"Never before has my blood boiled so much, before reading this heart wrenching, tragic tale of confessions,” writes Megha K.
“…Lend him a live victim” Page 3.
So many contradictions in that statement. When did we start playing God, deciding the fates of innocent, ordinary men as per our whims and fancies? Are we now back to barter system, treating humans as nothing more than mere goods? Are we legalizing trading of humans, which by definition constitutes to human trafficking, a grave offense? And all this for what, a typographical error? So, that’s all a human life is worth now, a mere typo! And the worst, unimaginable contradiction comes from the fact that the person making this statement is one who has taken an oath to protect the very men he wants to victimize.
Encounter is the worst type of murder
In a country which boasts itself of equality for all citizens under the law, why is murder distinguished based on who commits it. Killing in self-defence by an ordinary citizen requires immense proof, but this burden of proof is discharged in case of self-defence by a police officer or army personnel. Unfortunately, this liberty given to security and defence sectors has led to legitimizing encounter killings and murders, the repercussions of which are fatal to democracy and equality.
We as a society have developed such a numb attitude towards ‘justified violence’ that even after the 1970s in West Bengal, 1980s in Punjab and 1990s in Kashmir, we continue to watch the same scene right round the corner, without blinking an eyelid, without pausing to be affected by our conscience. Are we more deaf, dumb and blind than an actual disabled person? Have we lost our feelings and deprived ourselves of our virtues? What are we left with then?
Our country boasts of high class intellectuals, lawyers and judges. Then why is it that we have still not moved ahead from the archaic and draconian pre-independence era laws? Probably because we are in some still under the rule of an oppressive regime, with just new definitions and new faces. Can we truly say our country, every inch of it, is truly independent?
All we have done, since declaring our independence, and continue to do so is passing numerous acts and amendments. The Unlawful Activities (prevention) Act, 1967, Preventive Detention Act, 1950, Madras Suppression of Disturbances Act, 1948, Defence of India Act, 1967, Maintenance of Internal Security Act, 1972, Disturbed Areas Act, 1976, National Security Act, 1980, Terrorist and Disruptive Activities act, 1985, Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002, and Unlawful activities Amendment Act, 2004.
Situation today is the proof that these acts have made no place more peaceful than before, and are mainly used as a tool by the state to deprive an ordinary citizen of this country of his constitutional rights of freedom and equality, making him bound to the mercy of the state. This implies that we are not as free and independent as our constitution tells us, we are only as free and independent as our state wants us to be. Celebrating Independence Day is merely celebrating the liberation of India from the British rule. But surely this is not all that we had aimed for, was it? But, authoritarianism continues to reign in our democracy.
Have you ever wondered why these cases of illegal and brutal massacres keep repeating? Are we that incapable of learning lessons and improving our defence system? Are we really in a state of war as is suggested by the officials or are we purposefully being kept in this state of war?
A terrorist is kept in custody for months, taken care of well, and provided with an attorney, until a complete legal battle is fought to prove him guilty, even when the actual evidence for his persecution was seen live (on TV) by millions of citizens sitting in their homes. However, such is the irony of our judicial system that 100s of our own countrymen are being illegally abducted and murdered in the name of ‘militants’, without proper evidence or motive, and no one raises an objection.
Reading the confession of an army personnel, wherein he agrees to have worked with underground groups to catch the so-called militants, makes you wonder, who they were actually protecting. The roles of gangs and unaware citizens seems to have been strategically interchanged.
A high functioning system cannot work only with the one team. It most definitely requires involvement of all the stakeholders. It is a disease worse than corruption and one which plagues our country even after 70 years of independence.
The issue starts when you start looking at everything as a business, even capturing terrorists. An act that is meant to be protecting and safeguarding the citizens, an honourable act, suddenly becomes a business deal. And the deal has to be profitable no matter what the cost.
So, basically, it is all about system protecting, nurturing, and emboldening the system. System that comprises of everyone except for the group it has been created for – we, the people.
And quite strangely, the award system for bringing about peace and stability in a conflict area is based on the number of kills rather than the number of peace efforts. It is no wonder then that the number of killings and shootings are always on the rise. Now, who wouldn’t want to get that next award, that next medal of honour!
At a point, you question what is it that makes an ordinary man treat his own kind with extreme cruelty and spite? What is it that forces him to display such indecency, which one would not even expect from lions and tigers? Why is man so eager to gain authority and control over another man’s life?
The book is an eye-opener
By the end of the book, you neither feel disgusted nor angry. Nothing surprises you anymore. Not all of the breaking news or the horrific incidents. And this is when humanity goes downhill – cruelty met with numbness.
However, the bitter aftertaste of reading the book lingers on for a long time, and you start to question every event, every article, every opinion and every news put forth before you. And at this point it is for the individual to decide which and how much of the data is to be believed. This is what the book achieves successfully. It makes you question, consider and analyse rather than blindly accept all as the ultimate truth.
Megha is from Bengaluru and presently works at Hyderabad. Literature and creative writing has been her passion since childhood. Presently, she writes for a national e-news outlet, hixic.com , and an international travel and lifestyle website, transportermagazine.com .