September 23, 2006

Simple questions

    According to the [Srikrishna] report, [the] blasts were fallout of the riots that happened after demolition of Babri Masjid. Why have only we been found guilty? What about the culprits who have been named in the Srikrishna Commission report? They should also be tried by the Court.
-- Abdul Ghani Turk, found guilty in the 1993 Bombay bomb blast case, in a submission to the court that tried him. (Quoted in Mumbai Mirror, September 22 2006)

Turk parked a Jeep filled with explosives at Century Bazaar; the explosion killed 88 people on March 12 1993. Punish him as he deserves, for that.

But who's willing to take a stab at answering his questions? Anyone? You?


rc said...

Off topic -

Are you related to Prof Sattanathan ? Is he still around and if yes, can you get some questions answered from him ?

Bombay Addict said...

Doesn't politics provide impunity ?

Ah I digress. I mean, er, para 1.2(i) of the Srikrishna Commission (link here) states "The attitude of Shiv Sena as reflected in the "TIME" interview given by Bal Thackeray and its doctrine of "retaliation", as expounded by Shri Sarpotdar and Shri Manohar Joshi, together with the thinking of Shiv Sainiks that "Shiv Sena’s terror was the true guarantee of the safety of citizens", were responsible for the vigilantism of Shiv Sainiks."

Baiters, baiters, come hither...

Dilip D'Souza said...

rc, who Prof Sattanathan do you mean and what is this about?

BAddict (great centrespread by the way...), thanks. That and a few other excerpts from the report are part of my MidDay column for Sep 25, on the same theme.

Surya said...

mmm..i am surprised by the Bastard's intelligence in asking a question. wish he could have used that to not carry out terrorist attacks against his motherland.

kuffir said...


why don't #you# ask the questions?

rc said...


I apologize for approaching you like this - in an unrelated thread.

He was an eminent person (not sure if he was a chief justice or vice-chancellor) from Chennai. He was the chairman of the First Backward Classes commission in 1971.

I realize this is about 35 years back. He is probably one of the most knowledgeable persons on the OBC reservation issue.

I cant remember where - but either you or someone else may have mentioned you knew him.

If I am off target, please ignore this request. I would also not like to disturb an old gentleman if he doesnt really want to talk about these things.


Dilip D'Souza said...

Surya, thank you for demonstrating exactly the attitude that raised those questions in the first place.

Kuffir, actually I am asking. I have asked them innumerable time in the past; I ask them again in the MidDay column I mention above.

RC, he wasn't a professor, and he was my grandfather. Please send me a note at ddd AT rediff DOT co DOT in.

Aurum Argentum said...

True, we should try the perpetrators that looted Mumbai in the riots. But, please do not give credence to scum such as these by advertizing their foul mouthed pretexts for committing heinous crimes.
By the same logic that you're applying here, shouldn't we try the Hurriyat and the other terrorist groups in Kashmir for driving out Pandits from the Valley? Better still, why aren't you all for bringing to justice the guys that burnt the train compartments in Godhra before trying the mobbing crowds and murdering goons in Gujarat?

Dilip D'Souza said...

... their foul mouthed pretexts for committing heinous crimes.

Maybe I missed something ...

Do show me exactly what was "foul-mouthed" in the sentences I quoted.

Do show me exactly where it's a "pretext" for his heinous crime.

All he's asking is, why haven't those guys been tried?
The question doesn't become less worth answering just because a criminal asks it. So could you try answering it?

By the same logic that you're applying here...

Are we agreed on the logic, first of all?

Here's my logic: punish ALL terrorists, whether riots or bomb blasts or killers of Pandits or guys who burnt train carriage in Godhra or killers in Ahmedabad and Baroda etc.

I didn't say "before". Turk didn't say "before". You did.

So without trying to distract with the use of "before", please try answering: What about the culprits who have been named in the Srikrishna Commission report?

Anonymous said...

>punish ALL terrorists, whether riots >or bomb blasts or killers of Pandits

hahahhhhh...and someone ran to rescue the scum Geelani....

Anonymous said...

Aurum, no matter what you ask you cant
change this mindset...

"You killed my father. Prepare to die."

But then it applies only to the minority. Only they can do it. That is the see cool philosophy.

Anonymous said...

last two anons, i see, are the exact same masters of evasion. went by "rr" (raghu) and "san" before, or roll up other names into lalita jai gavaskar nikhil something, whatever, but will never never actully answer.

dd, answer is simple. we don't want to punish srikrishna culprits because it wud open too many cans of nasty worms.


Anonymous said...

So why stop at 1993, why not go all the way back to '47 and punish the thousands responsible for the blood letting in partition, impartially..
More logically, this is a free country, albeit corrupt. Let us be thankful that some criminals get punished

GBO said...

