Muslim prisoners subjected to communal abuse in Lucknow Jail

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi,,

New Delhi: Muslim youths languishing in Lucknow jail in terror cases have been subjected to communal abuses in the name of search operation allegedly by the jail officials. Their bags were ripped open, belongings thrown around and the officials used filthy language and communal slurs. Hakeem Tarique Qasmi, one of the victims, told his lawyer and relatives about the incident on 24th July in Barabanki where he was brought for a scheduled hearing in the court. The incident took place in Lucknow Central Jail around 10 days ago.

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Advocate Mohammad Shoaib, counsel for Hakeem Tarique Qasmi, told TCN a short while ago: In the name of searching, the officials ripped apart the bag of Hakeem Tarique Qasmi in the Lucknow jail around 10 days back. Tarique told us about the incident on 24th July when he had come to Barabanki for the hearing of his case in the local court. Tarique said the officials ripped open the strip inside the bag suspecting he might have hid something there. They threw around his belongings, and used filthy language. The search was conducted by the jailer and his deputy.

Hakeem Tarique Qasmi

Adv. Shoaib said such incident happens at regular interval at the high security barrack of the jail where around 32 Muslims are kept as terror suspects. Not only this, they are served very poor quality food items to eat and dirty water to drink.

“They are served very poor quality meal and the plate is pushed inside the cell as if they are beasts inside cage. During Ramazan they are not given meal in the day. In its place they are given Iftar in the evening. The Iftar consists of just 2 pieces of banana, 2 pieces of date and 2 pieces of Parle-G biscuit. They are forced to drink dirty water,” said Adv. Shoaib. However, he informed that this Ramazan the jail officials have allowed the prisoners to offer Taravih (long night) prayers.

Hakeem Tarique Qasmi was arrested on 12th December 2007 from Azamgarh. His uncle Khalid Mujahid was picked from near his village at Madiyahu bazaar in Jaunpur on 16th December. But both were presented before the media on 23rd December in Barabanki by UP ATS saying they were arrested with arms from Barabanki station on that day. Both were picked in connection with the serial blasts at courts premises in several districts in UP that year. There were several protests in Azamgarh and Jaunpur against the false arrest of the youths and the then Mayawati government had set up RD Nimesh Commission to look into the facts about their arrest. The commission is yet to submit its report.

Hakeem Tarique Qasmi (left) and Khalid Mujahid

Adv. Shoaib told TCN that he himself had conducted signature campaigns, sat on dharna and organized conferences. During the assembly election campaign earlier this year, the Samajwadi Party promised to release innocents from jail if they came to power. About four months after they came to power, the Akhilesh Yadav government has not taken any step towards their release.

PUCL fears Muslim terror suspects might be killed inside jail

Reacting to the recent incident of communal abuse and atrocities on the Muslim youths inside the Lucknow Jail, Rajiv Yadav, Uttar Pradesh Secretary of PUCL (People’s Union for Civil Liberties) demanded security to the terror prisoners apprehending they could be eliminated to hide lies as it has happened with Qateel Siddiqui in Pune jail.

“On one side, the state government is making announcement to release innocent Muslim youths falsely implicated in terror cases, on the other, they are being oppressed inside the jail. There are 32 such terror suspects in lucknow jail. In the name of security, they were kept 23 hours of a day in the cell even during entire hot summer. Behind the campaign of searches and oppression, there is communal mindset,” said Yadv.

He further said that the Lucknow jailer’s action is an indication of the danger.

“After the murder of Qateel Sidddiqui in Yerwada jail of Pune by probe agencies, the action of lucknow jailer is signal of threat. When these youths are likely to be released, the government should ensure their safety, because probe agencies can kill them to hide their lies and to save their face,” Yadav demanded.