The Fairy Tales
I did repent as warned by the SO. But only for telling the truth. Alas! if I had not done so and revealed everything in the court. Because the tactic played by them was an entirely different one. They treated me in a most unexpected manner. There was no physical torture as I had expected, except that my bed had been removed. The torture was only to the extent that I had to rough out the wintry days and nights without a bed, or clothes, except for the polyester shirt and a pyjama.
They had devised another ruse to further their plans. They wanted to extract information which they knew I had kept up my sleeves. So jolly offered to help me.
`Rathaur I am feeling very sorry.' Major Jolly said, when he visited my cell alongwith Chaudhary. `And now I want to help you out of this rut. But I am helpless. So you must give me some points which I know you have, to refute Gnr Aya Singh's statement. Rest assured, I will take this bastard to task.'
`Well, sir, I don't have any. Whatever there was I, gave them all to you. However, I'll think over... if I can find any more.'
`Please do that and do it quickly. Okay?' and then the Duo left.
There was not one but a number of loopholes, apart from my being on leave, and the civil painted jeep. That of course alrady stood neutralised.
`How do I believe they would not play the remaining, if I tell them, against me?' I thought. `And supposing if I insist that I did not spend the leave in station but at my home, and that I did not avail the leave from Samba in July August 1974, but from Yol and what if they make me change the period in the confession for a period when I actually was in Samba? Well then I am doomed. So I must not under any circumstances give away this vital proof.' But I further considered and speculated. `But if they are actually concerned this time, then won't it be a killing on my part? Yes it would be.
I thought over every aspect and decided to take a middle course.
The next day the duo came to my cell. They asked me to show if I had any evidence. I told them that I did not have much. And the little that I had, I would disclose it in my own way.
I requested the prensece of three senior officers, of at least Brigadier rank, and that the officers should be outside the Intelligence Corps. I also requested them to include Colonel Anand Singh, the Delhi Area Adm. Commandant.
`Sir' I said, `then let Gnr aya Singh state whatever he wants to in the presence of these officers. One of the officers would record Aya Singh's evidence. I would then ask a few questions from Aya Singh, and request you all to verify the answers given by him to check how truthful they are.' I paused and then added, `sir, this unscrupulous fellow has played havoc in the army and misled you people properly...'
`Rathaur, brother I am shocked to hear you asking for senior officers. It seems you have no faith left in us. When I have offered to help you, I meant it, then why can't you tell those points to us?' Major Jolly asked me sympathetically, reproaching me for his mistrust towards them.
I remained silent.
`Rathaur listen we're also human. If you're innocent, we will not like you and your children to suffer. We know you have already suffered so much due to our ignorance. Then, let us, dammit, repay you for whatever wrong we have already done to you.... I can assure you, we will make this rascal Aya pay for what he has made us do.' Jolly said, looking very concerned.
I was thus cornered by the twosome, who exhibited every concern with full commiseration, and promised to help me.
It is a known fact if there is anything more dangerous, vicious, wily and savage than a blood thirsty devil, then it is a man; a wicked man who is completely degenerated to the very depths of indecency. And such were the persons in whose hands fate had contrived to place me.
I was compelled under the persuasion of a show of humanity, to give them the points, though at the same time I was apprehensive about the genuineness of their professed concern and doubtful of their sincerity.
I quickly made up my mind to throw a piece of meat to test whether what they said was true or not. Instead I threw the last piece of bone.
Village Nanga is at an approximate distance of six kms to the South of Ramgarh, and villages Keso and Kamore approximately two kms towards East, from Ramgarh. Village Palota is about a hundred and fifty yards away from Ramgarh. The international border runs in inverted (^) `V'shape near Nanga. The Pak BOP Gandial is located at a distance of approximately three hundred yards from the border. This post is situated at a distance of roughly 1/2 km south west of village Nanga.
All these villages are connected with cart tracks from Ramgarh, except Nanga, which then had a loose gravel lined road. Nanga could also be approached from three directions. The approaches are : Ramgarh - Keso - Kamore - Nanga ; Ramgarh - Palota - Bhamochak - Nanga, and Ramgarh - Nanga. There were no laterals between Palota and Keso - Kamore, except the DCB service track which could not be used after the rains due to the slushy condition of the track. Except Ramgarh - nanga track, none of the remaining tracks were fit for vehicular traffic. And during the monsoon no vehicle could ply on these tracks, other than the bullock carts.
Having explained on a sketch the geography of the area, I proceeded to unarm myself. Though skeptical about their intentions, yet hoping against hopes, they might improve.
`Now, sir, no one could have deceived me in my own area of operational responsibility. In an area where I knew every inch of the ground,' I impressed upon them.
