WE all have our fads, prejudices, biases. But if the police itself nurses a bias, things can go terribly wrong. I remember the late Kersy Katrak, poet and friend, telling me that if an official in sales tax or income tax is corrupt, it doesn’t matter much. At worst, the government loses some revenue. “But if a policeman is corrupt,” he said, “I am worried. He could be in cahoots with my enemies and cook up god knows what against me.”
Now, what about the police bias against Muslims? Let’s do away with the euphemism ‘minorities’, for it’s best to be blunt. When the Mecca Masjid blast took place in Hyderabad on May 18, 2007, killing nine and injuring 58 people in the mosque, I said to myself this couldn’t have been the work of a Muslim tanzeem. This has to be a rightist majoritarian’s reaction. Yet Muslims were arrested and the canard was spread that the motive was to create a chasm between the two communities. This and other such incidents were not, as (former topcop) Julio Ribeiro says, due to natural prejudice. These were deliberate distortions, meant to pull wool over the nation’s eyes. The same story was repeated in the investigation of the Samjhauta Express blast (February 19, 2007), which killed 66 people. Muslims were targeted by investigators. Now, it’s Aseemanand, a so-called swami, who has been charged, with others. Sadhvi Pragya, however, remains to be charged.