Posts Tagged ‘police

Gyanwant Singh

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this and subsequent posts on Singh and the Rizwanur case in general are for a very specific reason: investigation will hopefully reveal who is guilty, however, it is alarming how public opinion shifts, and how fast. in this case it is probably because
the police have done a great job over the years making sure they invoke hatred and fear in the average person, and yes, distrust.

Gyanwant Singh was all over the news channels. previously when he was in Murshidabad, anyone could walk into his office – this from an ex-bdo. he has always kept in touch with the masses. when i first called his office for an appointment, the person at the other end of the phone simply offered to pass the call over to him directly ‘apni sir’er shongey kotha boley nin na’. he was called in by FM to spread anti drug messages. he was, in brief, beloved of the masses, the human face of the police, someone u could talk to.

right now, see for urselves, he is simply being judged as a policeman, and therefore corrupt. i have talked to people whose opinion i value and respect, and they are of the same oponion. one of them told me ‘Rizwan did not see the Gyanwant that u met’. She was right of course. these are all cops, and from what little experience i have, cops are a different species altogether. still, i cant bring myself to believe that Gyanwant was up for sale. for the masses, a lot of them, he is a policeman, no more. for me, he is a human being i happen to know. thats what makes all the difference. if i didnt know him personally, i would have reacted like the rest: police top brass? has to be corrupt.

i say there isnt enough evidence for one very specific reason.

i havent seen a single news report that provides us with Priyanka’s version of the story. we dont know, and do not seem very interested in knowing what exactly our ex-hero cop did. it is enough that his name was taken: let us condemn him until proven innocent, and then condemn him some more. never mind his past records. this is what i call lack of evidence.



‘Some people came, said I would be murdered’

A police jeep burns in Park Circus. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
Calcutta, Sept. 22: Rizwanur Rehman filed an appeal with the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights two days before his mysterious death, the NGO said today.

He had alleged threats by his father-in-law, businessman Ashok Todi, as well as police ever since he got married against the Todi family’s wishes. The APDR claim was backed up by Rizwanur’s sister-in-law Zahida, who said she had taken a peek as the young man keyed the appeal in on his PC.

“He said he wanted to fight till the end and was confident he would bring his wife back home,” Zahida said. Here is part of what the appeal says:

Aug. 18, 2007: Rizwanur and Todi’s daughter marry at registrar Sipra Ghosh’s office.

Aug. 31: The girl leaves the Todi home in Salt Lake, moves into her husband’s home in Tiljala Lane. The couple inform the police commissioner, deputy commissioner (south), the North 24-Parganas superintendent and other officers of their marriage.

Aug. 31 evening: The girl calls Todi, tells him about her marriage. Todi and family members arrive at Rizwanur’s place and try in vain to persuade her to return. Todi calls Karaya police who, too, fail. “They left threatening my family members of arresting all of us,” Rizwanur writes.

Sept. 1: The couple are called to Lalbazar where Sukanta Chakraborty, assistant commissioner (anti-rowdy section), asks the girl to return to her father for a few days. She refuses.

Sept. 3: Some people arrive and tell Rizwanur’s brother Rukbanur and his uncles that “if my wife is not sent back to her parents, I would be kidnapped and murdered”.

Sept. 4: The couple are again summoned to Lalbazar. DC (headquarters) Gyanwant Singh speaks to the girl in the presence of her parents. She tells Singh her parents are mentally torturing her.

Sept. 7: The girl’s aunt comes to the Tiljala house and says Todi is in hospital. The girl refuses to go. Local MLA Jawed Khan arrives and advises the couple to visit Todi.

Sept. 8: The couple are summoned to Lalbazar, and go with Rizwanur’s brother and uncles. Detective chief Ajay Kumar gives them two options: “she must visit her parents for seven days”, else “I will be arrested on a complaint by her father on charges of abduction and stealing valuables and she will be handed over to her parents”.

They accept the first option. Kumar and Chakraborty assure Rizwanur the girl is his legal wife, and he can approach the law if she does not return after seven days. Her uncle Anil Saraogi writes on a plain white paper he is taking her to her parents’ place for seven days.

“We knew perhaps we will never meet again. (We) vowed that if we don’t meet again, we will take our lives.”

Sept. 8 night: Girl calls Rizwanur, says she is at her parents’ place.

Sept. 9: The girl calls him from another mobile, says they must wait for more than seven days as her father is going to Tirupati and other holy places. She says he would not be harmed. Rizwanur says he can wait as long as her parents want him to, provided they speak to him after seven days and take some concrete decisions. He agrees to wait without taking any legal action.

