Around 1981, at the peak of Punjab terrorism, a story was making the rounds in police and security circles about how Punjab Police was passing off even normal day to day crime as a terror incident to reduce the crime rate of the state and avoid the hard and strenuous task of investigation.
Though the story was never proven, it was believed by many including newspaper columnist Mark Tully, the correspondent of BBC in India, who mentioned about it in his book “Amritsar”.
Even many Police officers were rumoured to be taking bribes to convert a land dispute murder into a terror incident and save the murderer from suspicion and investigation. The professional criminals; kidnappers, murderers, robbers or thieves were aware of this ‘Facility’ and many used it quite often.
A similar ‘Facility’ is available to the professional killer today, in selected states. Some ‘left-liberals’ who are assorted activists and journalists are providing this facility.
The professional killers have become aware that in majority of their hits, the investigative agencies are simply not bothered about catching the perpetrators, because either the politicians or the media or activists of certain ideology take it upon themselves to investigate the murder, identify the religion or ideology of the killers, their motives, their sponsors and declare the same to public at large.
The investigation team has only one remaining task to complete; to find a suitable individual fitting to the profile, manage some witnesses, gather some evidence that can hold till the media moves on the next case; an easy task given the shorter attention span of the public and pace at which cases move in the courts.
And this awareness is leading to an understanding, among the thinkers and intellectuals of this trade; that professional assassination as a business is becoming less risk prone in India.
A criminal lawyer who handles cases of some underworld shooters also confirms this. “When a shooter knows that he would not be suspected in almost 60% of his hits, because some ‘groups’ would blame each other for the murder even before the blood oozing from the gunshots has dried, he works with renewed confidence, taking even dangerous contracts.”
He adds, “Some specific communities, some specific castes, foreign funded activists, Missionary funded NGOs, abusive activists, anarchists on rent, homosexuals, free speech liberals and feminists etc., are some of the categories that are considered easy jobs. Because if they are targets of a hit, the cacophonous ecosystem and the media might normally blame the right-wing ideology for creating a ‘threatening environment’ even if the shooter left an affidavit confessing to the crime, attested by an Oath Commissioner, along with copy of his Adhaar card for identification.”
Of course, it means that the asking price for the ‘risk free’ hits has also come down as customers are aware of lower risks involved. But basic economic principles ensure that due to reduced prices, market is seeing an expansion, pushing the demand upwards. This market expansion is leading to more job creation and many with inadequate skills are landing jobs, even those who cannot identify the business end of a 7.65mm, are getting opportunities to learn the craft and make a career.
Experts compare this phenomenon to what happened to media business in late 90s when anyone who was hanging around the corner paan-beedi shop, who was on talking terms with local street thugs and who could get access to the local politicians, was drafted as a news reporter for the television channels, even if they stuttered when asked to speak their names.
Another lawyer with the similar profile of clients took the same line of argument. “It is the path of least resistance hence everyone follows it. The police is saved from detailed investigation and public fury, the ruling politicians are very happy that no one is accusing them of neglecting the collapsing law and order, the activists are also happy that they can network better at the candle light protests and the killers are happy that they have been let off the hook, of course. It is something like Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas.”
However, a criminologist working with a state government provided a far deeper insight into the whole issue.
“I cannot confirm but I have heard rumors of cooperation between professional hit-men and column writers. Even if the rumors are untrue and such meeting of minds has not happened so far, it is bound to happen, as it is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The reasoning is simple – once the killer has understood that the easiest way to escape from focus of investigators is to ensure that the murder gets politicised and the blame is assigned to a particular ideology. How much mental stretch is it to arrive at the conclusion to hire a professional writer to write an article sowing the doubts, leaving enough indications or in some cases, even making clear declarations blaming one particular set of people? If I was in the hitman’s position I would be definitely having a few authors on my payroll.”
A retired hit-man, though reminisced about the good old days. “The excitement of the kill, the fear of being spotted, the scare of being tripped while escaping, the lingering doubt of having left some evidence; a thumb impression, a shoe mark, a torn cloth scrap, is all gone. Today’s kids have it easy, no risk of capture, no adrenaline pumping threat of Police knocking your door. They just go, shoot the target and saunter back, as if they have delivered a pizza! Now running a kirana shop offers more excitement than professional killing, because these premeditated blame campaigns have taken the charm out of being a professional killer.”
Happy days are here again for the professional killer community, courtesy of the left-liberal attempts to create an atmosphere of calumny.
(Note: This article is a work of fiction, and the ‘reporter’ is honest enough to disclose this aspect; even though this could have been presented as a genuine report, as suggested by a great historian, being a legitimate response to the left-liberal tradition of narrative push.)