Sunday, July 03, 2005

Siddharth Varadarajan

Siddharth Varadarajan, one of India's leading journalists and commentators and deputy editor of The Hindu, has a blog, where he plans to archive his essays. Varadarajan's essays in the last decade are already archived. There's an extensive topical archive too, from Afghanistan and Bangladesh to United Nations and U.S. Policy in South Asia. Do check out the blog.

Let me just link to one particular essay, and this is Varadarajan's Foreword to Iftikhar Gilani's My Days in Prison.

    The next time a minister or politician, a policeman or soldier, a bureaucrat, judge or even a journalist tells us he or she cares about the rule of law, I have two words to say: Iftikhar Gilani.

    ... ...

    Whatever the petty calculations made by the petty men who went after him, we now know from the sequence of events described in this book that for the seven months that Iftikhar grew thin at Tihar jail, the erstwhile government of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee knew he was completely innocent. Yet, the politicians and officials in charge of 'national security' in this country chose deliberately to keep him behind bars. Taken into custody on June 9, 2002, Iftikhar was finally released on January 13, 2003, after the case fabricated by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, Delhi Police and Intelligence Bureau collapsed under the weight of its own inconsistencies and contradictions. Even this might not have happened but for the ingenuity and persistence of a few journalists who took up Iftikhar’s case, ferreted out information that was later to prove useful in demolishing the prosecution case, and kept the continuing scandal of his incarceration and mistreatment a live issue by circulating petitions and badgering ministers and editors at frequent intervals. Iftikhar is today a free man but, unfortunately, none of the issues that his arrest and incarceration raised have been addressed. More than anything else, his case demonstrated the legal and administrative power of the government's 'national security' apparatus to frame an innocent citizen. Those powers remain untrammelled.


At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Vishnu said...

Thanks for the link! Have been reading some of his writings recently.


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