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Do you feel the pain of Indian Muslims, Mr. Prime Minister

Sunday October 28, 2012 08:15:56 AM, Syed Zubair Ahmad

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Mohammad Aamir Khan tied knot with new life this week in the presence of eminent personalities of the society. Aamir was recently acquitted by the Delhi High Court after serving 14 years in prison in 1998 multiple blast cases.

His wedding reception on October 15 was graced by author Arundhati Roy, activist Shabnam Hashmi, journalist Aziz Burney, lawyer N.D. Pancholi, and politicians Ram Vilas Paswan and Mohammad Adeeb besides his friends and family members. Glowing Aamir was welcoming guests with broad smile on his face successfully hiding the pain of 14 years that he had to spend in the dark cell of jail as a terror accused. Arrested as teenager from near his home in Azad Market area of New Delhi, when Aamir came out of jail after acquittal he was a matured man of 32.

On a black night of 1998 he was arrested by Delhi police in connection with multiple bomb blasts in three states. Twenty cases including that of murder and sedition were filed against him when he was just 18 years old. When he came out from the jail in January 2012, his father had died and his mother was paralyzed due to brain hemorrhage. Aamir was lucky that his acquittal and painful story were highlighted by media pushing a minuscule section of civil society to come out to help him.

While social group ANHAD of Shabnam Hashmi employed him at its Delhi office the human rights group APCR of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind gave him five lakh rupees to start life afresh. But not a penny came from the government whose machinery almost ruined his life and snatched 14 years of his prime youth, nor did come a word of apology. And Aamir’s is not the only case.

There are hundreds of people from the Muslim community alone who were implicated in terror blasts cases and other anti-national activities in last 20 years but after spending many years, mostly 5-15, in jail they were ultimately acquitted by court for lack of proof. However, several hundred others are still in jails for the terror crimes their family says they never committed.

Their claim is getting credence as many such cases involving Muslim youths are falling flat one by one in court of law. Many of those Muslim youths are facing 40-50 cases with 1500-1600 witnesses to depose in courts in different states. With Aamir’s case before us, one can guess how many years these youths will have to spend in jails – maybe whole life – even before being pronounced innocent or guilty. A good number of these youths have already spent four or more years in jail but trials have not yet started.

Those who are acquitted and those who are still in jails are facing an uncertain and bleak future, a shattered family and suspicious social life – a life of an outcast who faces social boycott on daily basis. In fact trials and tabulations are not confined to only those youths who were arrested and prosecuted falsely on the charges of terrorism and sedition. Apart from their mental, physical, emotional and financial suffering, their families are suffering with more or less the same kind of trauma. There are instances of some committing ‘suicides.’

Police arrested youths on the basis of suspicion or falsely implicated them but media declared them terrorists even before charge sheet and trial. The society believed the police and media and treated them and their families as anti-nationals.

When Aamir was arrested even his close relatives distanced themselves from his family because police used to come and harass them only to make them frightened. The police also frightened the neighbors of Aamir only to make his family socially boycotted and stop any kind of help to the family from the neighbor. His parents became penniless in those long years of trials. His father died in 2007 and his old mother, who rarely used to go out, had to visit Ghaziabad court frequently until 2010 when she suffered a brain hemorrhage.

It is said that tackling terrorism is not an easy job and our intelligence agencies and police while in strenuous situation to combat the menace may commit mistakes. After all they are human beings.

But is it a mistake that you claim to recover RDX and other explosives from a person, you arrest him and prosecute but during years of trial you do not present proof before the court and the person is ultimately acquitted? Is it mere a human error that you pick couple of hundred youths of a particular community for terror blasts in Malegaon, Ajmer, Jaipur and Hyderabad and all are acquitted after years of imprisonment?

All these things have happened at fast pace since 2004 when Congress-led UPA government was formed at the centre. And so more shocking is the cold silence of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi despite numerous Muslim delegations have met them over the issue with three chief demands: Prosecute policemen whose guilt has been exposed by court in terror cases; award compensation to the people who have been acquitted; set up an inquiry commission in the leadership of a sitting judge of Supreme Court to look into all the terror cases. The government has not acted on any one of the demands.

Why is PM Singh mum on the issue even when he is seeing acquittal of Muslim youths in terror cases almost every week or month? On October 6, a Delhi trial court acquitted three persons in 2007 terror conspiracy case. On September 26, the Supreme Court acquitted 11 people in 1994 communal violence conspiracy case of Gujarat and famously quoted name of a movie ‘My name is Khan but I am not a terrorist’ to stress that law cannot be abused to harass any person owning to his religion. On August 6, Delhi High Court upheld acquittal of seven ‘terrorists’ saying they were nabbed after a fake encounter in 2005 and were falsely implicated.

Why is the PM not announcing any relief for persons who had to spend years in jail - thanks to the biased, not professional, acts of the government machinery? If some people die in a road or train accident, both state and central government announce compensation for the victims within hours. But in these cases where police deliberately implicate innocent people and kill them and their entire family mentally, emotionally, financially and socially, no voice of compensation is coming from any government. Why none is questioning the set pattern of police and intelligence agencies for minority witch hunt? One should not forget that it is Dr Manmohan Singh who assuming the highest office of prime minister in 2004 gave largest ever riot relief package to Sikh victims of 1984 Sikh riots.

On the cold silence of the prime minister, a section of the Muslim community has now started to ask: If they were Sikh youths in place of Muslim youths, would the PM still be silent as he is today?


Syed Zubair Ahmad is a Writer & Journalist. He can be reached at




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