Press Council of India
Sub:- Online petition to issue direction / advisory to Indian media to present truth about crucial matter in 26/11
I am an Indian citizen (My Indian passport ID - F 8375498) and am deeply concerned about the safety and security of the lives of Indians (including myself and my family, relatives and friends living in India) threatened by terrorist acts.
A State (including Governments and Legislature) which can not protect the lives of its citizens (especially civilians) and cannot punish as per law the perpetrators of crimes (and that too heinous crimes) on its citizens, is not worth the name. The terrorist attack in Mumbai on November 26, 2008 (called in media as 26/11) was the most blatant violation of India’s territorial integrity by State sponsored terrorists from Pakistan in which 164 persons were killed including 28 foreign nationals from 10 countries and 308 were wounded (The bodies of many of the dead hostages showed signs of torture or disfigurement).
Indian State did so many things to punish the guilty of 26/11 including hanging of Kasab (accused of 26/11) last year. But regarding Lakhvi (which is an open and shut case) Indian State has not only not done enough but on the contrary along with Indian media is trying to spread misinformation, misleading Indians and not presenting the truth before Indians.
With the result Government of India (GOI), though it is legally expected, did not constrain government of Pakistan (GOP) to gather and adduce proper evidences before trial Court in Pakistan about Lakhvi, Hafiz Saeed etc and complicit Pak State actors Though everybody knows that once voice record of Lahvi was given by GOI to GOP the further investigation was to be done by GOP for gathering corroborating evidence but GOP did not do so for the simple reason that it would have exposed the State actors in complicity with Lakhvi, Hafiz Saeed etc. It has created legally highly objectionable situation where accused (including Lakhvi) are not booked for criminal conspiracy for planning 26/11 and for active involvement in conducting 26/11 through phone from Karachi control room.
India is rightly outraged (as evident from media coverage) on the release of Lakhvi on bail on April 10, 2015. But GOI and Indian media are making Indian people to be engrossed merely in sending Lakhvi back to jail under Maintenance of Public Order (MOPO) laws, which in any case does not get justice to victims of 26/11. To make the matter worst Indian State and media have been misleading the people by saying that Lakhvi case is an open and shut case but nothing can be done because law in Pakistan does not allow voice sample of Lakhvi to be taken (for comparing it with telephonic conversation of Lakhvi giving directions / instructions to the perpetrators for conducting 26/11) and for its further use for identification of the accused (Lakhvi).
Any body who knows anything about law knows that it is absurd and mischievous stand of Indian State and media, to say the least, as given below:-
(1)- Like Article 20 (3) of Indian Constitution Article 13 (b) of Pakistan Constitution also gives protection against self-incrimination and says that ‘no person shall, when accused of an offence, be COMPELLED to be a witness against himself’. But for taking voice sample of Lakhvi there is no need for COMPELLING Lakhvi. The voice samples of Lakhvi are already with Pakistani authorities through his audio - video in public appearances / conversations before 26/11 and even after 26/11 his audio-video [as non-communicative evidence which does not communicate anything about Lakhvi’s complicity in 26/11 hence does not violate Article 13 (b) of Pak Constitution] could have been / can still be gathered by Pakistani authorities.
(2)- As far identification of accused, voice identification has been used in a variety of criminal cases, including murder, rape, extortion, drug smuggling, wagering-gambling investigations, political corruption, money-laundering, tax evasion, burglary, bomb threats, terrorist activities, organized crime activities etc in all the countries of the world including in Pakistan. Hence there is no reason why it can’t be used in 26/11 case by the judiciary of Pakistan
(3)- David Headley was granted immunity from death sentence by Federal Court in USA (as per US Law because he pleaded guilty about 26/11 where six US citizens were also killed). But there is no immunity in US Law to other accused from Pakistan (including Lakhvi etc named by Headley). Therefore Indian State is legally entitled and expected to move US authorities to get Lakhvi etc (named by Headley) booked about 26/11 in the courts of USA, Pakistan and India.
In a recent and extremely important development Pakistan High court on April 13. 2015 has reportedly set a two months ‘deadline’ for trial court to conclude the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack case. in absence of proper evidence & supplementary charge-sheet Lakhvi will no more need bail rather after two months he will be a free and acquitted person which will not only deny justice to the victims of 26/11 but will embolden terrorists and complicit State actors in Pakistan which will make entire India vulnerable to more such terrorist attacks like 26/11.
Because in a democratic country people are the real sovereigns they will constrain Indian State for proper action in such an important case as 26/11 if they are assisted by fourth organ of State (the media) by providing right information. Therefore in view of above mentioned Your Honor is requested to kindly issue directions / advisory to Indian media (print and electronic) to present truth before people of India about 26/11 by enlightening / giving right information to the people that :-
(i)-There is no Pakistani or international law which prevents Lakhvi’s conversation with perpetrators of 26/11 (which makes it an open and shut case) to be used as evidence in the courts of Pakistan.
(ii)- There is no US or international law which prevents evidence given by Headley (in US court) to be used as evidence in US courts and even in the courts of Pakistan and India for punishing the accused of 26/11
(iii)- If GOI does not constrain GOP for proper investigation (for gathering corroborating evidence against Lakhvi, Saeed etc and Pak State actors) and if GOP does not file supplementary charge-sheet based on this proper investigation then after two months Lakhvi will be acquitted and will be free man as far as 26/11 is concerned.
(iv)- What is needed is only the will of Indian State (including government and Legislature) to pursue the matter as per law in order to get justice for the victims of 26/11 and also to make India safe from cross border terrorist attacks with the complicity of State actors of Pakistan.
(v)- If in such an open and shut case (against Lakhvi, Saeed etc and Pak State actors) of 26/11 the Indian State can not dispense justice to the victims of 26/11 (and through this justice the sense of security to all the people of India) then who will have confidence and faith in Indian State and its various organs.
Hem Raj Jain
(Author of ‘Betrayal of Americanism’)
Bengaluru (Karnataka), India