`That's why you were made drunk,' Chaudhary led a suggestion.
`Well, sir, if I was drunk, then it becomes all the more simple to prove the story as foolishly concocted by Aya Singh or Nagial or by anyone who did it. For if I was drunk, then how could I remember the taxi number, a taxi in which I am alleged to have sat only once and that too during the night. And not only that, I still continue to remember it even after four years. Then how could I remember the name of Dr RP Sharma a friend of Nagial, whom I had never even met? How could I remember, "We drove to Nanga from Ramgarh and from Nanga to Palota via Keso and Kamore", and how could I remember the taxi broke down at Palota? How could I remember all similar details as in my alleged statement? If to say that I was drunk.'
`But by the time you reached there you were not so drunk as not to remember the details.'
`Sir, that is simply a preposterous idea. If I was not so drunk, then I would have known the area well. And in that case no one could have deceived me. Right? There was only one way for Nagial and Aya to take me to Pakistan, and they could avail the chance only if I was unconscious. But then there was no question of my having remembered the details with so much clarity and certainty.' I paused and thought to myself that it was sufficient to stamp the confession as false and forced on me. I further added, `But even if to say that I was drunk and I still remembered the details then also the story is proved wrong. Tell me, sir, where was the requirement to first go to Nanga and drive all the way in an opposite direction, on a route entirely away from the Post Gandial, to Palota? Couldn't I have been deceived from Nanga? Where was the requirement of coming back to Palota, a place 6 kms inside my own territory? And if they had to deceive me from Palota then where was the requirement of driving in a 380 degrees circle? Sir, I don't know by what stretch of the imagination it is believed that Pak Rangers came to abduct me on the instance of Gnr Aya Singh, as far inside as six kms from the border, and in so short a time as is suggested in the story. Sir, its nothing but a fairy tale told by a mother to her children who believe her completely. Eh? And not only that it's here that the Pak Rangers told us "You're in Pak territory", and I pleaded, "We have corssed inadvertently." It's the height of absurdity. Not only this I wonder how could Nagial drive the taxi on tracks, where it is practically impossible to drive even a jeep with its four wheel drive in the monsoons, because that is the alleged period of my deception. Sir, I am telling you once again, though earlier I have done the same a number of times, that I had not met Aya Singh before you confronted him with me, nor have I, till this day been to Udhampur, let alone going to Manwal Camp. I don't even know Mrs. Shahni Devi of the wife of Aya Singh as it has been alleged in the story.... If you still wish to insist that I went to Manwal Camp, you mean the first thing I did on reaching there was to start enquiring the names of ladies?.... Sir, simple courtesy demands not to ask the names of ladies. I don't know the names of wives of my unit officers with whom I have been associating every day and I am sure neither do you. If one does not know the names of ladies one meets daily, then how can it be believed that I knew the names of Shahni Devi and Bachno Devi, whom I am alleged to have met only once for a few hours. Doesn't my remembering all these names after an elapse of four years make it incredible?'
`But these names were told by us.' It was their turn to be confused.
Èxactly.' I said, òf course the names as well as the entire confessional statement was dictated by you. Otherwise no one can remember such details even supposing one was an offender. Can you remember, sir?'
They were silent.
`I know, sir, you have been badly misled by your prejudiced minds.... You were biased and did not carry out any scrutiny either of Aya Singh's alleged statement against me nor did you scrutinise my statements made against others. If you had done so you, would have found out a long time ago, that the Kandral post which I have been referring to in all the stories is not a Pak BOP. It is our own Post, a deserted BOP.
I found the interrogators had turned ashen. They took the sketch I had drawn in order to explain to them, and went away.
It was simple and easy for me to have deduced and seen the wickedness under the garb of sincerity; to recognise the wolves in sheep clothing. I had only to consider the ease with which my earlier evidence were neutralised. The most vital evidences, of course the identification parade would have been carried out under a similar situation, even if I had not asked for it. Otherwise what did they have against me, except Aya Singh?
Alas! if I had not told them, "I did not have a jeep then", it would have been easier to take the scoundrel for perjury.
I did not probably to make sure that what I thought about the interrogators was correct. And it was correct, though I paid highly for acquiring the knowledge. I thought, they are venomous snakes who want to bite innocent people.
The cover of humaneness made them all the more dangerous. Were these patriots playing with the lives of people, bringing untold miseries upon them and their families, or were they playing with the interest of the army and that of the nation, under the pretext of maintaining "security"? Or worse still, were they trying to save their skin by refusing to recognise my innocence?
The belief that they were biased and did whatever they did in good faith, and were still doing so was not maintainable after the above disclosures. It can also not be believed that they did not see the true facts. They definitely saw them. That was why they defaced and twisted the facts deliberately.
