They Were Innocent…

(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)

At last, the Andhra Pradesh government has admitted that 21 Muslim youth were wrongly detained and tortured for the blast investigates at Mecca Masjid, Gokul Chat shop and Lumbini Park in Hyderabad in May and August 2007.

The government admitted this only after the State Minorities Commission released a report in this regard

As per news papers, on 18 May, 2007, 14 persons were killed and over 50 others injured in a bomb explosion in the historic Mecca Masjid and in the subsequent police firings in the nearby areas in Hyderabad. Nine persons lost their lives in the bomb blast and other five were killed in Police firing. (Related News {Opens in a new window})

On August 25, 2007, 42 persons were killed and about 50 injured in two powerful near-simultaneous blasts at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat shop in Hyderabad. (Related News {Opens in a new window})

The Police acted in its well-known style and took many Muslims into custody.

Ms. Nirmala Deshpande, Member of Parliament, and Ms. Nandita Rao, advocate in New Delhi had made complaints in this regard to the National Commission for Minorities. They submitted detailed reports filed by the Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee and by a fact-finding commission set up the AP State Minorities Commission (Read a report by {Opens in a new window}) after which the Commission sent its four-member team to Hyderabad on 4-5 February, 2008.

Many allegations were made against the Police. For example: –

– disregarding established procedures, the police fired indiscriminately into the crowd fleeing the Mecca Masjid after the blasts which resulted in the death of at least six persons

– after the twin blasts on August 25, 2007, the police picked up Muslim youth randomly as suspects. In one instance, a group of young men was apprehended in a grave-yard watching CDs of Jehadi propaganda on a television set with a proper electricity connection!

– the suspects were not allowed to inform relatives of their arrest

– the suspects were bundled into cars without number-plates, blindfolded and illegally detained in farm houses and private lodges for several days where they were subjected to physical and mental torture. They were stripped naked, severely beaten, administered electric shocks on various parts of their body, including the genitals, and deprived of food and water. The police used abusive language about their women folk and their faith and forced them to hail Hindu deities.

– No lawyer was present during interrogation of the suspects.

– Detainees were not produced before a magistrate for remand within 24 hours of their detention. Instead, the time of arrest was shown as later than it actually took place merely to comply with the requirement of remand within 24 hours of arrest.

– The suspects were produced before a magistrate after court hours at his residence. The magistrates never asked them if they had been tortured despite tell-tale marks of recent injuries.

– Some of the suspects had to undergo narco tests whose results have little evidentiary value but which resulted in physical and psychological damage to them. Incidentally, the AP High Court has banned narco tests.

According to the report of National Commission for Minorities’ team: –

First, the police have yet to identify the perpetrators of the three bomb blasts in Hyderabad in 2007. Second, the Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad City, has himself admitted in a letter addressed to the AP State Minorities Commission that during the process of the examination of suspects, the police were unable to gather evidence establishing their complicity in the blasts. The Commissioner did add that the suspects were found to be involved in certain criminal acts and that they were also part of a Jehadi network in Hyderabad.

However, even in this latter comment the Police Commissioner had made no mention of the ISI. On further questioning the police officials agreed to delete this reference. A similar undertaking was given by the Charlapalli jail authorities and Minister Md. Ali Shabbir.

The report recommends:

In view of the seriousness of the allegations against the police, and the less-than satisfactory responses given by them, the NCM team urges the union government to direct the CBI to enquire into all the three incidents of bomb blasts in the city in 2007. As of now, only the Mecca Masjid blast case is being investigated by the CBI.

Now, when those, who were arrested by the Police, are proved innocent, the Andra Pradesh government has announced a compensation worth of Rs 30,000 to each of those youth. This compensation will be paid in the form of an auto-rickshaw.

These Muslims are victimized by the Police, a government department. These Muslim youth along with their families underwent a great physical as well as mental torture. A compensation of Rs 30,000 (and that too will not be given in cash) for all this pain they suffered is but a joke. The government must publicly apologize to these Muslims and immediately give at least Rs 10, 00,000 in cash as compensation. This is the least this government can do for all those who have suffered in the hands of the police. Giving back their lost dignity is another point which needs our attention.

And, this will not be enough. Police officers responsible for these misdeeds should be prosecuted for religious discrimination and physical as well as mental torture.

Only an accountable and independent police force can fight against terror. Otherwise, the police force in present shape is incapable. Under pressure to produce results, it arrests and tortures innocent citizens. This is absolutely unacceptable in a democratic country.

Honesty and trustworthiness of the Police has taken a severe beating. Everything done by police will be suspected by an average citizen and it will open up scope for even real terrorists to get benefit of doubt.

1 thought on “They Were Innocent…

  1. Deepak Nagpal

    This is indeed an unhuman incident, the role of police is also objectional but, don’t you think, almost the same of these types of stories we can hear around the world, we have to understand that the POWER has no sentiments, no religion.
    Yes this happend due to some POWERFUL policemen of other religion but in many places this is happening by the CO-RELIGION policmen also. Actually brother we all should be unite to fight with these real vilians of our society.
    You made wonderful attempt to write on this subject, I heartly appreciate your point of view and courage. Today we need more these types of comments from our RELIGIOUS LEADERS.
    Regards & Best Wishes..
    Deepak Nagpal

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