Saturday, March 28, 2015

Re-probe of Hashimpura carnage case
Syed Ali Mujtaba

The conspiracy of silence among the political parties of UP regarding Hashimpura judgment that has acquitted the accused for want of evidence is intriguing. More intriguing is the silence of the social activists and intellectuals baring a few.

There is hardly any reaction from the left parties on this issue. It appears an
d the Samajwadi party, and Bahujan Samaj party has joined hands with the perpetrators of the Hashimpura crime. By maintaining silence they have given a clean chit to them.This is something disgusting. How can they claim to be the well wishers of the minority community? If not for the Muslims, they could at least have spoken for sake of humanity.

The fact remains, that the clod blooded murder has taken. The murderers have been acquitted by the court. There is no dismay no protest on this. It appears everything is being brushed under the carpet because the victims happen to be Muslims. This face of Indian democracy is never being debated in the media. The social media too turns a blind eye.

Everyone knows the culprits were the members of the provincial armed constable PAC. There is huge material evidence to establish the identity of the murderers. All what is needed was to produce the duty chart of the constables that were on duty and had committed the heinous crime. There is nothing to absolve the people responsible for the crime. All what is needed was a speedy trail to nail the criminals. This never happened.

The judicial system allows the process to be drag on for 28 years. In the end it dishes out botched up judgment, letting down the victims who had high hopes. This is travesty of justice in every sense.
In contrast to this take the cases like Mumbai bomb blast, Parliament attack, Mumbai attack, in all of them, the trail was speedy and the accused were nailed.

However, when it comes to the victims of communal riots like Hashimpura, the judiciary turns blind eye towards delivering a fair judgment. The trial goes on indefinitely to tire the aggrieved party to lose interest in the case. This gives them a handle o side with the accused and let them go for want of evidence.

Does, the judiciary wants the victims to dedicate their life for getting a fair judgment. The fact remains that they have trusted the judiciary for impartial judgment as being aggrieved party. However, such trust let down and proved to be based on false hopes and high promises. What does all this points out? Very simple, laws are meant for punishing the weak, those who are mighty, law remains a smoke screen to them.

The judicial system of the country has lost its face by this judgment. The faith of the minority community has defiantly been shaken by this judgment. There should be fresh investigation for the Hashimpura carnage. Leaders of political parties must demand re-probe in this cold blooded carnage. While those responsible for Mumbai blast of 1990 have been booked, the culprits of Hashimpura massacre could not be booked for want of evidence. While Nirbhya case disposed in a year or so, Ajmal Kasab is hanged in smaller trial span, the Hashimpura case has lingered in for 28 years.

Who is responsible for the delay in this case the government or the judiciary? Justice delayed is justice denied and that has happened in this case.  When the 19984 riots can be probed and re probed, why the culprits of the Hashimpura massacre left off the hook.

It’s bolt on India’s democracy that the murders of Hashimpura are let out for want of evidence. There is hardly any hue and cry, local and international pressure being built for re-probe. The evidences are abundant, it needs to pieced together and bring it for the judicial scrutiny. Re-probe of Hashimpura carnage alone can instill confidence among the
minority community in the country.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bihar education system in dire straights

Bihar education system in dire straights  
Syed Ali Mujtaba

The amusing picture of mass copying done in a high school b oard exam conducted in Bihar has attracted eyeballs all over the world.  The picture graphically shows, the relatives of the students writing the exam, climb to the window of the exam halls and provide them hand written answer chits to copy in the answer sheets.

The image that went viral in media has triggered a debate the way examination is conducted in the state. Bihar’s Education Minister P.K Sahi, reacting to the media reports expressed his government’s helplessness in controlling the situation. He said ‘freeing board examination of cheating was impossible in the state without the support of the society.’

His comments attracted the wrath of Patna High Court. The Court observed that Minister’s comment was ‘unfortunate and shameful’. The High Court converted the report of malpractices in the media as public interest litigation.     

