March 01, 2006

Focus on hostility

I wasn't able to put up a link to my Monday MidDay column published last month (February 27). Here it is. Thoughts welcome.

1 comment:

Rahul Siddharthan said...

Is it that easy to protect witnesses? Imagine this alternate scenario

1. Zaheera realised that the penalty for perjury is worse than any pressure
2. She testified
3. She was found mysteriously dead with multiple injuries and evidence of torture

What "penalty for going hostile" is worse than (3), and how do we ensure that (3) will not come to pass?

We simply do not have a police system here that anyone trusts. Even in a "civilised", "safe" city like Chennai. So "police protection" for witnesses is no protection. We know how well the police protected the victims in Gujarat.

One solution is anonymous witnesses. I don't know how that would work in practice. But if Zaheera could have testified originally in the confidence that her identity would never be made public, perhaps she'd never have gone hostile.