PUCL Bulletin, March 2005

Victim or Suspect: S.A.R. Geelani
-- By Y.P. Chhibbar

[ Also see, Attempt on Geelani’s life reprehensible - Press release by Dr. Y. P. Chhibar Click]

The attempt on the life of SAR Geelani, a teacher in a college of Delhi University, is fast becoming a case that breaks new ground in the methods of investigation. This is probably a case in which Delhi police is implementing the RTI law on its own. From the very beginning two points have been prominent in the investigation procedures. The police started the investigations on a note of suspicion. Suspicion about the place of assault, about the sequence of events as reported by Geelani’s lawyer, outside whose house Geelani was reported to have been shot, suspicion about what he was wearing, suspicion about whether his vein and arteries had blood flowing in them as there were, allegedly, no blood stains after Geelani receiving four bullets. In fact probably the police would have everyone believe that it is all a cock and bull story (especially because till now no bullets have came out of his body. Who knows if at all there are bullets!).

The Right to Information law comes into the picture because from the very beginning the police have been announcing/leaking to the press what line of investigation they are going to follow, what they have or have not found in a particular direction, etc.

A complication that introduces an unplanned line of investigation is the threats received by a play writer and producer of Kolkatta who has been staging a play, 16 Millimeter, based on the Parliament attack of December 2001 since July 5, 2004. According to a report published in the Indian Express of February 19 he received calls on his mobile on February 13 in a mixture of Punjabi and Urdu. The Chief Minister of West Bengal had also talked to him about the play written by him and the real life drama that took place outside Nandita Haksar’s residence.

In the midst of hearing of an appeal against his acquittal by the Delhi High Court came this murderous attack on Geelani. The Supreme Court took note of the incident and sought a report from Delhi police. The Delhi police asked the State Government to constitute a Board of Doctors to examine Geelani. The board is yet to submit a report. His discharge from the hospital is also playing hide and seek. The stand of the hospital and the opinions of the family of Geelani don’t match and Geelani was not yet released at the time of writing this.

There is so much confusion with regard to all the incidents and facts and the health status of victim that it would be correct to demand that some agency other than the Delhi Police should take over the investigation. May be the National Human Rights Commission can be brought into picture. It is very necessary that the victim is freed from the web of suspicion that has become knit around him.

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