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Tariq Qasmi given life sentence for ‘possessing arms’ although Nimesh Commission had raised doubts

By TwoCircles.net Staff Reporter,

Lucknow: A local court in the district Barabanki of Uttar Pradesh hase sentenced Hakim Mohammad Tarique Qasmi for life. Special Session Judge S P Arvind found Qasmi guilty of possessing RDX and detonator with him and involving in unlawful activities in an eight year case.

Tariq Qasmi and Khalid Mujahid were arrested by Special Task Force (STF) in December 2007 from Barabanki. Huge explosives were shown as recovered from his possession. STF claimed that he was involved in the serial blasts which occurred in Gorakhpur, Faizabad and Lucknow. He alleged to be a member of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami.

File Photo of Hakeem Tarique Qasmi (left) and now dead Khalid Mujahid (right).

Under pressure from civil society, then UP Chief Minister Mayawati had set up a commission headed by Justice RD Nimesh in 2008 to enquire into the arrests. Justice R D Nimesh had submitted its report to the state government on 31 August 2012, but was tabled in the Assembly only in September 2013. Nimesh Commission was had indicted the STF by raising questions on the circumstances of their arrests.

NDTV quoted saying, “I respect the court’s decision but I refuse to accept it. I have been framed. The police had kept me in illegal detention before arresting me. I am definitely going to challenge the decision,” from inside the police van, shortly after the judgment was announced.

Qasmi counsel, Advocate Randhir Singh has already made it clear that they will challenge the verdict in the high court.

Justice R D Nimesh Report:

STF claimed that it arrested Tariq and Khalid on 22 December 2007 from Barabanki railway station and recovered heavy amount of explosives. But questions were raised on this arresting. Family members of Tariq claimed that he was arrested by STF on 12 December by STF people from Azamgarh.

His missing report was also registered on 14 December at police station Rani Ka Sarai. Family members also dispatched letters to DGP, Principal Secretary (Home), Human Rights Commissioner etc.

Nimesh Commission also mentions that the family members and civil society activists had staged a protest outside Azamgarh Collectorte on December 16, 2007 and issued memorandum to the Chief Minister. There was another protest on December 17, 18 and again 20.

Accused Khalid Mujhaid was shown arrested by STF on 16 December. However, his uncle Mohd Zaheer Alam Falahi claimed that he was arrested from Madiyahu on same date and not from Barabanki.

The magisterial inquiry concluded that Mujahid was held in police custody illegally for four days before being shown as arrested. Then DGP Vikram Singh, additional DG Brij Lal and a host of other senior officials had held a press conference at the time of his arrest to claim credit and hence they have been made party to his illegal detention along with the STF team that arrested him. Justice R D Nimesh Commission of inquiry had recommended action against all these officers.

The Court has still upheld the police version. Further although the commission held police officials as guilty the SP government has not taken action against any of the police official.

Meanwhile, under one of its poll promise, Samjwadi party government of Akhilesh Yadav had revoked terror charges from Qasmi in April, 2013. However, court had set aside this decision in a huge embarrassment to the government.

Khalid Mujahid had died under mysterious conditions while he was returning from Faizabad to Lucknow jail on May 18, 2013.

Qasmi was given life sentence under sections 121, 121A of IPC, 4/5 of Explosive Act and 18, 20 & 23 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). He was further given two years imprisonment under 353 of IPC.

A penalty of Rs 50,000 under 121 IPC, 4/5 of Explosive Act and under UAPA was also announced on him. If he fails to deposit this penalty he will have to spend another 30 months in jail.

Rihai Manch, which has been fighting for justice for youths arrested on dubious terror charges, called the verdict politically motivated. Advocate Mohammad Shoaib of Rihai Manch termed it “murder of justice”, adding that it was given under pressure from the SP Government.

Speaking at the UP Press Club on Saturday, Advocate Shoaib who is also a defense counsel of Qasmi alleged that the verdict has proved that the Samajwadi Party had given false assurances to the Muslim communities to release youth languishing in jail or false pretexts.

Nimesh Commission report