There is nothing difficult about the question or the answer. The mandate given to the specific Court trying the 1993 blasts was clear and simple - pass judgement on the 1993 blasts in Mumbai.

If the said Court was given a mandate to pass judgement on events leading to the 1993 blasts then at what point in history would the mandate stop? Would it then pass judgement on those who broke the original Ram temple to build the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya?

This is common law as understood worldwide. This is also the legal system of the country we all live in. Change the legal system if we can, but till then try to live within it. Or migrate out, get off-a the planet (this advice was as per Malcolm X, not me).

Dilip D'Souza said...

Anonymous 146, why not indeed. Let us punish the criminals of every kind whom we have not yet managed to punish. This is serious.

I don't see what this being a free country has to do with this.

GBO, how's the rum you're saving for me? Fair enough, but you've picked only the last statement Turk made, "They should also be tried by the Court." What about the others, which is the substantive part of what he's asking? What about the riot culprits who were named in Srikrishna's report? Why have we not punished them?

After all, Srikrishna's own mandate was also expanded explicitly to inquire into these blasts (he concluded that the riots caused the blasts). What does it mean that we show no interest in punishing the killers of the riots?

GBO said...

Rum is saving and then finishing and then arriving again! What wonder, no, never emptying bottle hai.

Do you remember that little cameo at that toll booth when we were on our drive, the four guys in the car who were dragging the trucker away? Think about it - are such episodes due to religion or due to who holds or wants power? That was Big Bad Guajara, remember? Or the tea interlude at the loverly restaurant at night? It is all about who has what power and where.

Likewise, look deeper within riots, things are never black-and-white as they are made out to be. It is easy to say "one community caused a riot to damage another community". But that is never the truth. I think you know it and so do I, but riots are always part of a joint power play, there are always gainers and losers on both sides.

Whereas bomb blasts of the 1993 sort were very uni-directionally planned.

That's how I answer Turk's question. As well as every bleeding heart liberal shedding tears for a community without looking deeper. I mean, if we are to assume that somebody claims he speaks on behalf of a complete community, then why doesn't he demand from his Ummah that they also answer questions on Darfur, which is much closer and shares common sociological ties with us in India far more than in, say, Turkey or Palestine?

The gentleman is being tried for setting up bombs, what is his locus standii for anything else?

Dilip D'Souza said...

OK GBO, you are saving the rum for me no?

The identification of guilty parties and their punishment has nothing to do with what community they are. I'm not saying one community caused the 1992-93 riots to damage another. I'm saying, something like 1000 people were killed in the riots. Why are their killers not being punished? Just as the killers of some 250 in the blasts are being punished?

An exhaustive inquiry -- conducted just as the bomb blast court conducted itself -- has reported on what happened, has identified the guilty just as other courts do. Why are they not being tried and punished?

"Unidirectionally planned"? Well, the men who planted those bombs claimed they planted them in retaliation for the riots. Some men whom that inquiry questioned claimed that they did their crimes in retaliation for what happened during the riots.

Same language. So why is only one of these assumed to be "unidirectionally planned" and therefore worthy of being punished?

Who is speaking on behalf of which community here? Who is shedding what tears? Not me. I'm just saying, punish the guilty. Whether riots or blasts, they killed people, they have been identified. Punish them all.

Why is that so difficult?

OK, you dismiss Turk's locus standi. What about me, common citizen of my city that I saw burning? Do I have locus standi to ask, what about the culprits who have been named by the Srikrishna report?

If so, what's the answer?

GBO said...

Yes, we ask questions, and you know that I shall go to the end of the Earth to help you try to get answers from the Indian Government.

The issue is not as important for me as is the strategy.

Let us work on this together?

kuffir said...


well, it seemed like you were not.

'"Unidirectionally planned"? Well, the men who planted those bombs claimed they planted them in retaliation for the riots. Some men whom that inquiry questioned claimed that they did their crimes in retaliation for what happened during the riots.'

so you think the bombs were an answer to the riots?

Dilip D'Souza said...

GBO, let us indeed. A query about Srikrishna, perhaps?

Kuffir, of course the bombs were an answer to the riots, what else were they? A perverse, twisted answer, but an answer all the same.

kuffir said...

and the riots were an answer to something else?

Anonymous said...

The Gujarat riots were in retaltiation to the Godhra train burning. We see several trials on for the Gujarat riots.

What if one of the under-trials was to ask, why are those who burnt the train not being tried or even identified?

Who will answer those questions

Dilip D'Souza said...

Kuffir, maybe the riots were an answer to something else, which in turn were likely yet another answer to yet something else ... yet this is hardly the point of either the questions I'm asking or the punishment of the guilty.

People were killed in the bomb blasts. Somebody did that killing. They need to be identified and punished. They were indeed identified and are now indeed being punished.