The red faced Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, in a damage control exercise, has directed the top officials to take steps to ensure fair examination in the state. He said, ‘action will be taken against policemen and magistrates on examination duty if they were found abetting cheating.’

Nonetheless the damage has been done. The graphic picture pulls the state back to the jungle raj of the RJD regime. The adage that Bihar remains in the news all the time for wrong reasons keeps on haunting its image.
The education system in Bihar has collapsed long time ago. In fact the decline was sent in since the late 70s soon after the national emergency of 1975. The students who came out of the class room in protest of the emergency never were tamed back into the classrooms again.

The mushrooming of private tuition and coaching centers became the order of the days since then. It continues even today. The teachers went to schools not to teach but only for the attendance sake. They took to coaching and started making pots of money. Commercialization of education began on massive scale. 

This resulted in mass exodus of the students from Bihar.  The tide started in 80s continues till date. Add to it was the reason of perennial power shortage in the state. Student had to burn the proverbial midnight lamp that was lit on kerosene to prepare for the exam. 

In fact, I was moved to New Delhi to pursue my education precisely for these reasons.  It was an irony of sorts in my family; my father had to go to Calcutta, just for the opposite reasons. In those days education system in Bihar was very tough. Only few can pass the high school exams.  Getting First division was a rare feat. Those who got second rank were seen with awe, third division was the general rank. Many students went to Bengal to clear high school exam because of lenient marking and no one failed there.

Even during the 70s, the high school was tough nut to crack in Bihar.  I know someone who right now works as manager in Punjab Bank failed a record seven times in the high school exam and only in his eighth attempt managed third division.

Ever since then, continuous decline in education system was witnessed in Bihar. Whatever, that was left in the system was finally pulled down during the 15 years of the RJD rule. Mass cheating became the order of high school exam in Bihar.

Quite a few parables were in circulation about cheating during exams. One such was the answer chits were passed on to the student by writing on backside of the doctor’s prescription. Instead of copying the answer, the dumb student actually copied the names of the medicines prescribed by the doctor! 
Another story is, once a person standing on the window started dictating the student to write ‘I know.' The student asked him back, whether it is 'no' or ‘kannoow’!

In fact, the joke during rounds was soon Bihar will be short of educated people and in that case parents have to import them from outside the state for copying in the  high school exam. 
The silver lining to the development of Bihar came only when Nitish Kumar took over the reins of Bihar in 2005. He put the state on the recovery curve and in the first five years of his rule his government did exceptionally well to rebuild the state from ground zero.

In fact, Nitish Kumar almost streamlined the decrepit education system in Bihar. There was rule 144 promulgated on all the examination centers during the board exams in the state. No one was allowed venture near the exam premises except the student. With the deployment of huge contingent of police force, the exam centers were highly guarded place. 

The answer sheets were sent to a centralized location for correction. The results were published on time. Education department functioned like well oiled machine. There were frequent inspections of the schools. The negligent teachers were taken to task.
It was after long time the education system was put back on track and malpractices in the exam were completely checked.

Even as all this was sinking and appeared that Bihar is marching ahead to catch up with the rest of the states of India, the damaging image of malpractice at high school exam has come to limelight. After seeing the picture, the joke that there will no more be educated people left in Bihar certainly seems to become a reality. 
The picture gives a sorry account of the state of affair of education system in Bihar.

It pains and angers seeing such a shameful thing happening once again in Bihar.  It appears, Bihar is going back to the jungle raj of the RJD rule. The uneasy feeling is while Nitish Kumar reigns, Lalu rules.

Checking malpractices in examination is an administrative job. There has to be zero tolerance shown towards such unethical practices. The government has to tighten the nuts and bolts of the education department to get rid of malpractices in the conduct of examination in Bihar.   The passing of the buck has to stop at the Chief Minister’s table.

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He belongs to Bihar. He can be contacted at