Framing innocent Muslims, who is responsible?
By Aziz Mubarki for TwoCircles.net,
THE high-profile case of the Indian Parliament Attack saw its apparent end with the execution of Afzal Guru in Delhi’s high security Tihar jail last fortnight. Hanging of Guru did not matter much to the Muslims who are often branded anti-national and gibbeted everyday despite being staunchly patriotic as others. Muslims in India have faced gross discrimination and have remained neglected for years now. No political party has ever tried to sincerely pay heed to the grievances of this largest minority community. Only during the pre-election period some leaders pretend that they care for the Muslims. Even a section of the media uses hollow rhetoric and jingoism targeting the Muslims on different issues, and they wrongly believe that they are performing a patriotic duty.
It is important to recall and realize that not even once ordinary Muslim citizens of India have supported terrorists or have been found to be involved in such nefarious activities. In the past one or two decades intelligence agencies enthusiastically arrested few thousands of Muslim youths accusing them in scores of terrorist attacks. Some were branded as masterminds of the attacks by the agencies and in several media trials they were routinely found guilty of the attacks. Thousands of Muslims remain confined and detained all over the country on fictitious terrorism charges, concocted by the (communally-biased)prosecution.
But thankfully the judiciary- that has remained unbiased considerably, apart from acquitting nearly all innocent Muslim youths, scolded police and other investigating agencies for framing the innocent Muslims. Legal experts surveying the terrorism cases involving Muslim youths say that the rate of acquittal of the Muslim youths in the past has been as high as 99%- clearly highlighting the bias Muslim youths face in prosecution. For Muslims life has been like that since long, irrespective of which party rules the country.
It is crucial to understand the approach of television news anchors who have effectively managed to drive personal viewpoint into news, and rubbish all rational voices that seek answers to complex cases including terrorist attacks. News channels are supposed to report the news, not give their editorial comments and restrict contrary voices from giving their views. Journalists must understand they are not elected by citizens or shareholders, but are accountable to the people whose trust in the accuracy and integrity that enables their work unfortunately much of this has now been squandered and history shall stand to mock them if they don’t make their style more ethical quickly to put things right.
Prosecution often brand the accused Muslim youths as “dreaded terrorists” and routinely pile cooked-up evidences against them. When these cases are heard in courts of law, the prosecution fails to prove the allegations they leveled against these innocent Muslim youths. However, after suffering confinement and disgrace for as long as 20 years, the best years of the life of the arrested youths get exhausted. Their friends and relatives shun them and their families suffer terrible devastation and trauma. And, the innocent youths, after coming out of jail face a bleak future.
Sadly the penetration of communal elements into police and intelligence agencies is responsible for all the excruciation faced by the innocent Muslim youths in terror-related cases. It indeed brings shame to the law enforcement structure of the country. As falsely the Muslim youths are framed in the cases, the real culprits of most terror activities wander freely. There is also a tendency among the investigative agencies to choose and fix some suitable ‘scapegoats’ and declare a case solved- to cover up someone else’s crime directly or indirectly and to willfully target Muslim youth in the cases. Such wrongful arrests have the potential to alienate Muslim youths in the society.
It is imperative to know Indian Muslims are as patriotic as any other stakeholder to this country and rarely will you find a Muslim being convicted in any terrorist or anti national activity by the court and that’s proof enough for the said disputation. Therefore it is earnestly anticipated from the people sitting at helm in corridors of power, civil society and media barons to take a realistic and positive approach towards this alienation of Muslims in Indian society as weak minority shall make a weaker nation.
A small list of cases in which Muslims had been framed by the prosecution, but judiciary acquitted them:
In Hyderabad the 7th Metropolitan Sessions Judge Radha Krishna threw out the case ( http://twocircles.net/2008dec31/21_hyderabadi_muslim_youths_acquitted_te... ) and acquitted all the accused. He said that the prosecution had failed to bring any evidence to prove the charges against them.
