Are we being blinded by the communal virus?

Faraz Ahmad

Javed, a resident of Sambhal in western Uttar Pradesh, booked in February this year, by the UP Police for theft and slaughter of a cow, and in jail since March 8, meaning six months, put in a bail petition in Allahabad High Court, pleading that the UP Police had deliberately and wilfully falsely implicated him in the alleged crime, when he was not even present at the said spot.

 Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav before whom the bail petition came up on Wednesday September 1, had before him a simple issue whether there was any substance in Javed’s allegation in his petition– that the UP Police had deliberately falsely implicated him, presumably for his religion, (which is currently prevalent in Yogi raj), as grounds for seeking bail after languishing for six months in prison. This is not the first instance of such cases coming up before the Allahabad High Court. And why Allahabad alone, almost every high court in the country and even the Supreme Court have before them innumerable similar pleas seeking a court relief on merit of the case under the law. That’s where the matter ends. Javed’s case has reached not even the trial stage, which means so far, the Police hasn’t bothered to submit a charge sheet in the court yet and without that the man has completed the maximum prescribed 180 days in prison where the law provides for bail. Besides the Supreme Court has oft times stated in its successive judgements that in most cases except where a heinous crime like murder or rape has been committed, bail and not jail should be the rule. In the case of Arnab Goswami Justice D Y  Chandrachud of the Supreme Court, elevated from the Allahabad High Court, had reiterated this rule while granting bail to Arnab Goswami.

Meanwhile Chief Justice of India Justice N V Ramanna expressed grave concern on September 2, over attempts by a section of the media to give a communal colour to news…, adding “The country is going to get a bad name ultimately. He made these observations while hearing a petition which sought action against certain news channels for presenting news of the Tablighi Jamaat meeting at Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi with communal overtones. One wonders though if this communal virus, that Justice Ramanna rightly highlighted, is spreading faster and wider than the Corona virus and whether this is evident in the media alone or is spreading to other decision making institutions crucial to the fair and just treatment of all Indian citizens.

 Justice Shekhar Yadav wrote a 12-page judgement, which according to news reports, spoke at length on the sanctity of the Cow and the need to protect the cow at all costs. Denying bail to Javed, Justice Yadav said, “You can’t take away lives for tastebuds of a few…Eating cow meat can never be a fundamental right…” virtually pronouncing Javed guilty of cow slaughter before the trial has taken place or charges framed. It is apparent from these observations that Justice Shekhar Yadav has undoubtedly presumed Javed’s guilt of cow slaughter even before the actual trial has begun. There might have been some justification for such an observation against Javed perhaps, had even a lower court found him guilty and Justice Shekhar Yadav had been called upon to confirm Javed’s guilt. But here the matter is at a very preliminary stage. Ever since Narendra Modi became the chief minister of Gujarat and 12 years later now ruling the country for last seven years, Muslims have been implicated in so many cases. But after they have been incarcerated for more years than their alleged and unproven crime, the courts found no evidence against them.

Commenting on such a trend recently in Delhi an Additional Sessions Judge, Justice Vinod Yadav had pulled up the Delhi Police for lack of efficacy and fairness in the investigation in a case of alleged assault and grievous injuries caused to one Nasir in the North East Delhi by certain persons allegedly owing allegiance to RSS during the riots of February, 2020 and said that it had been done in a most casual, callous, and farcical manner. “Police have miserably failed in their statutory duties” in the case,” he said, also noting that police had sought to create a “defence for the accused persons named in Nasir’s complaint”.

In another case on Thursday, Justice Vinod Yadav while discharging the brother of former AAP municipal councillor Tahir Husain, named Shah Alam, of the charge of looting and vandalising a shop during the February, 2020 North-East Delhi riots, castigated the Delhi Police in the harshest language stating, “When history will look back at the worst communal riots since the Partition” in Delhi, “the failure of the investigating agency” to conduct a “proper investigations …will surely torment the sentinels of democracy.” Debunking the Delhi Police, he charged it with trying to “merely pull wool over the court’s eyes.” He also commented that there are a “large number of accused persons who have been languishing in jail for the last about one-and-a-half years merely on account of the fact that the trial in their cases are not being initiated.”

As for Justice Shekhar Yadav of Allahabad High Court, he made a remarkable disclosure that “Scientist believe Cow is the only animal that inhales oxygen and exhales oxygen too,” adding “Panchkavyam which is made from cow milk, curd, butter, urine and cow dung is beneficial in the treatment of some ailments and as per Hindu religion, there are 33 gods and goddesses which reside in the cow.”

Justice Shekhar Yadav also warned that “Every time we forget about our culture, foreigners attacked us and enslaved us, and if today also if we don’t become alert, then the example of Taliban taking over Afghanistan is before us and we should not forget it,” he stated in his 12-page long order denying bail to Javed, “falsely” implicated by UP Police in a cow slaughter case.    

Justice Shekhar Yadav’s observations in this case would not have gone down well with the Sanghi brigade either for he said, that “Muslim rulers like Babur, Akbar and Humayun imposed a ban on cow slaughter during their festivals.” Now this would appear a sacrilege to the Hindutva proponents who preach and propagate that Mughal emperors were the worst criminals and tyrants in the history of India.

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