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Wednesday, October 07, 2009 06:13:54 PM, Agencies

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New Delhi: 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 country.


"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 conference.


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 panel.


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 anti-discrimination law”.


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.





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Neither Bollywood nor media shows all or most Muslims

in bad light. So it is incorrectly assumed that the image of Indian

Muslims among other Indians is distorted at this time. Some

sophisticated research is required to comprehensively conclude

that the image is indeed distorted and needs makeover.

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