28th August 2006 - almost three years back I had written this post on my blog. Today on 14th July 2009 newspapaers report that all those charged with the henious crime were exonerated because of lack of evidence. The judge mentions in his judgement that the prosecution "failed misrably to prove its case". (watch/read more details here)
First a recap - I refer to the death of a simple and respected professor at a college in Ujjain. He and his colleagues were humiliated (the least that can be said of the treatment that they received) by ABVP functionaries in connection to the student body elections taking place on the college campus. Please read my earlier post for more details.
Some facts of the case - at least 100+ staff and students were witnes to the incident. A lot of policemen were present on the spot - as there was a student body election going on. At least two people had spoken clearly in the media after the incident clearly identifying people involved in the crime. Also police officers on the duty had identified the ABVP functionaries as responsible for the incident and the resulting death (source : media reports). The incident has been recorded as video and to the best of my knowledge was available to police and prosecutors to present there case.
Some additional facts - The trial of the case was transferred out of Ujjain to on the plea that the administration and the local elements of ABVP might not allow a free trial to happen in Ujjain. Just a couple of days after the incident - the Chief Minister of MP (no less) issues a statement that the incident was an accident (no enquiry or reports needed - he knew it). 69 (no less) witnessess turned hostile and back tracked their statements issued earlier. Those who back tracked on their statements included Police officers who were present on the scene.
All these leads to a very sad conclusion - everybody knows that a person was killed, all of us know that the petrators had political and financial clout, so despite it being an openly known truth - the perpetrators of the henious crime will not just go unpunished (no thats not that horrid) but they would go vindicated on their belief that they can get away with anything (even murder).
This development has far reaching implications. In my earlier post I wrote that MP could go the UP/Bihar way. Today's development strengthens my worst fears. We are living an India which is increasingly tilting towards becoming a loosely joined states which are under some or the other form of dictatorship. If you are on the side of politicians (ruling or opposition) you are safe. The only exploited, exposed, victimised and insecure section is the law abiding, decent, quiet, often decieved and regularly cheated "aam Aadmi". If this case has travelled this far thats because of an incessant conviction of Prof. Sabharwal's son who still swears to carry on this fight to higher courts of the country. In his words "I refuse to be treated like an insect in this country".
This development takes the societal insensitivity to new levels where not a single soul in the entire crowd could carry the courage and conviction to be on the side f truth. This cowardice of us - the Indian citizen - is a big hurdle in our growth as a nation. Prof. Sabharwal's case was carried this far on tha fact his son is in media and so he could manage to get some footage/airtime/newprint - otherwise there must be scores of cases where the Politician-Goondas cartek are able to swiftly push the dirt below the carpet.
I end this piece with a really heavy heart and lot less hope for a just, clean and livable India. We Indians need to bring more hope. The last beacon for our democracy - The judiciary - seems to be reaching the stage of being incapcitated by the sheer insensitivity, incompetence and corruption of the society at large and administration in particular.