all ears to the accounts shared by the victims
of being kin of 'A Terrorist':
When the nation woke up to June 16
morning in 2004, they were greeted by screaming media headlines and
photos of four 'Deadly Terrorists' and 'LeT operatives' lying dead
on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway. One of them was Ishrat Jahan - an
undergraduate girl student of Khalsa college....
Media work to distort image of the Indian Muslims'
The three day National conference organised by ANHAD ended demanding
a high-powered judicial commission headed by a former Chief Justice
of the Supreme Court to examine all cases of terror across the
"The incidents of terrorism in India
that seem doubtful or fabricated should be handed over to a Special
Investigation Team appointed and supervised by the high-powered
judicial commission", recommended the jury at the end of the
The three day national conference on
'Status of Muslims in Contemporary India' organised by ANHAD
(Act Now for Harmony And Democracy) - a New Delhi based NGO that was
inaugurated on October 3, ended on October 5 with important
recommendations by the jury
that comprised Admiral Ramdas, Colin Gonsalves,
Gagan Sethi, Harsh Mander, Mahesh Bhatt, Prashant Bhushan, Ram
Punyani, Tarun Tejpal, Asghar Ali Engineer and others.
The jury further recommended that the
high-powered commission should complete its task in one year, so
that prolonged detention of persons against whom there is little
convincing evidence is not prolonged further.
Victims who have either been accused
of being involved in terror activities or have relatives behind bars
for alleged involvement in acts of terror came in a large number
from all across the country and shared their experiences before the
Referring to the feeling of “despair
and fear” among the Muslims, former bureaucrat Harsh Mander who was
also a panelist said, "Muslims feel let down by the police and the
judiciary in particular and by the media and the political parties
to some extent as well."
He said the ongoing war on terror has
emerged as a pattern that can be seen not just in Gujarat but in
several other States as well.
“Muslim youths with no criminal
records are picked up illegally by policemen in plain clothes, taken
to farmhouse, etc., and kept for days on end and tortured brutally",
Harsh Mander observed.
Prosecution of police officers who
have tampered with evidence in cases which can result in capital
punishment, compensation for victims who were detained but found
innocent, a concerted drive to recruit in larger number Muslims to
all levels of the police, civil administration and judiciary have
also been recommended.
The jury members after studying the
submissions, which include complaints like discrimination in matters
of renting houses in non-Muslim dominated areas, prejudices and
biases of public institutions against Muslims and reinforcing
stereotypes by the media, also recommended enactment of a Communal
Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill
with changes suggested by the civil society groups.
“Strong action should be taken under
Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code against organisations which
indulge in hate campaigns and communal propaganda. The requirement
of prior sanction of the State government before a complaint is
registered under this Act should be waived,” the panel recommended.
The panel has also proposed a law
against communal discrimination on the lines of the SC/ST Act to
recognise specific crimes of discrimination against minorities and
punish these severely.
“The Prime Minister should nominate a
10-member committee to undertake a nationwide campaign against
communalisation of society, akin to the literacy campaign and temple
entry campaigns of the past. This committee should also study and
document these social processes of structural discrimination, some
of which came to light in the national meet,” it recommended.
Pointing out that the Indian society
at present is not truly secular, film-maker Mahesh Bhatt, who was
also on the jury, said there is an immediate need to “implement an
The 12 major recommendations put forth
by the panel at the end of the conference include recruitment of
Muslims in all levels of the police, civil administration and
judiciary, immediate ratification of the Communal Violence
(Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill, strong
action against organisations indulging in hate campaigns and
communal propaganda, law against communal discrimination, immediate
implementation of the equal opportunities commission, high-level
Empowered Committee to monitor proper implementation of the schemes
meant for minorities and effective utilization of Wakf properties
for the uplift of the Muslim community.