To Kill a Mockingbird – Murder of Tulsiram Prajapati

Mother of Tulsiram Prajapati
Mother of Tulsiram Prajapati

Tulsi was destined to die like Tom Robinson, the innocent black accused in the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird†penned by Harper Lee over fifty years back. Tom was the victim of the deeply racially divided society of southern America of 1960’s where prejudices against the black substituted for credible evidence to convict a black irrespective of innocence. Tom was accused of raping a white girl and despite the existence of positive evidence that the girl had lied, the white jury held him guilty. It was a time when even an alleged misdemeanor on the part of a black man against a white woman was sufficient for a lynch crowd to bay for his blood. Realizing that he would never get justice, Tom tried to flee but was shot dead!

Tulsi was also another mocking bird in the context of his murder. When the Rajasthan police was looking for Sohrabuddin in the mid-2005, the CBI charge-sheet now discloses that the SP of Valsad, Gujarat had traced out Tulsi in Bhilwada. Tulsi was coaxed to reveal the location of Sohrabuddin to Gujarat Police on the assurance that neither Sohrabuddin nor Tulsi would be hurt. It appears from the charge-sheet that Tulsi was the third person travelling with Sohrabuddin and Kauserbi from Hyderabad to Sangli on 22/23rd November, 2005.  Tulsi apparently divulged this location to the Gujarat Police.

Sohrabuddin and Kauserbi were abducted by the Gujarat Police on the way (Murder most foul…) and Tulsi was sent back to Bhilwada from where he was arrested on 27th November, 2005 in connection with another case in Rajasthan. That was when Tulsi realized that he had fallen into the trap specially when he came to know that Sohrabuddin and Kauserbi were both killed in Ahmedabad in the last week of November. Tulsi realized that as Kauserbi was killed for being a witness to the abduction, he being the only remaining witness would meet the same fate.

Tulsi voiced his fears to many including some of the under trials and even to his own lawyer. He even wrote a long letter to the Chairman of National Human Rights Commission on 13.6.2006. He prayed for the safety of his life as he apprehended that he would be killed while he was taken out to the court to attend the court cases pending against him. Tulsi was being prophetic.

Tulsi and another person called Azam were co-accused in a case at Ahmedabad and he was most afraid of attending the hearings at Ahmedabad. On 28th November, 2005 when they came to Ahmedabad, Tulsi and Azam made a lot of noise before the Judge expressing their fear that they would be killed during he journey back to Udaipur. The Judge apparently directed the police to assure their safety. The next hearing was fixed on 12th December 2005. On 12th December, Azam’s wife and mother came along with Azam and Tulsi and the hearing was conducted through video conferencing with the Judge. The next hearing was fixed on 26th December.

On 25th December, 2006, just before Azam and Tulsi were to leave for Ahmedabad, Azam was taken away by Rajasthan police purportedly in connection with some old matter pending with the Amba Mata police station. Tulsi was thus separated from Azam. Tulsi hugged Azam and told him that that they may not meet again. Rajasthan Police brought Tulsi to Ahmedabad by train  on 26th December and allegedly boarded the night train to Udaipur from Ahmedabad station.

On 28th early morning Tulsi was shot dead by the Gujarat Police near the Gujarat-Rajasthan border highway near village called Chhapri. The charge-sheet of CBI reveals that Tulsi was abducted from Ahmedabad itself and under the direction of Vanzara and SP Vipul Aggarwal, IPS, was “encountered†at the border road to eliminate the last eye-witness of the Sohrabuddin case.

Tulsi being a Hindu could not be passed off as a Jehadi terrorist but the communally polarised state of Gujarat had no sympathy for him as he was an acquaintance of Sohrabuddin. His death would have never been investigated if it wasn’t for his old mother Narmadabai. She knocked the doors of the Supreme Court which appointed CBI to investigate the case. Twenty policemen including the Minister of State for Home Amit Shah have been charge-sheeted in this case.

Will the mother finally get justice?

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Neelima Alam
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The face of Gujarat we all probably know but try to ignore…

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