People were killed in the riots. Somebody did that killing. They need to be identified and punished. They were indeed identified (Srikrishna). They are not being punished.


That's the only question, when you boil it down.

Anon 923: For one thing, several people have been arrested for burning that train, charged under TADA and are being tried.

For another, I have no objection if such an undertrial did ask such a question, and the question would deserve an answer.

Anonymous said...

When you go fishing you don't expect to catch all the fish!

Abdul Ghani Turk is a fish that got caught!

Red Watch said...

So it's agreed then,from now on we don't punish ANYONE till we can punish EVERYONE who is guilty.

Every time some terrorist is sentenced to death by hanging, we should wax eloquent about the unfairness of it all, and drag the Shiv Sena into the discussion. The fact that we brought a terrorist to book is no cause for rejoicing. Hmm, maybe if he was a Hindoo....then we'd be talking about something different, wouldn't we, Mr.DDS?

Mr.DDS, we've been through these motions before. Like that time you had the wonderful discussion with Sandeep. And then wonderfully quit when the going got tough.

Still being pissed off,
Red Watch

Dilip D'Souza said...

RedW, you're letting that state of being pissed off cloud your otherwise admirable common sense:

... from now on we don't punish ANYONE till we can punish EVERYONE who is guilty.

Really? What does the line in this post that reads "Punish him as he deserves, for that" mean to you?

... then wonderfully quit when the going got tough.

Not in the least.

I have little to say to those who are miserly with truth. Applies now too.

GBO said...

Actually, in context with the comments by red watch, some outsourced vendors who were 'orrible 'indoos are also probably going to get it well and truly in the neck in this case . . . the Customs guys, the Cops and a few others . . . so maybe it is not all about religion only.

Maybe it is all about 30000 people dying in the jungle of malaria or kaala azar is different from 3000 people dying in the villages of bonded labour-itis is different from 300 people dying in riots in poorer parts of town is different from 30 people dying due to bombs in a building in the richer parts of town is different from 3 VIPs being popped off by Amir Khan in Rang de Basanti.

This is also how nature operates.

Anonymous said...


Interesting device you adopted here, a very valid observation from the mouth of a convicted terrorist. Guess you are really looking out to provoke reactions.

I used to do this whenever I needed to feel smug & superior to other ppl but of course thats me...

Kuffir very neatly drew you out in your two responses laid side-by-side here:

1.) Kuffir, of course the bombs were an answer to the riots... what else were they

2.) Kuffir, maybe the riots were an answer to something else, .... this is hardly the point

They rather clearly spell out exactly where you want the "cycle of violence" analysis stopped. Your irritiation at being stretched one stage farther back is palpable.

Do rethink your strategies Dilip. You write well, mostly logically and yet with passion. Devices like this one, and the earlier heavily -weighted questionnaire in "Nature of it all" do you no credit.


PS- For the record absolutely agree with the opinion expressed by Mr.Turk, and also realize that several ppl who out of anger at Mr.Turk are unwilling to openly say so, still feel basically much the same as I do, and I am not particularly "superior" to them.

kuffir said...


'maybe the riots were an answer to something else, which in turn were likely yet another answer to yet something else ... yet this is hardly the point of either the questions..'

you didn't say the bombs are 'a perverse, twisted answer, but an answer all the same.'

maybe that's not the point of your questions - but what's their point?

as for the original simple questions - turk himself must know the answers by now...that the blasts were not an answer to the riots. cosidering how they failed to bring the perpetrators of the riots to justice. considering they killed so fewer people than the riots as you have pointed out..

you didn't need turk's shoulders to shoot those questions from...but you did.

you tried to raise some of these 'simple issues' earlier too- asking how are riots different from acts of terror - why?

Dilip D'Souza said...

I'm a little baffled here.

First, Jai: in no way, and let me repeat, in no way, did I write this to feel smug and superior to anyone.

I have no desire to "stop" the cycle of violence anywhere. I believe we need to get to the root of some of these issues or there is no solution: or put it this way, we need to confront these issues rather than pretending they are all A-OK now.

But the issue of punishing the guilty is a separate one, in my mind. Here are two great crimes: riots, blasts. They both killed hundreds of people. Why is one resulting in punishment, the other resulting in nothing? It is that simple.

When people kill other people, whether in riots or in blasts, they must be punished. It is that simple.

I am not in the least irritated ... apart from anything else, I consider kuffir a friend and respect his opinions, and am willing to engage with them.

finally, I don't write to find credit with everyone out there, because I know that's impossible. I just write in the hope that I'll get some out there to think a bit.

kuffir, I'm really baffled. I did indeed say the bombs were a perverse twisted answer. In just those words. So what are you saying I did or did not say? If you meant the riots, yes indeed, the riots were also a perverse and twisted answer. What else were they?

