‘Innocent Prisoners’
11th July is remembered in India's as 7/11 because of Mumbai Train blasts in 2006. New Delhi-based publisher Pharos Media has just brought out “Innocent Prisoners”, the English version of Begunah Qaidi authored by Abdul Wahid Shaikh, himself victim of a fake terror plot by agencies. The book, written while the author was incarcerated in Mumbai's Arthur Road jail, was originally published in Urdu and later translated into Hindi. Now available in English also, it is a massive work in 504 pages on tactics agencies and police use to ensnare innocents in fake terror cases to justify government policies and influence citizens of the country to accept the emergence of a security state in India.

The author himself was a victim of this ensnaring tactic who was acquitted by the Special MCOCA & NIA Court Mumbai while his co-accused rot in jail and their appeal is pending for the last six years in Bombay High Court.

Shaikh offers first-hand information about agencies and police tactics on implicating innocent people, fabricating false evidence against them and use torture of victims and the immoral pressure on their relatives to force them to confess to crimes they never committed or implicate other innocents.

The book is basically about the 7/11 Mumbai train blasts case but also covers German Bakery blasts 2010, Malegaon Blasts 2006, Aurangabad Arms Haul case 2006, Akshardham attack 2002 and the “Indian Mujahideen” plank used by agencies to fabricate cases. It also extensively covers police torture, fabrication tactics and various strategies police and agencies employ to implicate innocents and force them to make false confessions to prove stories concocted by the agencies and police.

This exposé offers startling details of the heinous games played in India by the State through police and agencies for decades in the name of “terrorism”. This book unveils the ugly face of government and agencies, modus operandi of police, ATS and investigation agencies, their inhumane tortures, legal tactics employed and the secrets of court cases. Innocents implicated in terror cases will find courage to fight their legal battles through this book. The reality of the blast cases and the tall claims made by police and media are exposed in great detail in this book.

The author himself was a victim of torture and tactics of police and investigation agencies. He has narrated first-hand experiences of himself and some other innocent prisoners at the hands of police, investigation agencies and officials of the jail system.

This book is not just a testimony of the innocence of a person acquitted of all charges in an infamous “terror” case, it also showcases his unmoved resolve to fight the legal battle for his and other victims’ freedom. It also is a manual on how not to get yourself entangled in the vicious web of false implication in the first place and how to secure freedom from the clutches of heartless people in uniform, if arrested.

The author, Abdul Wahid Shaikh is a teacher at a Mumbai school. He was the only person to be acquitted out of the 13 accused in the 11 July 2006 Mumbai train bombings case because till end he refused to sign a false confessional statement while his other co-accused succumbed to pressures and signed their false confessions which were used in court to sentence them to death and life imprisonment.
A Reader, New Delhi

75 Years Later
Warsaw was liberated by Soviet forces 75 years ago —and Polish officials have cloaked the pivotal event in myths ever since. Yet, newly-released historical documents help shed some light on the truth.

Official Warsaw had no plans to celebrate this date—but it is not the first time that Poland has ignored the liberation of its state capital. Since the collapse of the Soviet Bloc in the early 1990s, politicians across Eastern European have pushed the notion that the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were equally responsible for instigating World War II — and the idea that Red Army soldiers led a brutal occupation, instead of liberating Poland, has firmly found its place in the nation’s history books.

That view continues to prevail in some other European states, too — but a trove of recently-declassified wartime documents, published by the Russian Defence Ministry, tells a different story.

A Lone Monk
In 2006, Swamy was the only recognised human rights activist in Jharkhand. We travelled several times to the dense forests of Jharkhand on fact-finding missions to probe the brutal killing of Adivasis by the security forces. Born in Tamil Nadu on April 26, 1937, Father Stan was a Jesuit priest by training. But more than that, he was a fearless human rights activist—a fighter who insisted on the enforcement of the Indian Constitution, safeguarding laws and policies concerning the marginalised. Unfortunately, he was also implicated by the State for fighting for the cause of the marginalised. Father Stan thoroughly understood the Adivasi philosophy of life, which has a future for everyone, and wrote tirelessly on Adivasi issues. He was extremely happy to know about my interest in the area of human rights. He trained thousands of Adivasi men, women and youth, who became activists and are now fighting for the cause of their community. Father Stan was also known as an anti-mining activist, fighting against the loot of iron ore in the Saranda forest. In October 2009, the government had launched Operation Green Hunt in nine Maoist-affected states. The region had been named “Red Corridor” and the State’s mission was to “cleanse” it of Maoists. Instead, the security forces started victimising Adivasis. Cases of extrajudicial killings, rapes, custodial torture and false implications flooded Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. Under the leadership of Father Stan, we started intervening through legal means and wrote about the state of affairs. We also started protests in Jharkhand. We opposed when schools were converted into military camps and, as a result, many were vacated. In June 2010, we had organised a big rally in Ranchi, which was prohibited by the senior superintendent of police, who alleged that it was a Maoists’ rally. Father Stan and I decided to meet the advisor to the Governor, R R Prasad, who was in charge of the home department since Jharkhand was under President’s Rule. When we entered his office, he said: “You (Stan) are a senior Maoist and he (Gladson) is a junior Maoist. What I can do for you people?” We realised then as to how the State saw us. Father Stan would engage with everyone who fought for the cause of marginalised people. This was the primary reason the State started tagging him with the Maoists/Naxals. When matters came to a head and his arrest became inevitable, many suggested that he hide. But he rejected this in the blink of an eye, saying he would face the consequences for asking uncomfortable questions to the State. Forces of the right accused him of proselytising Adivasis, which was baseless. I have never seen him offer a Mass either in church or elsewhere. Could a Catholic priest keep aloof of priestly duties? He was, in fact, on a mission of justice and reconciliation, instead of converting Adivasis.
Gladson Dungdung, Jharkhand

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Vol. 54, No. 8, Aug 22 - 28, 2021