Thursday, 10 November 2011

Nadeem Saiyed: Yet another truth seeker silenced

From DNA India
DNA / Mallika Sarabhai 

For whom was Nadeem Saiyed more of a hindrance? Was it the accused of Naroda Patiya and those behind the accused; or were it crooks in many garbs whose lies, deceit and dishonesty he was exposing through the hundreds of RTIs he had filed? Or was the larger nexus the same - those in cohorts to subvert justice for personal gain and power?
The result is the same in any case. On Saturday morning, Saiyed was on his daily walk close to his home in Juhapura, picking up newspapers at round the corner where he was attacked by four men with swords and stabbed to death. His is yet another casualty among the truth seekers of Gujarat. In all probability, this is another murder which will go unpunished; or worse, innocents will languish in jail for decades for his murder before being let off due to lack of evidence.
Few days ago, Nadeem had approached the police regarding the case of a planned cow slaughter in Juhapura where a bunch of young people had attacked the police. It was Nadeem's case that the police had picked the wrong people in the matter.
Nadeem had been fighting for justice for many years now.
Sometime ago, while traveling to an RTI meet with my colleagues, he mentioned about the immense pressure on the witnesses of the Naroda Patiya massacre. "It is very difficult to hold out to the constant threats to our families and the simultaneous bribes and promises of further goodies," he had mentioned. He knew he could stand against all this but wasn't sure how some of the others would. They have young children, he had said.
Three months ago, I was coming out of a meeting with activists at Mehndi Nawaz Jung Hall when he stopped me. Introducing himself to me he said, "Ben, my life is under constant threat. I am afraid they will get to me before I can testify."
He had been fighting the Ahmedabad municipality as well, for the terrible lack of infrastructure in Juhapura. He had filed a writ in the high court. Two months ago, HC directed the corporation to give an immediate response as to what facilities existed there and when could the rest be put in. His consistent filing of RTIs had a bearing on hundreds of citizens and the Public Cause Foundation honoured him for it two years ago.
But yesterday, they got him.
Nadeem is not the first in the state who has been taken out because of the ripples he caused in the system. The list is getting longer, the audacity and disdain of the killers becoming more blatant. Courts grinding away at snail's pace are emboldening others to continue killing the truth seekers.
People of the state have become the proverbial Neros that the Supreme Court once called our CM - making merry as the state burns.Each murder is reduced to a new item and is treated as a mere statistic. What does it have to do with me anyway? I'm fine, I'm safe! I'm allowed to prosper without hindrance. Leave these things to others; they will sort them out themselves. This is what is happening everywhere, isn't it?
Nursery rhymes have morbid meanings unknown to children and also to most parents who teach them. Ring a ring o' roses is a parody on hundreds of people who died in the plagues. Pocket full of posies refers to the cloves people carried with them to protect themselves. The following nursery rhyme describes the current tragic scenario perfectly -
There were ten in the bed and the little one said, roll over, roll over
They all rolled over and then there were nine;
There were nine in the bed and the little one said….. (and so on)
till all the inconvenient ones have rolled over (read been killed)
and there are none left.
Is that what is hoped for by those who have much to hide and answer for?
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