18 June, 2021

Did Someone Say Dirty Tricks?

A study of Delhi police’s special cell documents its rough ways

Did Someone Say Dirty Tricks?

The randomness of death that terror brings strikes cold fear in all of us. The policing that follows terror attacks, held up to close scrutiny, might well evoke cold fear of another sort—of needless ensnarement in the pitiless labyrinth of a terror investigation, with interrogation, torture, confinement and, worst of all, a name to live down.

Most of the time, the journey from arrest to trial is incomprehensible to the larger public. A close study of terror arrests is rare. Now, at a time when fresh arrests are being made in Karnataka, comes a detailed report that is an eye-opener. Titled ‘Framed, Damned, Acquitted: Dossiers of a Very Special Cell’, the 200-page report brought out by the Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association documents 16 cases in which people arrested mainly by Delhi police’s special cell as operatives of terrorist groups like Al Badr, HUJI and LeT were later acquitted by the courts. The report shuns the usual rhetoric associated with activists. It’s a spare but revealing account, drawing chiefly on court documents, a...

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