act of violence. And very scary. Because when these blasts went off, I was, well, in Court. Thousands of kilometers away, perhaps, but still.

1 comment:

annu said...

Hi Ruma,
Yeah you are right. Security checks are very vital nowadays and we all should welcome them. One just can't go by the face value of a person. I notice the policemen seated at Bandra station checking the belongings of those carrying big, sometimes suspicious, baggages. However, sometimes the checking seems to be done on a mere 'suspicion' basis. Obviously, with 2-4 cops checking the bags of thousand commuters is impossible. One wonders how can we ensure that the 'real-but-not-suspicious' and not just 'suspicious' can be caught.
Annu -