NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013

NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013
Shri Ramapir Mandir/Temple in Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Sunday, February 7, 2010

No justice till date for Late Jagdesh Kumar Murder Case (Karachi,Pakistan)

Source Dawn News
On April 20, 2008
By Kunwar Idris

TWENTY-TWO-year-old Jagdeesh Kumar, a factory worker, was beaten to death in Korangi on April 8 by some of his frenzied co-workers while the saner among the lot, the managers and a police contingent, stood by and watched.

By being a Hindu, it seems, he lost the right to compassion and, ultimately, the right to life.

The police though themselves witness to the inhuman spectacle would not even register a case nor arrest the murderers till the arrival of Jagdeesh’s kin from their distant desert village. “It is not as simple to investigate (the charge of murder) as it appears,” a report in this paper quoted a police official say, two days later. The factory management, the workers and the murdered boy’s family, he said, had to cooperate and they would not.

Here is a police commander hedging his duty at its worst. He wanted the cooperation of the managers (who pretended as if they were in their rooms and did not see what went on outside), of the workers (who lynched Jagdeesh or connived at it) and of the family members (who were 100 miles away), while the eyewitnesses to the crime were the police themselves. No court would give much weight to the deposition of Jagdeesh’s relatives or friends. But any court would be most wary of doubting the testimony of the policemen who were there on the spot.

What young Jagdeesh had said, or even gesticulated, to deserve public lynching is not known nor ever will be. Here is the wording of the law pertaining to the offence he apparently committed: “Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.”

Inserted in the country’s penal code (sec 295-C) in 1986, the sweeping, ambiguous contents of the law hold a mirror to the ambition and perfidy that resided side by side in the person of Gen Ziaul Haq, its author. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of people have been charged under this law, hardly anyone ever has been convicted by a court of law but quite a few, like Jagdeesh, have fallen victim to mob hysteria.

Those tried by the courts and acquitted, nevertheless, had to suffer long confinement in prison. A celebrated case is that of four brothers from Mianwali who were in jail for six years before the judge held they were falsely implicated by a village rival who coveted the headship of the village vesting in the family of the accused. While acquitting them the judge deplored the vile conduct of the complainant who had tried to exploit the “sentiments of Muslims for a worldly benefit”. In that they succeeded, nevertheless. The once hulking youth had been reduced to skeletons. Still fearing retaliation, the four brothers left the village and ultimately the country to tell their story for asylum.

Why a raw youth coming from the Thar desert to work for a pittance in the stink of a Karachi tannery would defile the name of the Holy Prophet defies both reason and common sense. The explanation for his co-workers’ criminal conduct is to be found in the vague complexity of the law which leaves every individual free to view the ‘imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly’ in the light of his own conviction or as indoctrinated by the mullah. The outlook of the trial judge also would surely have a bearing on his finding.

The dilemma the interpretation of this law poses was put simply by Prof Anwar Syed in one of his articles in this paper when a Jagdeesh-like incident of butchery had occurred. “Any assessment of the Prophet’s honour and dignity,” Syed wrote, “that falls short of the level that others may have assigned him will probably be interpreted as blasphemous. It follows also that no part or aspect of his word or deed is to be open to scrutiny.”

But more important than a dogmatic or rational view of blasphemy is whether it at all constitutes a penal offence and that too punishable with death, nothing less, and without any scope for remission or forgiveness. The opinions of jurists and clerics may differ but the argument is clinched by a reference to the Holy Quran which lays down the death penalty only for murder and no other offence. Allama Iqbal, in his celebrated treatise on the Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, discussing the latter-day dogmas that had prevented the evolution of ideas recalls what Hazrat Umar had to say in the last moments of the Prophet’s life to console his worried companions: “The Book of God is sufficient for us.”

No blasphemer was put to death in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet though quite a few were around. The most telling example is of Abdallah bin Ubai who habitually used language most foul and irksome against the Holy Prophet, but he permitted no one, not even Abdallah’s own son, to kill him. And when Abdallah died a natural death he showed indulgence for that meanest of his slanderers by giving his own shawl to serve as his shroud. After all, the Prophet came as a blessing and mercy for all mankind and for all times (Rehmatul Alimeen) and not for his followers alone.

Leaving the schism of it all aside, the law of blasphemy as it operates in Pakistan is brutalising society. A number of people have been killed, as was Jagdeesh, in cold blood, in sudden rage, or in the calculated pursuit of vendetta. It is also dehumanising the custodians of the law. No remorse is expressed, condolences extended or compensation paid to Jagdeesh’s heirs. No policeman has been punished for not rescuing him from the clutches of the mob.

As Faiz said, the blood of the poor dead mingles with the very dust in which they are reared. It mingles faster when it is of an infidel and spilled by the faithful. The brutality of it aside, Pakistan will remain a reactionary pariah of the world so long as the penal religious laws enacted by Ziaul Haq remain in our statute books.

No comments:

Post a Comment