Scathing indictment of the state
30 years ago, the then ruling Congress party with the active involvement of the police forces, carried out a terrible genocide of people of the Sikh faith. The streets of our capital Delhi, as well as the streets of many other cities of our country such as Kanpur, flowed with the blood of men, women and children. In broad daylight, people were burnt alive with the police supervising the genocide. A macabre “Diwali” was organised by the state with the slogan “Khoon ka badla khoon”. People of the Sikh faith, were pulled out from trains and buses, all over the country and brutally killed. The then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi justified this in a public meeting in Delhi soon after, saying “when a big tree falls, the earth shakes”.
None of the leaders who organised this genocide, in which thousands of people were murdered and the lives of their families destroyed, has been punished in these 30 years. Numerous parties and coalitions have been in power, in this period, but nothing has changed as far as the question of punishing the guilty is concerned.
Thousands of people were killed in state sponsored massacres following the destruction of the Babri Masjid in December 1992 in Uttar Pradesh, Mumbai, Surat and other places. Thousands more were killed in the genocide of people of the Muslim faith in Gujarat in March 2002. In Kashmir, over 80,000 innocent people have been tortured and killed. Thousands of bodies of unidentified youth murdered by the security forces of the state have been recovered from the canals of Punjab. While thousands of youth of Assam and Manipur, and youth of the Muslim faith from all parts of the country, have been murdered in fake encounters, their killers roam the streets scot free. Communal killings of people continues till this date, as part of the official and preferred policy of the ruling class.
This is one side of the “rule of law and order” in our country. The other side is the lakhs of people rotting in the jails of our country for unproven crimes.
In September 2014, a bench of the Supreme Court headed by the then Chief Justice RM Lodha ordered the release of over 2 lakh people from the jails of our country on bail, who are undertrials, and have served over half the maximum jail term they could be awarded, if and when they are convicted when their trial came to a conclusion. According to official figures, this constitutes over 67% of the people in the jails of our country. The reason most of these victims of injustice have not come out on bail earlier is because they cannot afford the lawyers to bail them out, or the money required for bail!
Of 381,000 prisoners in jails across the country, over 254,000 are under trials, namely persons who have NOT yet been convicted of any crime and whose trials are going on. There is also very high number of prisoners who are not even charge sheeted and they also languish in the jails for long time.
Under the prevailing system in India, the police and other arms of the state have wide ranging powers to accuse and incarcerate people. Those who are poor and do not have the means to arrange for lawyers and/or sureties for bails, languish in jails for decades as under trials. In thousands upon thousands of cases, poor people undergoing trial who cannot arrange for sureties are condemned to be incarcerated for periods even longer than the maximum sentence that they would have been awarded if found guilty.
It is also well known that the police and other arms of the state regularly foist false criminal cases upon workers, union activists and others fighting against injustice. Over 150 workers of Maruthi Suzuki plant in Manesar are being held in jail after undergoing severe torture, for the crime of fighting to form their own union. Thousands of youth of the Muslim faith are picked up and locked up and tortured for months and years. Many have been released after several years, without even being charge-sheeted, during which time they have lost their livelihood and their families have undergone great suffering.
Large number of people have been arrested under black laws such as Terrorist and Disruptive activities Act (TADA), Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA), Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), etc.
For example, from 1984 onwards, approximately 75,000 people were detained under TADA; of these, at least 73,000 cases were subsequently withdrawn or acquitted. The conviction rate under TADA was less than one percent.
The State uses such black laws for arresting such large number of persons under this to deny them any opportunity for bail or justice and to harass and oppress them. They have also been used all over India to arrest Muslims, adivasis, dalits, workers and even children and keep them locked up in prisons.
Those who are responsible for ruining the lives of innocent people - police and other authorities starting with those in command, need to be punished severely. The Supreme Court order does not even talk about this. Nor does it address the question of why innocent people are regularly locked up and tortured and even killed by the state authorities or spell out measures to prevent the same in the future. The Supreme Court is silent on the use of fascist laws to arrest and torture innocent people. The Supreme Court order is also silent on whether speedy justice will be ensured for under trials in future.
The colonial era Criminal Procedure Code needs to be urgently repealed. This law was established to persecute the patriotic fighters for freedom. All the Preventive Detention laws are also modelled on similar colonial laws passed to incarcerate revolutionaries. They too need to be repealed. The colonialists ensured that there was no law to prosecute the rulers guilty of crimes against the people, including genocide. This state of affairs continues till today. The judiciary defends the “rule of law” of the reactionary bourgeoisie, and ensures the criminalisation of the vast masses of people and their struggles.
The toiling people of our country, all those fighting for justice and for a new society free from exploitation and oppression, state terrorism including state organised communal massacres, cannot hope for salvation from the Indian judiciary. The judiciary is but another arm of the reactionary state, aimed at legalising and justifying the suppression of the toiling masses. We need to fight for a new state power, the rule of the workers and peasants, in place of the rule of the bourgeoisie, so as to guarantee human, democratic and national rights for all. The judiciary under the rule of workers and peasants will ensure the enforcing of these rights.