1.Md.Abdul Sattar (In Cherlapally Jail) Arrested on 15/06/2007
2.Md.Abdul Kareem Qadri @ Karem (In Cherlapally Jail) Arrested on 15/06/2007
3.Masood Ahamed (In Cherlapally Jail) Arrested on 4/09/2007
4.Arshad Khan @ Fayaz Khan Arrested on 4/09/2007
5.Md.Naseeruddin @Fayaz Khan Arrested on 4/09/2007
6.Md.Abdul Raheem @ Raheem Arrested on 4/09/2007
7.Syed Abdul Qader @Imran Arrested on 4/09/2007
8.Shaik Mohammed Faredd @ Ali Pasha Arrested on 4/09/2007
9.Gulam Aslam Siddiqui Arrested on 4/09/2007
10.Syed Abdul Sami (Absconding)
11.Md.Abdul Kareem@ Anwar Arested on 8/9/2007
12.Syed Zulfiqar Ahamed@ Ifteqar (Absconding)
13.Md.Abdul Wajeed. Arrested on 8/9/2007
14.Abdul Wase Arrested on 8/9/2007
15.Mohd Abdul Majid B/O SHAHED BILAL Arrested on 27/9/2007
16.Mohd Rayees Uddin Arrested on 6/9/2007
17.Md.Mustafa Ali Arrested on 6/9/2007
18.Ibrahim Ali Junaid Arrested on 8/9/2007
19.Mohtashim Billa S/O MOULANA ABDUL ALEEM ISLAHI Arrested on 6/3/2008
20.Gulam Hasan Siddique (Absconding)
21.Md.Shakeel .Arrested on 27/9/2007
In Ahmadabad On Jun 11, 2009, (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2009-06 11/ahmedabad/28193522_1_acquits-jihadi-charge-sheet) the Additional Sessions Judge IB Waghela acquitted Kari Mufidul Islam Shaikh along with city-based youths Ilyas Memon and Siraj Ansari some three years after the city crime branch had booked them for “sheltering jehadi terrorists and conspiring to avenge 2002 riots”. The judge held that there was no evidence against them to establish their involvement in terrorist activities.
Finally compensation for 70 Muslims youth ( http://nvonews.com/2011/12/13/muslim-youth-get-acquitted-in-terrorism-ch...) who were arrested in connection with Mecca Masjid Blast and later released by court as there were no evidence against them. Perhaps this will be the first instance in India when a Government will give compensation to falsely arrested people for terrorism.
Police must ensure that no innocent person has the feeling of sufferance only because “my name is Khan, but I am not a terrorist,” a Bench of Justices H.L. Dattu and C.K. Prasad said (http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/dont-give-terror-tag-to-innocent-m...). It ordered the acquittal of 11 persons, arrested under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act and other laws, and convicted for allegedly planning to create communal violence during the Jagannath Puri Yatra in Ahmadabad in 1994.
In a separate case a principal district judge GN Patel acquitted Firoz alias Abdullah Ghaswala fromMumbai, Mohammed Ali alias Ubaidullah Chhipa, Vakil Ahmed Saiyed and Umar Farooq Shaikh from Ahmedabad, Anisul alias Mursalim alias Sujoy alias Ashiq Bari and his brother Muhibul alias Mushtaqim Bari from Bangladesh (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-07-29/ahmedabad/2827639...) All the six were booked by ATS, then headed by DG Vanzara (who was suspended and is now in jail), in May 2006 for conspiracy, waging war against nation and possession of explosive substance. They were accused of going to Pakistan to receive training from Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Azam Chima. Upon returning from the neighbouring country, they were planning to blow up Kandla pipeline, Somnath temple and Sabarmati overbridge besides the offices of RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal, the prosecution alleged.
And 14 Muslim youths were arrested following the serial bomb blasts in Jaipur on 13th May2008.(http://twocircles.net/2011dec25/youths_acquitted_jaipur_blast_charge_nar...), All 14 were acquitted by the Rajasthan High Court on 9th December, 2011 .
Aziz A. Mubaraki is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Airport Authority of India(NSC).
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