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Now who is hiding, Mr. Vishwaranjan?

Posted by Admin on December 19, 2009

By Siddhartha Mitra, Source: Sanhati

The long wait. The pips. And then the phone rang.
He picked up the phone on the fourth ring.
“Hello?” a gruff voice inquired.
It was a voice of authority. After all, Mr. Vishwaranjan, the person I was calling, was the Director General of Police of Chhattisgarh, the person at the top of the law enforcement institution in the state.
“Sir, my name is Siddhartha Mitra, and I am calling from New York. I am a computer professional working here.”
“Hem”. He cleared his voice. And waited. Evidently we both knew where the call was going. So I dived into the topic, without further ado.
“Sir, I am calling regarding the arrest of Kopa Kunjam”, I said.
“We have been getting many calls regarding this. He has been arrested on a six month old murder case. He was hiding in Himanshu Kumar’s ashram, and when he came out during that time, he was arrested”, the DGP placidly explained.
No doubt this was something he had prepared in advance, and must have repeated it several times by now.
However, there was a big catch to it.
“But I know that is not true. I myself was there in Dantewada two months ago, and I went with Kopa Kunjam to Lingagiri. He came and went from the ashram as he pleased, and he was very much out in the open. He was not hiding there.”
There was a distinct pause at the other end of the line. This was clearly an unexpected and unwelcome counter.
“Look, I do not know the exact details, the SP Bijapur is handling this case”, he paused, desperately thinking of something else to say. “At least, this is what Kopa has confessed. He said he was staying at the Ashram”, he seemed to be trying to backtrack. No, Kopa was not hiding there, but was staying there. And yes, I do not know all the details, so I cannot answer all your questions.
“I know that he was not staying at the ashram at night, because I was there”, I persisted.
His voice took a soothing tone. He condescendingly explained, hoping to clear my ignorance – “Kopa himself has said so. That is why we know he was staying at the ashram. “
“But he might have said so because he was beaten” , I responded, offering the reason why such allegations might have surfaced.
Slander! Calumny! There was a notable shock in his voice. “That is not how the Indian police system works. Nobody is beaten. The arrested make their statements before the magistrate. I am telling you what Kopa has himself has said during his confession.”
“There was witness to the fact that he was beaten. Mr. Alban Toppo, the lawyer who was with him saw him getting beaten up.”
Click.
And then a silence.
We shall have to wait another day to know why Mr.Toppo was making up this egregious lie. Perhaps the blows with the cane that he had received himself before he witnessed Kopa’s beating must have caused him to have hallucinations.
Anyway, the conversation had gone a lot longer than expected. After all, my call on the same issue two days earlier to Amresh Mishra, the SP of Dantewada, had lasted only a few seconds. Mr. Mishra, prior to disconnecting the line, had hurriedly mentioned that this case was out of his region of control, and Kopa was in the custody of the Bijapur police, and I should contact SP Bijapur.
And of course, the SP Bijapur was on “vacation”.
At least Mr. Mishra had some excuse. But the DGP is the overlord of the entire police force in the state. In the end, it is his sole responsibility on how law is enforced in Chhattisgarh. He has no SP Bijapur or vacation to excuse himself with.
Now who is hiding, Mr. Vishwaranjan?

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