The aftermath of 26/11 terror attacks on the commercial capital of India saw a major change in the thinking and mindset of the common Indian, rich or poor, educated or illiterate or to broadly classify, in all strata of the Indian society. It gave us a sense of being Indian, fighting back against terror, getting back our values of togetherness, unity and belonging. The spirit and flame of patriotism is back in every Indian, be it children, youth or old. It is really amazing that after quite some time we have realised the feeling of being INDIAN, which was once confined to two calender days in a year - January 26 which is our Republic Day and August 15, our Independence Day. This is the time one silent evil slowly crept into our system. Our police seems to have got a licence to kill as a result of the aftermath of 26/11. This specific case is a glaring example of the brutal face of Uttar Pradesh Police and its much hyped Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) which was involved in operations against criminals for years together. Now it was time to prove that they were worth their name and hence the need of the hour was an encounter. An encounter of dreaded Pakistani terrorists armed with sophisticated weapons no less than AK-47 assault rifles and then began U.P. Police's operation - 'Create Terrorists'. It was in the wee hours of January 25th, when frantic messages were passed to media persons, both print and electronic that an encounter has taken place in Sector-97 of Noida between two Pakistani terrorists and U.P. Police ATS had taken place which resulted in the killing of both the terrorists who were armed with AK-47 rifles, hand grenades etc. etc. etc. Media rushed to the spot but only a few questions were asked and those too were silenced in the name of nationalism, patriotism etc, etc, etc. Strangely, where the encounter took place has recently shot into limelight with at least five encounters here in the last three months. Is this area the Bermuda Triangle for criminals in this part of the country ? The story provided by the ATS is quite intriguing and interesting as well. The Pak terrorists were first spotted in a Maruti-800 car in Lal Kuan in Ghaziabad where they were signalled to stop. But the occupants of the car fled from there and were chased all the way to the lonely Sector -97 of Noida where the encounter took place. The distance between Lal Kuan and Sector 97 of Noida is at least 15 odd kilometres. Was there not a single barricade or a picket in between or the ATS wanted the encounter to happen at the isolated Sector-97 of Noida ! The encounter started and ended within minutes resulting in the killing of the two 'wanted terrorists' from foreign soil. When the terrorists were armed with AK-47 assault rifles, which sophisticated weaponry did the ATS have - some pistols and rifles to counter them ! It is well known and established fact, specially after 26/11, that the bullet-proof vests provided to the personnel of police and Indian armed forces are not protected from bullets coming out of weapons such as sophisticated AK series. Combating AK-47 with pistols and rifles can indeed be termed as a heroic deed of the ATS ! After the 'encounter' was over, the ATS proudly displayed the modern weapons seized from the 'terrorists'. But they had some more revealing items to show and prove beyond doubt that the nationality of the killed was Pakistani. Two Pakistan passports were recovered and proudly shown to the media. What makes it more intriguing is that the ATS claims that the terrorists had planned some operation and were heading towards their mission. If it were so, why were they carrying their passports ? The question itself is perhaps the answer. Of the police party, one Constable Vinod is said to be injured and is admitted in a private hospital in Noida. No one is allowed to meet him despite the fact that a bullet has grazed past his leg. Had he been seriously injured, one could have understood why people are not being allowed inside his ward but the constable is being kept in isolation due to reasons best known to the Uttar Pradesh ATS. The police Gypsy (Registration no. UP-16K 0895) involved in the encounter has a bullet hole on the windscreen. Police say that the terrorists fired on their vehicle and in retaliation they killed the terrorists. What is more surprising is that the angle of the hole is such that it would have hit the occupant of the vehicle between head and chest and no one from the police party has sustained such injury. Moreover, the bullet is not even embedded in the seat back of the Gypsy giving credence to the doubt that bullet was perhaps fired from inside the vehicle. A top notch officer of the Uttar Pradesh Police in a hurriedly called press conference in Lucknow, congratulated his boys for this heroic deed and in his statement said that the terrorists were forced to stop their when the ATS team successfully fired and punctured the tyre of the car, making it come to a grinding halt. But the car found at the spot has not bullet mark on the tyre. It seems that the tube has been deflated later. Who were these persons who have been killed ? What is their previous track record ? Were they earlier involved in some terrorist act ? Were they wanted ? If yes, for which crime ? No one in Uttar Pradesh Police has any answer of any of these questions. The only answer they have is - investigation is on. Well, investigation is on and the ATS team in this case is gearing up for some bravery awards, some cash rewards and out of turn promotions. What is more scary is that 26/11 has changed the psyche of the Indian is that no one is willing to raise a single question on this. The so called champions of Human Rights - the numerous organisations we have in the country who used to raise hue and cry over police atrocities and high handedness are not prepared to utter a single word over the killing of two youth, just because they are Pakistani nationals ? Yes, we are indeed patriots and true Indians but does that mean that we let blood be spilled on the streets of our country and people be killed because they are of a different nationality and do not even question the intent of our law enforcers ?
Vivek avasthi is Senior Edior with IBN7