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A Simple Demand For Justice
<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>A Simple Demand for Justice</span>

<b>Satya Sarma</b>

In an interview to rediff.com, Prosecutor for Tamil Nadu, KTS Tulsi said of those who show support for the Kanchi Sri Sankaracharya: “For them, a Brahmin is above the law.”

Ignore for now the fallacy that a sanyasi is bound by varna – that is a question, I am unqualified to discuss. There is something else there that Mr. Tulsi got wrong. It is not that we claim our Dharmacharya to be above the law. It is just that the Law has sunk so low. By forsaking the solid ground of truth, the Law has slipped into a gutter where it lies unworthy of any respect or of even a second look.

After claiming to have “shocking and solid” evidence, the Law and its guardians have, time and time again, been proven outright liars. The testimony they claimed clinched the Acharya’s guilt turns out to be a litany of lies forced out under torture. They have failed to produce the purported key conspirators who link the Acharya to the crime. Not that we can believe any testimony they claim to elicit from witnesses in their custody anyway.

Mr. Tulsi himself has been caught in a lie. In open courts, Mr. Tulsi got up and said that a ‘deserted’ woman he implied was linked to the Acharya was involved in the murder, and had absconded with lakhs. This woman’s apprehension was essential to the investigation, said he.

That woman turned out to be one of the millions of the sick and destitute whom the Kanchi Sankaracharya has given help and solace to. And Mr. Tulsi turned out to be a slanderous liar.

Then, from the gutter, came the bizarre procession of new accusations, trumpeted by sensational headlines. There were cases from two years ago, and twelve years ago and twenty years ago. All from a band of lawmen who have not been able to sniff out a trail that is two months old! The Accusers promised skeletons would fall out of the Kanchi Acharya’s closet. Instead, it is the Prosecution that is parading out the ghouls.

So far, all that has been proven is that the law-enforcers are themselves liars, capable of unthinkable violence and cruelty. Frankly, they seem more likely murderers than the man they accuse. One of their witnesses came to court with a broken hand; the other described how his teeth were broken to extract false testimony.

It turns out the chief investigator has a long and documented history of such inhuman abuse. He’s even been convicted by a court of law. He disdains that court’s verdict against him. It was passed, he says, by only one biased judge, (neglecting to mention the more than eighty eye-witnesses that judge relied on). But he is quite happy submitting Sankaracharya before that very same court. And a verdict denying bail to an elderly person who has served people selflessly his entire life, that judgment could not possibly be biased, oh never!

The charges that SP Prem Kumar tortured people, intimidated witnesses and filed false cases – he claims these are scurrilous allegations raked up by supporters of the Acharya who want to derail the law. Oddly enough, the human rights magazine reporting his past record had lifted not a finger to help the Acharya. Also, they published their article on SP Prem Kumar the month before the Acharya’s surprising arrested. But why should facts get in the way of a confirmed liar like Prem Kumar?

The Chief Minister outdid them all. Having publicly pronounced the Sankaracharya guilty of murder, she gave those expected to be called as witnesses against him Five hundred thousand in currency. No doubt, this is an act of generosity never to be questioned, whereas if Sankaracharya’s organization gives a penniless woman some 5 or 10,000 rupees as charity, it is a certain sign of something illicit!

The CM’s tampering is so egregious that it eclipses the allegations by two other accused that the identification line-up was tainted, as the police openly coached witnesses.

A week or so ago, columnist S.Gurumurthy asked who was going to do the funeral for this case. It turns out the secular guardians of law are not above beating a dead horse. I asked in my last article, who are these people to judge a jagatguru? Well, now we have our answer. They are the ones with the whip hand. That is all.

They can haul anyone in, any time, for questioning. Should a journalist poke holes in their case (it’s hard not to), out comes the whip: be prepared for a grilling. If supporters should enter the mutt, out comes the whip: be prepared to be searched. If witnesses relate facts that contravene their theories, out comes the whip: they are threatened with prosecutions.

What is their reaction to anyone whose testimony indicates the Acharya’s innocence? Out with the whip! Srirangam Usha destroys their theory of misconduct with truth and the very next day we hear the police plan to arrest her on a two-year old case they never bothered to book her for in the first place! Mythili Raghavan destroys the fanciful fabrications of another accuser; lo and behold, the police tell the press they will press charges against her!

Today, the sole source of the Law’s authority is the use of force. For the Law and its guardians have conceded moral authority. The rulers of our land , who claim the Acharya is too dangerous to be given bail, persuade the courts that tainted politicians should be allowed to write the law of the land. If the people protest that the process is corrupted, the answer returns that only the corrupt can ask for an investigation into their corruption.This is how the Home Minister responded to concerned Tamil Nadu legislators.

To the guardians of law, the truth is not even an afterthought; it is irrelevant. They have lost all credibility, and we can no longer believe them.

