Rehabilitation efforts for youths acquitted of terror charges in Hyderabad

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi,,

New Delhi: The government may deny though, the war on terror in India has been largely directed towards the Muslim community, a reflection of global phenomenon. While scores of the community youths picked up in terror cases have been acquitted by the courts, the response of the community first toward extending help to those innocents fight their legal cases and then to rehabilitate them after their acquittal was pathetic. However, there have been some outstanding efforts in Hyderabad, one of the most terror affected Muslim dominated cities in the country.

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Shujaullah Khan, law graduate and human rights activist attached to Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen, and Rafat Seema, General Secretary, Nisa Research and Resource Centre, talk to Mumtaz Alam Falahi of and give details about their efforts for legal support and then rehabilitation of affected Muslim youths and families.

Shujaullah Khan:

When 17 youths were picked from Hyderabad and Nalgonda in connection with Gujarat Home Minister Haren Pandya’s murder case and some other terror cases and slapped with charges under POTA, Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi, then head of MIM, decided to extend legal help to them. After Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi, on the instruction of Asaduddin Owaisi, present MIM president and Lok Sabha MP from Hyderabad, I was deputed to look after their matter and appoint advocates.

Shujaullah Khan

They were 17. Five of them were from well off families and so they tackled their case on their own. For the remaining youth MIM extended legal and monetary support to pursue their case in Gujarat, and offered financial assistance to their families whose lone bread earners were put behind bars.

Several youths were picked up in terror blasts cases in Hyderabad including Makkah Masjid blast. 18 of them have been acquitted of all charges. MIM has extended support to them to rehabilitate them. We have offered them easy loans so that they could stand on their feet.

Rafat Seema:

The group has worked for rehabilitation of some of the Muslim youths picked up as suspected terrorists but no charges were proved against them and they were acquitted by the court.

Seema Rafat

We met the families of the youths who were arrested in terror cases and found that though their men were picked but the women folk were the most affected. The families had to withdraw their children from school as their bread earners were put behind bars.

We extended legal support to their men who were picked in terror cases. We also provided relief and ration to the affected families.

Moreover, when the youths were acquitted by the court, we extended support to those acquitted so that they could stand on their feet.

Our group was able to put two youths on their feet. One was Rais. He knew electric work so we helped him open an electric items shop. Another youth was Zaheen. We helped him open a ration shop. Moreover, we helped them find bride as they were fully restored socially and financially. Our purpose was that they could live in the society with dignity and their women are not forced to beg.

I am not satisfied with the response of the community towards rehabilitation of such innocent youth who were acquitted by court. The community should have done more.