Hyderabad: Perhaps in
the first instance of victims of police torture in a terror case
being paid compensation in India, Andhra Pradesh has released Rs.7
million for innocent Muslim youths arrested and tortured in the
2007 Mecca Masjid blast case.
A day after Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy announced in the
state assembly that the compensation would be paid, the minorities
welfare department Tuesday issued an order releasing the amount.
According to officials, out of 70 victims identified, 20 would be
paid Rs.300,000 each while others would get Rs.20,000.
The government released the compensation amount on the
recommendations of the National Minorities Commission, which also
asked the government to consider deducting the amount from the
salaries of erring police officials.
Though the commission had made several recommendations over a year
ago, the government had not acted on them.
National Minorities Commission chairman Wajahat Habibullah had
also written a letter to the chief minister in August, asking him
to take action on the recommendations, which also include legal
action against the police officers involved in arrest and torture
of innocent youths, rehabilitation of victims by providing
employment commensurate with their qualifications and issuing good
conduct certificates to all those acquitted in the case.
Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) and other Muslim groups had
been demanding that the government pay compensation.
MIM leader in the assembly Akbaruddin Owaisi raised the issue in
the assembly during the debate on the no-confidence motion Monday.
The chief minister, during his reply to the debate, announced that
the orders for payment of compensation would be released.
MIM, which has seven members in the 295-member assembly, opposed
the Telugu Desam Party's (TDP) no-confidence motion, helping the
Congress government defeat the motion.
Nine people were killed in the blast during Friday prayers at the
historic Mecca Masjid May 18, 2007. Five more people were killed
in the subsequent police firing on protesters outside the mosque.
Following the blast, the police arrested dozens of Muslims youths
and filed cases against them. A fact-finding committee of the
state minorities commission, in its report, said the police
tortured the youths.
The arrested youths were acquitted by the courts during the last
Last year, following the arrest of activists of right-wing Hindu
groups for involvement in the mosque blast, the chief minister
offered to tender an apology to all the Muslim youths who were