Fearless voice of truth

Hindustan Times, 31-Oct-05
Pratik Ghosh

October 30, 2005


Sampa Sen in a scene at Kashmir.
Sampa Sen in a scene at Kashmir.


Fearless voice of truth

Pratik Ghosh


Truth, almost always stranger than fiction, is steeped in muck. Muckrakers take it upon themselves to unearth the truth. Even at the cost of their lives. Sangram Guha. a proponent of docu-theatre (a stage version of investigative journalism), is part of a vanishing breed. Istishadi, The Suicide Squad, a play written and directed by him, mirrors the urge to revive a case long pronounced 'dead' in the military and political circles. A Spandan production, the play will be premiered on Monday at Rabindra Sadan, in the presence of former Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat.
Istishadi is based on a series of real-life incidents strung together by a conspiracy, it dates back to 1998 when the Research and Analytical Wing (Raw) of Government of India stumbled upon a drug and arms route between Myantnar and Kashmir. "When the Army and the Navy launched a joint operation titled Operation Leach II to flush out the criminals, the defence ministry asked them to withdraw. Five such operations were conducted nevertheless. In all the cases, the Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists who had wanted to surrender were killed, allegedly at the behest of the defence ministry;" reveals Guha. Farah Anwar, a young girl — a part of the last group that surrendered — managed to escape on May 13,2000. When a Subedar fired at his fellowmen to stop such illegal encounters.

The events took a new turn when the intelligence department traced a call from Md Atta, one of the masterminds of the September 11 attack, to Anwar who had found refuge in the home of Prof M K Hassan, a teacher at the Delhi University. Atta had allegedly called up Anwar a day before the attack on the twin towers. "By the time the intelligence group reached Hassan's home, he was dead and Anwar missing. She could not be traced. Dona Bedi, a Delhi High Court lawyer, gathered evidence of foul play and filed a case. She, too, was jailed and found dead under mysterious circumstances in Tihar Jail. The Subedar is in a mental asylum at Ranchi now," says Guha who travelled across the country for four years to find the missing links. He found support in Bhagwat and M S Padmanabhan, who was home secretary in 1998 and several other sources. Former journalist Mark Tully, writer of Contemporary India's Vision, helped him, too.

The cast includes Sampa Sen, Samudra Guha, Ashok Banerjee, Shankar Prasad Banerjee. Shyamotpal Chanda and Sushmita Halder.


 
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