Who is guilty? Fishplates, Pandrol Clips, TNT and Conspiracies.

Age of Innocence – Part I

Whoever derailed the Gyaneshwari Express, or had actually aimed to derail the goods train but failed, and devoured upwards of 130 unsuspecting lives & maimed or injured many more have to be held guilty of most despicable act of vile violence. Not only should the crime be thoroughly & ably investigated to arraign the guilty, but deterrent punishment should be meted out after the charges are proved. But the question is who are guilty?
According to reports “Howrah-Kurla Gyaneshwari Super Deluxe Express was derailed in West Midnapore district, about 150 kms from Kolkata at around 1:30 am on Friday 28th May 2010, when the train was running between Khemasoli and Sardiya stations, said South Eastern Railway officialsIndian Express posted this news at 04:32 am on Friday 28th May 2010. It’s report clearly states that “Maoists derailed it”. How could IE say this with certainty within 3 hours of the incident when in the same report it adds : “There was confusion on the exact cause of the disaster in the Maoist stronghold with Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee blaming it on a ‘bomb blast‘ at the rail track while top brass of the West Bengal Police said it was an act of sabotage since fish plates were found removed”. It further says, “Railway General Manager A P Mishra too said that TNT explosives and gelatine sticks were found at the accident site”, while “DGP Bhupinder Singh also said pendral clips which are used to hold sections of tracks together were found missing over a 50-metre stretch at the accident spot” and “IGP (Law and Order) S Karpurakayastha said in Kolkata that Maoist-backed People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA)has left two posters near the rail tracks “clearly owning responsibility for the derailment”.
Another devil in the detail is about the claim by WB Police that fish plates were removed when in this section of the railway tracks fishplates have no business as long welded rails are used that are held in place using Pandrol clips. Politicians & Police are both known to be partisans, but bare minimal journalistic ethics require that the claims they make are paraphrased with words like “it is alleged…” or “it is claimed….”; rather than colluding with them in baseless manufacturing of ‘truths’. The Hindu maintained the decorum by writing, “Both Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, who visited the site, and the West Bengal government suspected the involvement of Maoists”. But this is a rare exception in the massive din generated by most of the mainstream media reminiscent of hysterical medieval witch hunts. Maoists may have done it, but is it just to pronounce the judgment on who is guilty and then build evidence to suit the pronouncement? Even in the case of Ajmal Kasab, whose TV grabs in the act of terror are etched in public memory, the government rightly decided to follow the proper course of proving guilt through judicial process.
Abdul Samad Bhtakal, a terror suspect, was dramatically arrested by Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) of Maharashtra Police from Bajpe Airport – Mangalore (where Air India flight crashed on 21st May) when he arrived from Dubai on Monday, 24th May 2010. Next day, Tuesday, P Chidambaram (PC), India’s Home Minister issued a press statement “I compliment ATS Maharashtra, the Pune Police and Central agencies on apprehending the prime suspect within hundred days of the incident”(i.e. the February German Bakery Blast in Pune). This was even after R R Patil – Home Minster Maharashtra – had only a day earlier maintained “in the recent past that the suspects behind the Pune blast has been identified – and their names would be disclosed at an appropriate time, however, when finally Samad was nabbed, he denied that Samad was wanted in the Pune blast case”. Chidambaram had to backtrack on his statement on 31st May while presenting the report card of his ministry for the month. Does this inspire confidence in our entire investigating apparatus and Law & Oder machinery (for more read the Kafka Project in Tehelka)?
On 17th of May in Dantewada district (Chhattisgarh State), a private passenger bus carrying civilians was commandeered, much against the wishes of the driver & passengers and in breach of the standard operating procedure laid down for security personnel, by some 25 Special Police Officers (SPOs – mostly civilians recruited and armed to fight Maoists on meager salary and promise of regular employment in police in future) with INSAS rifles to ferry them to their destination was blown by the Maoists leading to even civilian casualties. But Maoists then had not disowned responsibility while blaming the consequences of their act on the behavior of security personnel. While in the present case, Maoists/ PCAPA have denied their involvement : “Amidst allegations that the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities played a role in Gyaneshwari Express derailment, the Naxal-backed organisation on Sunday denied any involvement in the incident and charged the CPI-M with hatching the plot. ‘We have no intention to target trains and we condemn and mourn such a colossal loss of civilian lives’, PCPA convener, Asit Mahato told PTI over telephone and charged the CPI(M) “with hatching the plot”.

The whole purpose of this documenting of facts is not to prove that Maoists are not guilty, it may turn out that after all they were responsible for it, but to show how mainstream media has colluded with Indian State into conditioning us to believe what they want us to believe without we holding them accountable to prove their case. Even if facts were to be established to be otherwise, the damage done by the witch-hunt & the consequences of resultant state policy can never be undone. Time we wake up and demand our media & journalists to behave responsibly and to do their duty of presenting unadulterated facts before us so that we can reach an informed judgment.

O O O O O O O O O O 

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