Stop harassment of innocent Muslim youths: Muslim leaders to Govt.

By Abu Zafar,,

New Delhi: Coming out bold and united perhaps first time on the issue, top Muslim leaders on Saturday asked the governments, police and intelligence agencies to stop harassment, illegal detention and torture of innocent Muslim youths in the name of fighting terrorism. They also demanded prosecution and punishment of all police and intelligence officials who have been involved in falsely implicating Muslim youths in terror cases.

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The community leaders passed unanimous resolution on the aforesaid demands and other related issues at the National Convention on Muslim Youth Protection on 31st March 2012 at Mavalankar Hall, New Delhi. The convention was inaugurated by Justice Rajendar Sachar.

The convention was attended by eminent dignitaries from different walks of life, including legal experts and human rights activists and representatives from organizations and institutions of minorities. The convention was organised by All India Milli Council and supported by all major Muslim organisations including All India Muslim Majlis Mushawarat, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind, Welfare Party of India, Coordination Committee for Indian Muslims and Markazi Jamiat Ulema.

At the convention were discussed various related issues like draconian law such UAPA, ban on SIMI and compensation to the youths acquitted of terror charges.

Terming UAPA a blot bigger than TADA and POTA on the country’s reputation, Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, General Secretary, All India Milli Council, demanded its repeal.

Addressing the convention, former MP and diplomat Syed Shahabuddin stressed on a structure to fight against such atrocities. “We need an all-India set-up to fight against such kind of atrocities,” he said and demanded compensation for victims. “We will have to demand ransom not only compensation for those youths who have been acquitted from the court of law.” Defending against state atrocities is a question of humanity not for Muslim only, he added.

Maulana Kalbe Sadique, Vice President, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, said: “The government must know that Allah never forgives oppression and cruelty and doesn’t like the oppressors.” He appealed to Indian Muslims to get united on the name of oneness of God.

Mohammad Amir Khan, the person who was recently acquitted after 14 years in jail in various terror cases, moved the audience when he narrated his heart-rending story.

“It is good sign that the people are discussing on this topic now, but when I was arrested 14 years ago then no one was ready to listen to anything. Everyone had boycotted me and my family,” he said.

Amir strongly condemned the lethargic attitude of Muslim leaders and organizations on the issue. “After my arrest my late father had visited several Muslim leaders but nobody helped us. My father has died 10 years ago and I couldn’t see his face last time,” he said.

Narrating his sad tale, Amir said: “I was kidnapped and the cases, more than my age in number, were fabricated against me. They made me naked, poured petrol in my private parts, gave electric shocks, removed my nails and did a lot more shameful and painful acts which I can’t narrate here.”

“Why our Muslim organizations didn’t fulfill their duty? Why they believed police versions and media reports? If it is hard to reach me then they could have reached to my parents. This is not only my question but it is question of hundreds of people who have been falsely implicated in such cases and still living behind bars. There are people in jail who even can’t afford a soap of Rs 10. Nobody is here to look after their family,” Amir said.

He also lambasted Muslim groups for not coming up to offer any financial help to such victims.

“We are demanding compensation from the government. It is okay but the question is, what is our duty? Why arent’Muslim organizations constituting a cell to compensate those people who are suffering?”

He announced he is going to write a book on his life.

Dr. SQR Ilyas, General Secretary, Welfare Party of India, raised the issue of ban on SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) and said if the community had stood then against the ban in 2001, the situation would not have reached to such state.

“We are facing state terrorism. The government has initiated a war against its own people. This style has been started after 9/11 when the SIMI was banned by the NDA government. The ban is still continuing. When the SIMI was first time banned then Muslim organizations were silent. The practice of false implication of Muslim youths will continue until the ban on SIMI is lifted. The government must lift ban from SIMI immediately,” demanded Ilyas.

E M Abdur Rahman, chairman Popular Front of India echoed Ilyas and said: “I am happy with this convention but it is too late. It should have been organized 11 years ago when the SIMI was banned. If it had happened then, we would not have had need of this convention now.”

1. This national convention condemns systematic campaign aimed at demoralizing Muslim youth and others. This national convention resolves to ensure protection of Muslim youth and those belonging to other minorities and weaker sections as a whole—socially, morally, economically, legally etc as enshrined in the Constitution of India.
2. All unjust and undemocratic laws impinging upon right to life, liberty, expression and association must be repealed forthwith. Laws on sedition must be repealed immediately.
3. Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) is a black law. Its presence in the statute book is blot on the country- bigger than TADA and POTA. Its draconian provisions and their abuse against Muslims, Tribals and other weaker sections of society has attained menacing proportions. UAPA must be repealed immediately.
The Convention calls upon the government to withdraw Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Bill, 2011, immediately, as the first step.
The Convention emphasizes that all anti-terror and other drastic legislations should only be emergency legislations and should not be put on the statute books permanently. They must be subjected to periodic review.
4. The continuous ban on the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) since 2001 is unjustified, illegal and unconstitutional. Similarly, the declaration of SIMI as “terrorist organization” is also without basis. The ban on SIMI must be lifted immediately and its name should be removed from the schedule of “terrorist organisations” of the UAPA. SIMI must be allowed to function within the constitutional and democratic framework of the country.
5. Harassment, illegal detention and torture of innocent Muslim youth and those belonging to other communities in the name of fighting terrorism must be stopped. All police and intelligence officials involved in foisting false cases must be prosecuted and punished expeditiously.
6. Intelligence agencies must have a statutory act ensuring parliamentary control and accountability including audit control by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). Further, no intelligence agency, including proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), should be given powers to arrest.
7. All pending cases involving alleged terrorist offences must be subjected to a comprehensive review by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court. The commission should also include cases of harassment, illegal detention and false implication.
8. Prosecution of all cases under now-defunct TADA and POTA must be closed.
9. All pending cases involving alleged terrorist offences must be expeditiously disposed of by ordering their hearing on day-to-day basis.
10. Compensation should be awarded mandatorily to all persons acquitted of terrorist offences.
11. A comprehensive law providing for reparation for victims and punishment for wrongful prosecutions must be enacted.
This convention decides to launch a campaign named “Movement for Justice” for taking forward the above demands and to secure justice, social, political and economic, for all.

(Photos by Abu Zafar for TCN)