Sept. 11: The girl speaks to Rizwanur the last time, tells him Todi is checking up on him and wants details of his relationship with a college friend that ended in 2004. “Maybe my wife’s parents wanted to influence her that I do not have a good character.”

He had, however, told the girl everything about it. She asks him not to worry. He gives her the college friend’s phone number and address. She says they would meet on Sunday, September 16. “That was the last I heard from my wife….”

Sept. 15: Rizwanur tries in vain to get in touch with his wife and Todi.

Sept. 18: Sadique Hossain, a marriage witness, gets a call apparently from Lalbazar saying he would be physically harmed for “forcing (my wife) into this marriage”.

The Telegraph contacted the commissioner and some of those named in the appeal. Their reactions:

Commissioner Prasun Mukherjee: “We shall inquire into all the allegations.”

Gyanwant: “A well-wisher of the Rehman family brought the couple to me. I spoke to the girl and found out she wanted to stay with her husband. Then they left.”

Kumar: “I merely told Rizwanur a case of kidnapping had been filed against him and he could face arrest unless his wife returned home.

something seems amiss here: ‘a well-wisher from the Rehman family’??

check this out:
Rizwan’s family allege harassment by three top cops

Statesman News Service
KOLKATA, Sept. 22: The mystery behind Rizwan Rehman’s death deepened today as the victim’s family members raised allegations that he was threatened by three senior officers of the Kolkata Police before his unnatural death.
The victim’s family has lodged a complaint with the Kareya police station and demanded a high-level inquiry by the CID or the CBI. They alleged that Rizwan was being threatened by officers of the Anti Rowdy Section of the city police’s detective department. Both Rizwan and his wife Priyanka were called to Lalbazar thrice, where they alleged, Rizwan was harassed.
On 31 August, the couple was called to Lalbazar, and Rizwan was asked to leave Priyanka. When the couple refused, assistant commissioner police (Anti Rowdy Section)DD, Mr S Chakraborty, told Rizwan that he would be implicated in false cases, the victim’s relatives alleged.

Three days later, the couple was called again by DC (head quarters) Mr Gyanwant Singh. Rizwan was again threatened.

On 9 September, the deputy commissioner (detective department) Mr Ajay Kumar called them and Rizwan was threatened that his family and career would be doomed if he refused to leave his wife, who is daughter of industrialist Mr Ashok Todi. The harassment continued even after the couple produced their marriage certificate and age proof, Mr J Rehman, the victim’s uncle alleged. Even though AC-ARS, Mr S Chakraborty and DC (DD) Mr Ajoy Kumar refused to pick up the phone,

Mr Gyanwant Singh said: “I did not threaten anyone. I spoke with the girl, not the boy.”

The victim’s brother, Rukban Rehman said Priyanka and Rizwan had met in a multimedia institute where Rizwan worked. Priyanka was a student there. They fell in love and married on 18 August. They were staying in Rizwan’s house. The girl’s father, Mr Todi used his contacts in the political circle and Lalbazar to harass Rizwan, Rukban alleged.
“The girl’s father signed a bond on 9 September before DC-DD, Mr Ajoy Kumar that he is taking Priyanka home for just seven days. That was the last time the couple saw each other. For three days they kept in touch over the phone. But from 12 September, Priyanka’s mobile was switched off,” Rukban alleged.
When this correspondent reached Mr Todi’s house at CG-235 in Salt Lake, the house was found locked. His landline number went unanswered and his mobile was switched off. Security guards said the Todi family had left the city on 12 September.


so there are multiple versions of Singh’s story published. why is there no verification on that? why doesnt anyone bother to publish Priyanka’s take on what had happened. or any other form of verification? somehow we are content to condemn. period. the issue is to find out what happened, and who the killer is. the separate issue of who did what in the police is separate. the two are being clubbed, and the focus remains on condemnation first. perhaps that is the way these things are investigated…

the purpose here is to show my point of view of the situation with reference to a specific person. no matter what the investigation turns up – or if it is suppressed like many other cases, i prefer to voice my opinion on the actions of someone i would say is innocent until proven guilty. amen to that.

