The facade of Narco analysis

Fuelling HIndu Anger – by B Raman

Investigations by Mumbai ATS, instead of remaining professional and scientific, have taken what large sections of the Hindu majority will view as a politically motivated direction. Media leaks by the ATS suggest it has started playing to the so-called secularists’ gallery

The manner of the current investigation by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Mumbai Police into an explosion at Malegaon in Maharashtra on September 30, 2008, which mainly targeted and killed six local Muslims, should be a matter of concern to all right-thinking Indians.

Large sections of the Muslims, the anti-Bharatiya Janata Party political class and the so-called secular elements in the Hindu community, which lose no opportunity to demonise the Hindu nationalists and the BJP in order to win the applause of the minorities and project themselves as liberals, have used the investigation to divert attention away from the hundreds of innocent civilians killed by the jihadi terrorists, many of them trained and assisted by the intelligence agencies of Pakistan and Bangladesh and inspired by the pan-Islamic ideology of Al Qaeda and its International Islamic Front.

They look upon the leaks from the ATS — many of them based on narco-analysis of dubious investigation and evidentiary value — as a pre-election godsend in their campaign to project the Muslims as more sinned against than sinning and the nationalist- minded Hindus, who call for strong action against the jihadi terrorists, as chauvinists and Fascists.

This, despite the fact that resort to narco-analysis — which was frequently resorted to by Hitler’s Nazis and Stalin’s KGB to obtain confessions from political dissidents — has stood condemned in the rest of the civilised world. Many of the thousands of political dissidents, who were sent to the Gulag and the firing squads by Stalin, were tried and convicted on the basis of narco-analysis.

Narco-analysis has been defined as “the practice of administering barbiturates or certain other chemical substances, most often pentothal sodium, to lower a subject’s inhibitions, in the hope that the subject will more freely share information and feelings”.

The term narco-analysis was coined by Horseley. Narco-analysis first reached the mainstream in 1922, when Robert House, a Texas obstetrician, used the drug scopolamine on two prisoners. Since then narco-testing has become largely discredited in most democratic states, including the United States and Britain. There is a vast body of literature calling into question its ability to yield legal truth. Additionally, narco-analysis has serious legal and ethical implications.

Dr Chandrasekhar, the legendary Indian forensic science expert, who played a highly acclaimed role in the successful investigation and prosecution of the LTTE conspirators involved in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, has been one of the strongest critics of the police in some States resorting to narco-analysis, which is not a scientific method of investigation. In many countries of the world, narco-analysis is viewed as a political tool and not a scientific tool.

On the basis of statements and remarks made by the suspects under the influence of drugs, which induce a state of semi-consciousness, large sections of the Hindu community have been sought to be demonised, the Army has been unwittingly stigmatised and attention has been sought to be diverted from the investigation into acts of jihadi terrorism and from inquiries to establish the full extent of the so-called Indian Mujahideen iceberg.

It is of great concern that the investigation by the Mumbai ATS — instead of remaining professional and scientific — has taken what large sections of the Hindu majority of this country will view as a politically motivated direction. Some of the media leaks attributed to the Mumbai ATS make one think that the ATS has — wittingly or unwittingly — started playing to the so-called secularists’ gallery.

So many obvious questions, which should have been asked by objective opinion-makers, have not been asked. One of the suspects is alleged to have lent her motorcycle to the perpetrators. Can one think of any instance in the recent history of terrorism in which a terrorist-suspect created evidence against himself or herself by using his or her own vehicle for planting an improvised explosive device?

A private military school, which coaches aspirants to a career in the armed forces, has been sought to be condemned on the ground that some of the suspects held a meeting on its premises. What is important is, what was the purpose of the meeting? Was it to plan specific acts of terrorism or was it merely to discuss how to counter anti-national jihadi terrorism?

Innumerable meetings and seminars are held every year in prestigious training institutions of the Government to discuss, inter alia, appropriate strategies against jihadi terrorism, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Very often, the speakers call for strong retaliatory attacks against the terrorist organisations, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Are they to be viewed as instigators of terrorism? Are our training institutions to be criticised for holding such discussions?

The Mumbai ATS should investigate each aspect thoroughly, but they should do it in a professional manner, not in a manner that adds to suspicions that the inquiry has taken a pre-election political turn — with the objective being to fix the Hindu nationalists and not to fix the terrorists.

I have written and spoken repeatedly about the spreading Muslim anger against what many Muslims look upon as the ‘unfairness’ of the Indian criminal justice system. I have equally written and spoken frequently about the spreading Hindu anger against the Government and the so-called secularists over the failure to act strongly against the jihadi terrorists.

One should be careful to see that the manner of investigation by the ATS does not add to the Hindu anger and lead to a situation similar to what had happened in Northern Ireland where elements from the Protestant community took to arms and terrorism against the Catholics due to perceptions that the Government was not doing enough to protect them from the perpetrators of violence from the Catholic community.