Why did these sentinels of "national security" have to guard it as they did?
After a few days, I was informed that whatever I had disclosed, was found incorrect on checking. And even if I was innocent I would not be able to come out of the mess I was in. The only escape route for me lay in cooperating with them. Cooperation meant, deposing against other persons. As a reward I was to get my freedom!
I declined the offer.
The factory functioned as usual - the massacre continued - the spies kept increasing each day - in a geometrical progression. Surprisingly, however, I was spared the physical torture. Maybe they had nothing more to take from me. Or may be I was required to be produceed against Sepoy Karam Singh in the court in the near future.
In the cell I craved every second to be shifted to the mess and to be brought to trial at the earliest.
The letter written by me on 06 December was not posted to my wife. I was asked to write to her another encouraging letter, which I did.
That however, was a part of another tactic. They wanted to keep her away from taking any action. How could she have known, that the letters she received from her husband were written by him under the direction and supervision of his masters?
I knew about this move. It was to protect their brutalities lest they came to the limelight. But alas, I could do nothing!
I was never allowed to make any mention about the reasons and cause of my arrest in the letters. Even if I made an occasional attempt to write them, my letters were never posted.
On December 26th, I was made to sign on a receipt for the clothes sent to me by my wife, without telling me who'd brought them. Though I guessed my wife was in station and had come to meet me.
On December 27, I was given a hot water bath, after nearly a fortnight and was allowed to shave. Then a set of washed clothes, a trouser and a shirt was given to me to put on. A sweater was also given to me in the afternoon. Then I was blindfolded, handcuffed, with my hands at the back and was led out from the slaughter house. Once out I felt the warm and soothing rays of the afternoon sun, comforting me. I was overjoyed.
I thought that my wife was in Delhi and she was being allowed to see me. So I was taken to a place where the meeting was probably arranged.
My guess about my wife being in Delhi was correct, but I was wrong to think they were taking me to meet her. I was being taken away from her; to an unknown place.
I found myself inside the train when I was asked to sit down, by a sentry. I sat down while speculating about my destination, and was disappointed to know that it was not the meeting with my wife as I had thought. However I felt relieved from a thought that at least I had come out alive from the burning crucible.
Putting together various, bits of talk between the occupants of the compartment, I guessed that the station was New Delhi and the train was Srinagar Express.
In that case either I am being taken to Yol or to Jammu, I thought. It can also be Nagrota and Udhampur. But why are they taking me there when I am supposed to have been attached with the Raj Rif Centre?'. `Maybe they are taking me to give evidence against Karam Singh.
I no doubt had suffered the worst type of humiliation and disgrace in the interrogation centre, still I was overwhelmed with a sense of acute shame seeing the way I was being carried in public. Though blindfolded, I felt the piercing eyes of countless spectators tearing me into pieces.
`How would they know,' I thought, `the object of hatred was in fact a victim of someone's nefarious designs.'
When the train started I requested Captain Dube, one of the two escort officers, if my blindfold and cuffs could be removed. But Dube had no orders to use his discretion.
Captain Dube seemed to be shocked, that I knew the train and the destination. `How? Who told him?' He must be thinking. I mused.
And sure enough the officer asked me in a surprised voice how did I know Captain Dube was his name and that the rain was Sri Nagar Express.
`I knew your name from the conductor who was checking about the reservation and I guessed the train was bound towards Jullundur after hearing a passenger who was requesting the conductor to give him one berth. And I knew that the only train at this time which travels towards Jullundur is Srinagar Express. Since it starts from New Delhi, I guessed the station was New Delhi. This also giave me a hint about my tentative destination.' I explained and asked, `can you now tell me where I am being taken?'
Dube said that I would find out myself when they reached the destination.
They asked me how I fell in the trap of Pakistan. And I explained to them in brief about the torture. `Well diehards like you deserve torture,' was the comment passed by Dube.
However, when the whole thing was explained to them, both sympathised with me. Their attitude towards me, was thereafter tolerable.
Though I remained handcuffed, they removed the blindfold as long as I was in that compartment.
I also learnt that I would be attached to some unit around Jammu and that my trial would be held there.
|Preface | Temporary Duty | The Move Order | The Train Journey | The Reception | The Army HQ | Close Arrest | The Interrogation | Background | The Intelligence | The Security | The Devil | The Confession | The Foundation Stone | The Great Detectives | The Corroborations | An Approver | Confrontaions | Hibernations | Leading to the Trails | Fairy Tales | Into the Fire | Army Procedure | As a Winess | Meeting with Family | Habeas Corpus | Death of Democracy | The Trial | Prosecution Case | The Defence | The Press | Rebuttal | Aftermath | Mystery | Postscript | Annexure I | Home ||