And so, in desperation, what do they do? The same tainted policemen fabricate yet another confession. Yes, another confession that is denied flatly by the witness. This disputed ‘confession’ cannot be evidence, but they deliberately leak <b>excerpts</b> to <b>selected members</b> of the press. They do not bother to authenticate this purported confession. They do not bother to elucidate the context or the circumstances; they do not even care to disclose the entire sum of it. Nothing they disclosed would ever be stilted toward their version of events: we are to take Prem Kumar and Tulsi’s word for it! In a trial by the media, the accusers do not have to face the accused.

Excuse me, but when the Acharya himself- who for the past fifty years has been a fount of wisdom and compassion for millions- says he hasn’t confessed, and prolific liars say he has, it’s isn’t tough to choose who to believe!

Every fundamental principle of Justice has been violated when it comes to the Sankaracharya. And the violators have been the people deputed to render Justice through the Law.

The first and foremost principle of justice is the presumption of innocence. This is not a mere technicality in the law. It is a fundamental principle that has existed in every civilized human society from Hammurabi’s Babylon to the United States of America. Near Kanchipuram, in Madurai, our own ancestors have a story that teaches this principle.

Yet, from the very beginning, the Public Prosecutor of Tamil Nadu labeled the accused a criminal. In the very interview in which he accused supporters of flouting the Law, Tulsi contravened this essential principle of Justice. He publicly passed his verdict on the Sankaracharya: guilty, even before the charges were drafted! In a few days’ time, it was the Chief Minister’s turn. Before the police had bothered to complete their enquiries, she publicly declared the Acharya a murderer.

Finally, the High Court justice himself, before hearing a single witness or considering a shred of evidence, even before any date has been set for trial, announced in his public decision the judgment that there was reasonable evidence of Sankaracharya’s guilt! Without ever considering the merits of the case, he jumped to this conclusion.

In the case of any person, justice demands that the burden of proof of guilt should lie with the accuser. In the case of someone who has dedicated his life to service and charity, how much greater that burden should be! Is it just to pronounce our Dharmacharya guilty before he is even charged?

The second principle of justice is that the accused be given every opportunity to defend himself against his accusers. This, the Supreme Court of the Land has said, is so important, that bail should be the rule, denial the exception, because it holds that granted bail, a presumably innocent person is far better able to prepare his defense.

But the Acharya’s bail hearings have each dragged on for weeks. Bail has been denied, first on the flimsy charge that he might escape; then on the judgment that he was guilty before the charges were framed.

To prepare his defense, the accused must be given adequate access to counsel. Yet, the Sankaracharya was not given benefit of counsel on multiple occasions: not at the time of his arrest in Chennai, not before his remand hearing, not before his first bail application, and not during his interrogation.

To prepare his defense, the accused must be disclosed all the evidence against him. To prepare his defense, the accused must be able to question witnesses freely. How can this occur when the police are harassing any witness who might support his case? How can this occur when the Law is tampering with witnesses by buying those who are to testify for them and bullying those who would testify in favor of the accused?

Our demand, Mr. Tulsi, is a simple one: Justice!

We demand out Dharmacharya be presumed innocent. Stop smearing him with your lies and manipulations!

We demand that our Dharmacharya be given every opportunity to prepare his defense. Consent to bail for him, and ensure he has adequate assistance of counsel.

We demand you stop intimidating supporters, coaching witnesses, and manufacturing “evidence”. Stop cracking your whip at us because your lies have unraveled.

Or is it, Mr. Tulsi, that for you, a saffron-clad sanyasi is beneath Justice.

Every evidence brought forward of the Acharya’s guilt has crumbled before the world’s eyes. But the Prosecution presses on with blind fervor. Enough is enough!

Upon Sankaracharya’s arrest a month ago, a Tamil magazine proclaimed “Justice has died there.” Justice is the reason the Law exists. When Justice itself has died, why should the Law remain?

This was the principle that Kannagi invoked, when Pandiyaraaj – a ruler extolled for his fairness, executed her husband on false charges. The reputed Raaj that committed that one injustice burst into flames. This is a different era, in which ill-doers seem to flourish.

But there is a flame burning in the hearts of millions who watch this injustice continue. It is not the angry flame that burned down Madurai. It is a quiet, white-hot flame that burns away all impurity. <b>This</b> Raaj ignores it at its own peril.
Beautiful summing up of the mistrial taking place.

Justice is the thing we want for this Hindu savant
Few editing errors corrected. - Admin
Article has now been promoted to India-Forum main page..
It is heartening to see the response to Satya's article on the main page. <!--emo&:rocker--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/rocker.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='rocker.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Should we approach rediff/pioneer to get this article published in order to get a wider audience ?
Editorial changes have been made to the article on the front page..

IN particular the following has been added towards the end of the article..

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Author's Message: Many have expressed a sense of helplessness about what to *do* in the face of this injustice. Here are some suggestions:

1. Talk about the issues raised here with people at your work, school and neighborhood.

2. Circulate this article at your work or school - post on your message board, or on your website. Forward it to all your friends.

3. Email, fax or print out and post this article to the Chief Justice of India.

You may want to add your own comments. Be polite and to the point

Sample comments : “For the reasons given in the attached article, which I endorse, I believe justice is not being done to the Sankaracharya. I request he be granted bail so he can adequately prepare his defense. Because the Tamil Nadu government is prosecuting this case in a biased manner, I further request that his case be transferred to another state, so that justice can be done.”

