By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, TwoCircles.net,
New Delhi: The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) was on Monday approached over the illegal detention of two Kashmiri students of Jamiatul Falah reportedly by Uttar Pradesh ATS. The boys on way to Delhi were picked from Kaifiyat Express in the early morning on 24th May at Aligarh Railway Station.
The NCM has been urged to immediately issue notice and seek a factual report from the Uttar Pradesh Government on this issue and must order an inquiry into the incident forthwith to ascertain the truth behind these illegal arrests/detentions.
The petition has been filed by Shehzad Poonawalla, a law student at Indian Law Institute, Delhi.
Two young Kashmiri students of Jamiatul Falah, a reputed Madrasa in Azamgarh, were picked up reportedly by Uttar Pradesh ATS from Kaifiyat Express on Thursday morning (24th May) at Aligarh Railway Station under the pretext of being suspected for “anti-national activities”. The two students Sajjad Ahmed Bhatt and Wasim Ahmed Bhatt are cousins and hail from Sopore in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir. Sajjad was first year student of Arabic course while Wasim was in the second year.
More than 96 hours i.e. 4 days have elapsed but the Uttar Pradesh ATS has still not produced the two students in question before a Court nor have they informed any family/friend/ guardian or the Jamiatul Falah Madrasa of the arrest/detention of the students nor have they prepared the necessary Arrest Memorandum which details the circumstances of the arrest.
“This is in gross violation of the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) which requires a) arrest memorandum to be prepared immediately by the Police on arrest to be countersigned by the accused, b) an accused to be presented before a magistrate within 24 hours of arrest and c) the relatives of the accused to be informed of the arrest. Further, this amounts to the violation of the Constitutional Right to Life guaranteed under Article 21 as the said action of the UP ATS is an arbitrary assault on the life and liberty of the students of the said students. Further, it also violates the protection against arbitrary arrest and detention afforded to the said students under Article 22 of the Indian Constitution. Finally and most glaringly, the action of the UP ATS is violative of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees Right to Equality before the law. But clearly, in this case, the fact that the students belong to the minority community and hail from the state of Jammu and Kashmir, has led to an excessively harsh treatment being meted out to them,” wrote the petitioner Shehzad Poonawalla in his petition.
“While the Petitioner accepts that only an investigation by a professional and unbiased agency shall reveal whether the said students are guilty of the accusations being levelled at them, it is amply clear that the until now the processes of law have not been followed by the UP ATS. If found guilty the said students may be subjected to the harshest punishment that the law entails but there is no justification for the virtual short-circuiting of the legal process by the UP ATS- which in the recent days has become an increasingly regular affair as far as Muslim youths are concerned,” he further said.
Urdu newspapers on Monday in Delhi front-paged the disappearance of the two Kashmiri students.
“As a young patriotic Muslim, the Petitioner is concerned that such instances of illegal arrests and detentions by the Uttar Pradesh ATS will cause immense alienation amongst the Minority community in Uttar Pradesh and shall end up stereotyping the entire community as “anti-national terrorists”. This will be detrimental to the cause of building a united, secular and plural society to which we are constitutionally committed,” he said
a) The NCM immediately issue notice and seek a factual report from the Uttar Pradesh Government on this issue and must order an inquiry into the incident forthwith to ascertain the truth behind these illegal arrests/detentions.
b) If indeed the there is a proved case of violation of legal and constitutional rights of the said students, it must pursue necessary legal action against the erring authorities.
c) It must also direct the Uttar Pradesh Government to come out with a white paper on all such similar cases of deprivation of rights of Minorities over the last 10 years and direct it to take steps to prevent such further occurrences.