The blasts were an answer to the riots in this sense: there were people who felt angered by the (perverse and twisted) riots and thought they'd lash out in this (perverse and twisted) way -- by setting off bombs.

I hardly used turk's "shoulders" -- I've been asking essentially this question since, oh about 1993! Long before I had even heard of Turk.

And yes, I see no difference between riots and bomb blasts, both are acts of terror to me. You don't? If so, please explain to me why they are different: nobody has done so, so far.

kuffir said...

the last time you asked the question- two months ago- i thought a lot about that ..whether terrorism equals riots.. i actually sat down and wrote, in a rough two-column tabular format what, in my opinion, are featues of each.. after a while i realized that over the years they've both come to resemble each other so much'd require a wiser head than mine..or several wiser heads, in fact, to actually tell us what exactly is the distinction - laying out roots, actors, actions, outcomes, etc of that we learn better to distinguish them in the future..

but until then i'm still trying, because it's an absorbing question. and i vaguely sense, like you admit you do..that they're maybe different. there is one clear difference that i can spot right away..but i don't think i'll dwell upon that now.

the point i'm trying to make, now, is each (riots and acts of terror) has to be engaged on its own. if you drift into ..building a grand argument that bunches them together you dilute the significance of each.. and because this is a debate that allows very few nuances and very little finesse - you might end up sending out the wrong signals.. like if you say the blasts are an answer to riots(which i understand you aren't saying.. but the loonies are).. it might send out a signal that - 'why even the wise men think the blasts are an answer to riots and vice versa'..

aren't you trying to imply that 'the blasts aren't an answer to riots and vice versa'..and never are. and whoever indulges in either a riot or a blast should be brought to justice? and also asking the larger question - why can't we find a permanent solution to these problems?

if we allow the debate to drift along those lines (bunching riots and acts of terror together)..then we wouldn't need a larger debate at all. nor courts, and commissions of inquiry.. we would be playing into the hands of those who do not want any debate at all. each side/s would be conducting a dialogue/s on their own with the other side/s on the streets,the trains, the buses, everywhere(asking questions, answering the other side/s questions),..using not words but weapons.

we need to debate..and more than debate, what ordinary citizens need to do is raise the question of justice (guided by people like yu)..on each incident of rioting/terror. and the horrors of each individual incident in the litany you keep listing.. is serious enough to warrant the attention of civil society and the state on its own merit..without having to be supported by the weight of a whole bunch of other such incidents..of either category.

that's my view - and that's what i was trying to hint at in my earlier comments..the only explanation for your bafflement that i can think of is..your commentspace is a virtual minefield.. anyone can get baffled here.

kuffir said...

and in answer to your original question - some lives are cheaper than others, some folks are more equal than others.. and justice is tougher for some than others. especially if you're from a weaker section (this cliche makes so much sense to me now). so..they'll have to work harder - there are no simple solutions.

kuffir said...

corrections : 1. yes, i meant 'riots' not bombs.
2. i misread the part about your admtting differences between 'riots' and 'terrorist acts'. i see that you don't ...but that doesn't make any difference to my argument. thanks.

Kautilya said...

@ all involved in this debate....

I lost friends and members of family in both.. the roits as well as the blasts...

First... the question by turk does not matter in the first place... y must I take it seriously at all in the first place that.. punishing any one in teh first place is goin to bring back the people I lost... Infact it add more anger inside me.

I dont' know if any one of you have been directly affected by either of the dreaded acts... But its a different situation when u r affected directly... those were real people killed n they r gone now... Its easy to comment as an unaffected individual... but things are different when u lose some one!

It doesnt' matter what caused what.. . all that matters r ppl r gone.. n they r not comin back.. weather u punish or do what ever with the ppl who are guilty! Its just plain "fate"! And u cant' change that...

Anonymous said...

hi dilip,

I can see we've moved on and I'm a bit late here but wanted to respond.

I don't write to find credit with everyone out there, because I know that's impossible. I just write in the hope that I'll get some out there to think a bit.
I find I think better and more highly of the arguments when presented with less slanted stuff than the questionnaire you had at "Nature of it all"... that had an awesome George-Bushian moral clarity and authority you arrogated to one set of responses.

It may dismay you but there are out on the web a bunch of longtime readers like me (and probably Suresh, gamesboy etc) who think you are capable of much more nuanced and even-handed thinking than you had there.


Dilip D'Souza said...

Well Jai, all I can say is, if I listened to everyone who told me "your stuff is slanted" or "write more nuanced and even-handed stuff", I believe I'd be writing tripe.

I write what I have to. I have to leave it there.

Sidhusaaheb said...

Whatever happened to the old adage "Two wrongs do not make a right!"...