The Supreme Court letting off six persons in the Akshardham terror case and pulling up the Gujarat police for its deficiencies in investigation once again points to gaps in our criminal justice system, particularly when it comes to probing the terror accused.
The Akshardham attack took place in 2002, the year that also saw anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat.
So for the Gujarat police this is a second blot in the same year.
Whether it is Ahmedabad or Malegaon or Hyderabad, it is the conduct of the state police everywhere that is most often questionable and at times deplorable to the extent that charges of being both corrupt and communal (one being a handmaiden of the other) stick to such police persons.
One has only to recount cases of people being charged with causing death and destruction and then let off. Mohammed Amir was an accused in the Lajpat Nagar blasts, for which he did time from 1997 to 2011. After 14 years he was found blameless and acquitted in 18 cases.
Shabbir Ahmed Massullah was arrested in the Malegaon blasts of 2006 and set free in 2011 only after Swami Aseemanand said some Hindu rightist organisations had a hand in the incident.
Mohammed Rayesuddin was suspected of having caused the Mecca Masjid explosions in Hyderabad in 2007, released in 2009 and again arrested for the blasts in Dilsukhnagar, also in Hyderabad, in 2013.
One has only to flesh out these facts to get a fuller picture.
Everywhere young men, especially Muslims, are picked up on the basis of mere suspicion, tortured, made to sign on blank sheets, etc. In a society in which stories of Muslims not getting jobs or places to reside in are a dime a dozen, such shoddy investigation can only make a bad situation worse. Compensation for wrongful detention is often missing or highly inadequate.
However, this should have lessons for terrorist organisations, which, despite their repeated failures, have not realised the consequences of their actions, which do little but endanger the lives and liberties of people.
More confidence-building among the minorities is required. The willingness shown by the Indian State to open a dialogue with Maoists has not been replicated in the case of the minorities. This is a gap that needs to be filled.