16 June, 2021

Breaking The News

December 13. The season for reopening old wounds....A hyper campaign, a mysterious TV update, a book that sifts myth from fact on the Afzal issue. Updates

Breaking The News

This Reader* goes to press almost five years to the day since December 13, 2001, when five men (some say six) drove through the gates of the Indian Parliament in a white Ambassador car and attempted what looked like an astonishingly incompetent terrorist strike. Consummate competence appeared to be the hallmark of everything that followed: the gathering of evidence, the speed of the investigation by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police, the arrest and chargesheeting of the accused, and the 40-month-long judicial process that began with the fast-track trial court.

The operative phrase in all of this is 'appeared to be'. If you follow the story carefully, you'll encounter two sets of masks. First the mask of consummate competence (accused arrested, 'case cracked' in two days flat), and then, when things began to come undone, the benign mask of shambling incompetence (shoddy evidence, procedural flaws, material contradictions). But underneath all of this, as each of the essays in this collection shows, is something more sinister,...

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