btw: this is speculation, but Gyanwant’s friends must be furious with Mr. Bhadra because he has dared to allege that Singh is involved in a situation where money has changed hands. of course he is involved, and of course he is mentined as one of the four involved who – this is how i like to see it – did not tell the Todis to go to hell and leave the couple alone. Mr. Bhadra is totally within his rights to point a finger at as at the other three. and as he said on television last night, at the CM too, if he wanted. the circumstances do not require that anyone be spared from suspicion. i am writing here about my personal feelings regarding the man: doesnt mean he has to be above suspicion. all i am saying, basically, that I cant believe he is guilty, and that i have my reasons. Mr.Bhadra has every right to say what he wishes to say, and what he has stated already.

bottom line: if i know someone pesonally, i explain away his actions by referring to him as an individual. if i dont, i refer to him as a unit in a group, and condemn or praise him as part of the group with my ideas about the group for reference and facts about the situation in question as i see them. right. thats what i am doing here too.

i wanted to open an NGO to facilitate animal welfare. the wildlife board was in charge of Shri Gyanwant Singh, then DCDD1 (the Detective Department is in charge, by default). I went to Lalbazar, waited for a long time, was ushered inside his room. he was talking to someone, but did not forget to ask me to please sit down with a gesture that showed he was a gentleman, and not because he asked me to sit down. i opened the conversation with “i had sent you this letter (with the letter in hand) through e-mail and through speed post: never received a reply; i assume you did not receive it”. without a word he reached out for the letter, read it, and said in accented bengali, ” yes, this is a good project – hanh, e to bhalo jinis aachhe”. it took me a while to realize that he had actually agreed to be the President of my NGO simply because of the Cause. He was seeing me for the first time, and beyond the fact that i was a college lecturer, he did not know anything about me at all. but he agreed, risking his reputation, should i turn out to be an ordinary cheat trying to make some money through a worthless NGO and seeking protection by using his name.
actually, he might have been a little embarassed at his own goodness of heart, and tried to justify his decision by pointing to the names of the members “these are all good people… i mean, i dont personally know any of them, but all good people in good professions…”. i dont know what had made me more happy: the fact that he was helping me make my dream come true, or that i had met a member of a rare species, good human being.

recent controversies have perhaps reduced his fan following, perhaps not – i dont really know or care. i was never his fan, but had liked him instantly. i probably would have liked him even if he had refused to be with my Cause.

i’m sure a lot of us know from personal experience: it does not actually take a lifetime to know a person – u either know him, or u dont. i feel in my heart i know this man. and i believe he is innocent. i think he must have realized that it was beyond his power to help this young man be with his wife and was trying to dissuade him for his own good. assuming this was true – not that i would agree with him if it were, it would make perfect sense why he is being blamed today, along with the others. the commissioner, and most policemen and other public servants forget what they are: public SERVANTS. they are supposed to SERVE, not rule the public. the public, of course, is fully responsible for this. i have watched in disgust and then in apathy, people addressing even the constable of the local police station as ‘Sir’. I have felt a certain kind of apprehension when in Lalbazar. they have this visionary of a guest room manager (never met him) who believes in freezing the room even in summer so that glasses fog when u step out… and for people like me who are prone to throat infections and frequent colds, it is a virtual death trap. i chose to remain outside on subsequent visits, but somehow could not bring myself to demand a chair. it took a bit of polite argument to assume this unconventional posture of standing outside even though i was a visitor.
anyway, lets not mix things up: Gyanwant Singh is who he is; he is not Mr. Prasun Mukherjee, and neither is he in charge of the Detective Department now. We have, a lot of us, known and loved the man for his work, for reaching out to the public.. let us at least not condemn him now before he is judged. the official enquiry will bring out the truth and the guilty will be punished, hopefully. i only wish to state as my own very personal belief, that i FIRMLY BELIEVE Mr. Singh will not be one of them (notwithstanding his tendency to shoulder blame to save his juniors). i was trying to contact him today, but he was busy in a meeting. hopefully i shall be able to reach him tomorrow. if he is impatient with me (not likely), i will understand. perhaps i am being naive, but i dont think so. the rest of u out there, please do take sides on this on – or, actually, dont. there is not need for that. lets let justice take its course without wasting time on speculation based on media information. Mr. Sujato Bhadra has done more useful work till date than most policemen – corrupt or otherwise, will do in a lifetime. i am glad he is involved. he will not attack the wrong person. and since i have faith in both these gentlemen, i am kind of resting easy since the beginning of this case.

so far no word on my part for the deceased. well, there is none. there is no controversy regarding the kind of death it was. lets simply wait for justice, and do our bit to see to it that the innocent are NOT put under the sword to save the guilty should they turn out to be too numerous and too powerful.

Written by kapush

September 27, 2007 at 6:34 pm