Narco tests lose credibility  

Hyderabad, Nov. 17: Narco analysis tests have lost their credibility with the police top brass because of the apparent false leads they threw up in the Macca Masjid blast case.  Based on the narco analysis tests, the city police had “solved” the Macca Masjid blast case and had claimed that the HuJI leader Shahed alias Bilal had planned the attack and Lashkar e-Tayyaba operative Abu Hamza had planted the bombs.

This assumption was based on the confessions of one suspect, Imran, who had undergone a narco test.  But the Central Bureau of Investigation did not take up these charges seriously and no arrests were made based on the report of the city police.  The Delhi CBI superintendent of police, Mr R.S. Dhankar, who is heading the Macca Masjid blast probe, told this correspondent that narco analysis tests do not even have one per cent authenticity.

“We haven’t found any evidence of those revelations mentioned in the narco reports,” he said.  “The city police sent us a report. But we have not made any arrests,” Mr Dhankar added. The Special Investigation Cell formed by CCS after Macca Masjid blasts conducted narco analysis tests on suspects Imran, Shoiab Jagirdhar and Rafi alias Shaik Abdul Kaleem at the forensic science laboratory in Bengaluru.

“Around 169 countries have banned such tests,” said the Andhra Pradesh forensic science laboratory director, Mr O. Narasimha Murthy. “There is lot of controversy about them,” he said.  The city police is now confining itself to polygraph tests.        From  DECCAN CHRONICLE,   18,  November  2008

Credibility of the Indian state is zilch. ATS is goofing up big-time with media leaks every day.

Pioneer | Tuesday, November 18, 2008 
Sadhvi alleges torture in custody

TN Raghunatha | Mumbai

Maintaining that she was “totally innocent” of the charges made against her in connection with the Malegaon blasts, Sadhvi Pragya on Monday alleged that the Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) officials had tortured her and mentally harassed her to such an extent that she wanted to commit suicide at one stage while she was in their “illegal” detention.

On a day when the Nashik court extended the judicial custody of eight accused in the Malegaon blasts, including herself, till November 29, Sadhvi Pragya filed before the court an eight-page affidavit, in which she gave the details of the manner in which she was tortured while she was under “illegal detention” of the ATS.

In her affidavit, Sadhvi Pragya alleged that on October 12, 2008, 11 days before she was formally arrested, an ATS officer named Khanvilkar had beaten her up “severely with a belt on my hands, forearms, palms, feet, soles, causing me bruises, swelling and contusions in these areas”.

Stating that she had been illegally detained between October 10 and 22, 2008 during which she was tortured and mentally harassed, Sadhvi Pragya said: “I was physically and verbally traumatised to the extent that I wanted to commit suicide”. 

Sadhvi Pragya went on to demand a detailed inquiry into her illegal detention and custodial torture. “……a detailed inquiry of my illegal detention, custodial torture, etc. needs to be done and for which I am ready and willing to get subjected to any such medical test or tests and I also want the ATS officers, who interrogated me, tortured me, etc. should also be put to the same tests,” she said.

She also alleged that she was denied access to a lawyer or any member of her family till October 24, 2008, nearly a fortnight after she was detained by the ATS in connection with the Malegaon blasts.

Sadhvi Pragya claimed that three narco tests had been conducted on her – one while she was in “illegal detention” prior to October 23, 2008, second on November 1 and a third narco test was conducted on her before she was produced before the court on November 3, 2008.

In her defence, Sadhvi Pragya said in her affidavit: “I unambiguously state that I am totally innocent of any offence whatsoever. In particular I have no connection with the Malegaon bomb blast of 29.9.2008″.

On the use of an LML Freedom two-wheeler owned by her in the Malegaon blasts, Sadhvi Pragya told the court in her affidavit: “I say that in Surat during the course of my interrogation with Sawant, I mentioned to him that the LML Freedom two-wheeler once owned by me was subsequently sold to one Sunil Joshi of Madhya Pradesh way back in October 2004 and that Joshi had paid me Rs 24,000 for the same. I had also signed the necessary T.T. Form for RTO transfer in October 2004 itself.

I categorically asserted to Sawant that since October 2004 I had no control over the vehicle or its movements and usage”.

Sadhvi Pragya, who signed the affidavit prepared by her lawyers after the latter translated the contents of the English affidavit in Hindi, alleged that the ATS’ conduct “discloses a blatant violation of statutory provisions of law, custodial abuse and violence, mental and physical torture and prolonged illegal detention”.

Charging that she was being victimised owing to political reasons, Sadhvi Pragya said: “The ATS are fully aware that I am innocent.

It appears, however, that they have a mandate from their political superiors to necessarily implicate me in Malegaon blasts with a view to suggest that Hindu religious extremists were resorting to terrorism. The prolonged illegal detention, custodial abuse and physical torture were designed to compel me to confess to crimes I had not committed”.

Sadhvi Pragya also offered to subject herself to a detailed investigation, including a narco test, for the allegations she has made against the ATS in her affidavit. She also urged the court to call for a report from the ATS for her admission to two hospitals and the treatment she had undergone in two hospitals and also the reasons for her stay at Hotel Rajdoot in Mumbai. 

 

http://dailypioneer .com/135223/ Sadhvi-alleges- torture-in- custody.html

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