Why Yakub Memon is a victim of collective conscience

The 1993 Mumbai blasts accused will suddenly create déjà vu in Kashmir, with Afzal Guru's hanging still pretty fresh.

 |  2-minute read |   27-07-2015
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In 1945, when the Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita was prosecuted by US Supreme Court in connection with the atrocities committed by his troops under his command in Philippines, command responsibility was invoked de jure. The Yamashita principle that marked the beginning of new world order and advent of liberal democracies should thus have been a standard operating mechanism for the prosecution of people involved in attacks. India however seems to follow the reverse Yamashita principle with its judiciary and military-police nexus unable to nab the perpetrators of what it terms as "proxy war", resorts to hanging or persecution of ruminants quotably "to satisfy the collective conscience". Thus if one is to believe the judiciary and its claims, it has been practised at least in cases of Afzal Guru and now Yakub Memon, with the ruminant, an easy catch hold, a peg at bottom, a remotely connected dot, a mere suspect or a random hunch going to gallows.

Yakub happens to be brother of Tiger Menon, an accused in Bombay blasts. In his case the guilt was established and media trial started, with him leaving the country along with his family and then as the state version is to be believed he was caught near New Delhi Railway Station, this thus punctures the very basis of him as an accused, a conspirator or even a suspect.

"In real life a person cannot be said to have appeared at such a place (Delhi Railway Station) from the air. It is also absurd that the investigating agency would not have carried out the investigation regarding the said aspect," a judge had remarked once during the hearing.

Most of the information interestingly about Tiger Memon and Yakub's presence in Pakistan has been provided by a Kashmiri-renegade-turned-politician Usman Majeed, as is revealed in Hussain Zaidi's book Black Friday. Usman who was then with Jammu Kashmir Students Liberation Front (JKSLF), is said to have met Tiger Memon in Pakistan owing to the proximity between the JKSLF leaders and Tiger Memon, who then helped them in establishing Jammu Kashmir Islamic Front after the likes of Usman Majeed had turned approvers of the Indian state in Kashmir. The case of Usman Majeed returning to the Valley and then being rehabilitated into politics by the Indian state after turning into a counter-insurgent and the case of Yakub Memon, a lesser pawn in the big game, who would serve well the state not as counter-insurgent but as satisfaction for its "collective conscience" are two examples of state manoeuvring people and alleged convicts to achieve its own realist ends by adopting liberal judicial mechanisms. Hence a chartered accountant would have perhaps to maintain an account for his remaining breaths while a coat turner promising to act against "his" people may be rehabilitated.

Meanwhile Yakub Memon will suddenly create déjà vu in Kashmir, with Afzal Guru's hanging still pretty fresh and both being the victims of Reverse Yamashita principle of collective conscience.


Umair Gul Umair Gul @umademess

The writer is a PhD student at Nelson Mandela Centre, New Delhi.

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