Sign your name.

Justice Ramesh Chandra Lahoti
Chief Justice of India
Supreme Court of India
New Delhi 110001
Fax: +91-11-23383792/23381508


4. Go to http://www.indiacause.com/newsletters/nL_041208.htm and follow the links to send a letter to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

5. Above all, remember Acharya before any action you take, especially those on his behalf. To act in a manner contrary to the sanity he has taught us by example would be guru-droham.

Jai Gurudev! <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Tamil translation of this article follows. The translation is in JPG format.

<img src='http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v130/indiaforum/simpledmandtamil.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
Tamil translation of this article has now been posted on the front page..

A Simple Demand For Justice (Tamil)
The JPG format is not clear...many sentences i cannot read...

Rajesh, if you can make a PDF file and upload it it will be better.

Can somebody please download the JPG file below and put it in PDF file ? Upload the PDF file here itself. I will put the PDF file on main page..

<img src='http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v130/indiaforum/simpledemandtamilrevised.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

Thanks much..
I tried with the only tool i have (openoffice) and it just doesnt come up right.. Would appreciate some help.. <!--emo&:guitar--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/guitar.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='guitar.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Guys is this better ? Need some feedback ?
<!--QuoteBegin-rajesh_g+Dec 14 2004, 09:42 AM-->QUOTE(rajesh_g @ Dec 14 2004, 09:42 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> It is heartening to see the response to Satya's article on the main page.  <!--emo&:rocker--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/rocker.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='rocker.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
We need the discussion on the article here in the forum.

Can that be done by a more visible link to the forum
PDF version has been linked on the front page..

Please let us know if the font size is appropriate both while viewing as well as printing.
This article was also published on hvk.org

A Simple Demand For Justice
This article has now been published on Sulekha..

On the day I ready about the arrest of Shri Shankaracharya I was horrified. Mrs. Jaylalita, one of the devotee of the Acharya should order the arrest of him was something I could not digest. Mrs. Jayalalita is known for her moods. However, I could not digest this decision even in her worst of moods. I hoped for withdrawal of her orders or immediate bail to the Acharya. I believed that Vishwa Hindu Parishad, PJP leadership, Siva Sena, RSS and so many Hindu Organizations will come together to protest. But God!, nothing happened. Shiva Sena which would agitate even against Cricket and dig up pitches was silent. PJB leadership only gave lip service and their pasts ended within 3 days. VHP cooled down. Others just did not respond. I was wondering how a person who has taken Sanyas, and spent his 3/4th of life in the service of humanity could be treated as Criminal before proof!? Courts also kept on postponing the bail decision - now almost 2 months. I expected courts to flood with public interest litigation, on different aspect of the case. I expected Hindu organizations to flood representations to the President, Central Government and State Government! Nothing happened. Nothing is happening is either!! I am surprised at the spinelessness of Hindus, their mindlessness and thoughtlessness!! I wonder how their pride could not remain hurt!?
Mobile Phones are found with known criminals in Jails and known criminals are left to be free on one pretext or another! This is the administration whose argument is believed and relied upon to postpone and delay bail to Shri Shankaracharya! This possibility itself worries me to say the least about the System!? How, the system can be used to humble and bring on knees the innocents!? Why is it that when it comes to Hindus only we seem to be so intelligent, straight and uncompromising to the fault??? Why this firmness, illogical at that, is not shown towards other communities?! How far low a political leadership can come down is something which can not be digested!!??
Now that the New Year has dawned I believe and hope and pray that better sense will prevail upon all and Shri Shankaracharya will be out of jails.

VASANT KAMAT, 01.01.2005. 9.10 PM

<span style='color:red'>CHANGE your USERID- NO NUMBERS ALLOWED. ADMINISTRATOR.</span>

Since my last post I have followed-up with news items on Shri Acharya's case in court. He has been given bail in Radhakrishnan case which is a first legal victory to legal team in this case. Immediately, the TN Government has appealed in Supreme Court to cancel this bail. Thanks to Supreme Court that they declined to mix up the cases. They have said they will deal both the cases separately. Shankarraman's case Supreme Court is hearing today. I waited for news on TV channels till now. Nothing is coming out. It is 3.45 PM. However, I am sure as in Radhakrishnan Case where he got bail, in this case Supreme Court will grant bail to Shri Shankaracharya and he will be free on bail. The intensity with which Tamil Nadu Government is persuing the case, bringing new cases to the court and challenging it, it is now clear that Tamil Nadu Government is making all its efforts to ensure that Shri Shankaracharya is not released from the jails - even after almost 2 months of his arrest. This is an indicator that once a strong devotee the CM is involved in this case and has some unknown issue which is not yet revealed and the case has Political Overtones. However, I strongly believe, Supreme Court will not be influenced by this and it is only time before Seer is out of jails. Seer deserves this outcome and Indians will not be subjected to any more pains of his confinement.

4.45 PM 6.01.2005
Any news?

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