An Event, A Drama : Some Vital Questions

Anandabazar Patrika, Editorial Article, 24-Feb-05
Tapas Sinha

February 24, 2005

Sampa Sen in 16 Millimeter.
Sampa Sen in 16 Millimeter.

Editorial Article

An Event, A Drama : Some Vital Questions

Tapas Sinha

The first phone came exactly at 9 p.m. on February 13th. After that three more times till 10-15 p.m. The voice was heavily accented with a mixture of Urdu and Gurmukhi. The duration of each of the call was from one and half minutes to two minutes. On the first occasion only one obscene word was used during the whole conversation. But, it was not that the words were coming out of terrific anger. As if a statement was being read out. On the next day, i.e., February 14th, again the phone came at 9 in the morning. The voices of all the calls were completely different.

Every time the voice on the other side did not respond when asked “Who are you? Where are you calling from?” both in Hindi and English. As if they could not hear him. As if they were told just to read out something.Among these five occasions the name of Syed Abdur Rehman Gillani was mentioned on two occasions.
If the matter seems mysterious to you, then it can be called just the beginning of this mysterious drama. Where it ends, nobody knows. On December 13, 2001, the Parliament was attacked by a group of terrorists. Why did an unidentified group of people call up and try to tell something to the playwright of the drama that was written on basis of the incident and staged for the first time on January 31, 2004? Why was there a trace of threat found hidden in all those calls?
Why did the Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya himself have to take initiative to ensure the security for him?

A Journalist by profession and a member of CPI (M), Sangram Guha in his drama “16 Millimeter” had pointed towards many mysterious happenings when the attack on the Parliament was launched. He had questioned the investigation conducted by the police, too. The drama was written in December 2003. Except two, all the characters of this drama are real. And so are the information used in this drama. The character which keeps coming back every now and then in “16 Millimeter” is of Syed Gillani, the lecturer of the Jakir Hussain College of Delhi and who was arrested by the police for his alleged involvement in the Parliament attack case. The person who was kept confined in the jail for 11 months and afterwards was declared innocent by the Supreme Court.

In Guha's drama it has not been mentioned though whether Gillani was guilty or not. He wanted to highlight two absolutely different issues in the drama. Those two issues have come in the drama after analyzing the characteristics of the incidents. The first one is that 16 Millimeter. The second one is the mysterious death of Manohar Thakur.

Lawyer Soumi Pancholi, one of the major characters of Guha's drama, tells that it has been noticed from the photographs taken by the in-house surveillance camera at the Parliament Bhawan , two of the terrorists Mohammad Tariq and Raza were continuously trying to call up someone from their mobile phones during the exchange of firings. They had called up that number altogether 48 times before being gunned down. And the name written against that particular number was 16 Millimeter.

Another character of the drama, fake CBI officer Rajinder informs through his dialogues that mobile works as per “logarithmic logic”. And after analyzing the same is found that the number belongs to Mohammad Syed Tanvi, another leader of Jaish-E-Mohammad. (According to Rajinder's explanation, MM means Two M, i.e., T.M. 16 means 1 and 6, i.e., 7. If S is taken out from seven, then a little in order makes it M.S.T. which is the initials of Mohammad Syed Tanvi). 16 MM is not mere millimeter here. This reference is taken completely from the drama.

Then what is the reality? On 17 December 2001 Delhi Police declares in a Press Conference that 48 times the call was made to that number. Police did not state though to whom the calls had been made. Again after a few days on December 29, Delhi Police states in another Press Conference that those two terrorists definitely tried to call up a certain number. But no one knows whom this number actually belonged to. An investigation was in progress.

Now the mysterious death of Manohar Thakur, Manohar Thakur , the owner of the shop from where Syed Gillani's mobile was purchased, was hit by a truck. On December 18, Manohar expired after a few days. Nandita Haskar, the law year for Gillani, complained that somebody is behind the mishap.This is a conspiracy against Gillani. Because Gillani bought the mobile on December 4th, 2004. Police finds the particular number from the sim card of Raza and Mohammad Tariq. Gillani was arrested on December 15. In the charge-sheet submitted by the police, the complain number 36E states that Gillani was coordinating with the terrorists since early November. Nandita Haskar asks the court how can one liaison with the terrorists when the mobile was bought in December? The registration paper for Gillani's phone was with Manohar Thakur. He was coming to the court to stand as a witness keeping the registration paper in the bag. Nandita complained that the papers went missing from Manohar's bag right after the accident. Although after long time the copies of the registration papers of Gillani's mobile could be acquired from the respective mobile company. That document played a major role in proving Gillani's innocence to the court.

All these are real. So was the intense curiosity revolving “16 millimeter” after it was staged on 8th and 9th January 2005 in New Delhi. Gillani was shot while entering the house of Nandia Haskar on February 8th 2005 , exactly one month after the drama was performed in the National Theater Festival organized by the “National School of Drama”, New Delhi. Although he survived the attack but this attack had given birth to many questions. Supreme Court has asked for the report from Delhi Police in this regard. Gillani's close associates have complained against the role of Delhi Police in this case.

Although, in Guha's drama nothing has been said about the attack, still questions were raised about the drama from various sources of Delhi. And only for that reason the question was raised whether Guha has committed a crime by staging a real life drama. Has he hit someone's interest by pointing towards various uncomfortable issues relating the Parliament attack? Will Delhi Police investigate on these sides, too?

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