Most of those arrested by the Special Cell for aiding terror groups were later acquitted of all charges by the courts

Civil society group Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association (JTSA) has demanded that the Special Cell of Delhi Police be “scrapped/disbanded” while making its report “Framed, Damned, Acquitted: Dossiers of a Very Special Cell” public. The report, which was released by renowned writer/activist Arundhati Roy and former Delhi High Court Chief Justice Rajinder Sachar on Tuesday, chronicles 16 cases in which “most of those arrested by the Special Cell were accused of being operatives and agents of various terrorist organisations, only to be acquitted later of all charges by the courts”.

While arguing that several judgments in the terror cases taken up the Special Cell have highlighted “the manner in which the so called evidence provided by the police and the prosecution was tampered with and fabricated” and “how story after story as presented by the police was unreliable, incredulous and concocted”, JTSA president Manisha Sethi demanded “action against officers involved in the frame ups”.

“One of our eight demands is that all those officers of investigating agencies, against whom the courts have drawn adverse inferences for targeting the innocents, must be suspended with immediate effect and prosecuted for the crimes that have been committed in the process of foisting false cases against innocent accused by filing FIRs and investigation by CBI/CID. In case of promotions and awards as a result of these false cases, they ought to be stripped of such promotions and awards.”

JTSA’s other demands include a public apology by the government and the investigating agency to those who have “suffered wrongful arrests, prosecution and incarceration” besides establishment of a national commission of enquiry to document and investigate the numbers of such cases across the country and a comprehensive compensation and rehabilitation package, including assistance in education and occupation for those “wrongfully incarcerated on false charges”.

While justifying the demands for compensation, Ms. Sethi said two judgments -- Tasleema versus State of Delhi 161 (2009) DLT 660 and Prempal versus Commissioner of Police W.P. © 11079/2006 dated 25 March 2010 -- are instances which talked about providing compensation to the “victims of false prosecution”.

She said the larger issue is that the intelligence agencies must be brought under the purview of parliamentary oversight.

False arrests

Justice Sachar said cases of “false arrests of citizens” are instances of “open violation and distortion” of law by the State and its agencies. Hitting out at the Congress Governments at the Centre as well as in several States, he said the party needed to answer some serious questions on its record on terror cases and the issue of protection of rights of innocent citizens.

He said the JTSA report has highlighted that the “State has been playing with our lives and rights all this time”. While advocating stern action against police officers responsible for “false arrests”, he said: “ Its high time civil society stands up collectively and puts a stop to this kind of playing with the rights of citizens.”

While arguing that “opening of the lock of Babri Masjid”, the Government’s move to open the economy to foreign companies and India becoming a “natural ally” of the United States and Israel were interconnected, Ms. Roy said “bogies of Islamist terror” and “Maoist terror” were created by the Indian State only to justify the “increasing militarisation” of the country.

Emphasising that the State did not necessarily want to convict in cases of “false terror arrests” but the motive was to “terrorise” a particular community, she added: “It’s not about Hindu-Muslim issue but it is about power.”

She said one needs to look at the entire issue “politically”.

Jawahar Raja, who was one of the lawyers associated with the preparation of the JTSA report, said: “Civil society needs to be much more engaged with the judicial process and the process of justice delivery system because the issues of law and justice are too important to be left to the lawyers within the court room.”

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