May 16, 2010

आतंकी जो थे ही नहीं

Posted in Human Rights, Minorities at 7:50 am by zarb

image दिलावर खान, मौलाना, इमदाद-उल-उलूम मदरसा

आतंकवाद रोकने के लिए गठित दिल्ली पुलिस की स्पेशल सेल ने चार लोगों को मार्च, 2005 में एक मुठभेड़ के बाद दक्षिण-पश्चिम दिल्ली से गिरफ्तार किया. पुलिस ने दावा किया कि उसने देहरादून स्थित भारतीय सैन्य अकादमी पर एक बड़े आतंकी हमले को टाल दिया है. लेकिन चार साल बाद चारों को अदालत ने निर्दोष मान कर बरी कर दिया.

दिल्ली पुलिस की स्पेशल सेल का गठन 1986 में आतंकवाद निरोधी बल के तौर पर हुआ था. 90 के दशक के उत्तरार्ध में कई आतंकियों को मार गिराने और तमाम मामलों को सुलझने के दावों के चलते इसका नाम सुर्खियों में आना शुरू हुआ. लेकिन जल्दी ही इसके कुछ अधिकारियों पर अवैध धन उगाही और फर्जी एनकाउंटर करने के आरोप लगने लगे. वरिष्ठ अधिवक्ता प्रशांत भूषण कहते हैं, ‘दुर्भाग्यवश जब भी अदालतों ने स्पेशल सेल के अधिकारियों को झूठे सबूतों के आधार पर निर्दोष लोगों को फंसाने का दोषी पाया तो उसने इन अधिकारियों के खिलाफ कोई कार्रवाई नहीं की. अगर इन्हें कठोर दंड नहीं मिलेगा तो आगे भी पुलिसवाले निर्दोष लोगों को फर्जी आतंकवादी बनाते रहेंगे.’ आंकड़े इसकी पुष्टि करते लगते हैं. पिछले चार महीनों के दौरान दिल्ली की निचली अदालतों ने स्पेशल सेल द्वारा गिरफ्तार किए गए नौ कथित आतंकवादियों को बरी कर दिया है. इनमें से चार आतंकवादियों को स्पेशल सेल ने मार्च, 2005 में एक मुठभेड़ के बाद दक्षिण-पश्चिम दिल्ली से गिरफ्तार किया था. पुलिस का दावा था कि उन्होंने देहरादून स्थित भारतीय सैन्य अकादमी पर होने वाले एक बड़े आतंकी हमले को टाला था. चार साल बाद ये चारों लोग बरी हो गए. इन्हीं चार लोगों की कहानी बयान कर रहे हैं बृजेश पांडे

‘भरोसा ही नहीं हुआ कि आतंकी का ठप्पा हट गया’

दिलावर खान, मौलाना, इमदाद-उल-उलूम मदरसा और मसूद अहमद, बागवाली मस्जिद के इमाम

किसी पुलिसवाले को अपनी तरफ आता देखकर ही मौलाना दिलावर खान और इमाम मसूद अहमद की रूह में कंपकपी दौड़ जाती है. दिल्ली में इमदाद उल उलूम मदरसे में मौलाना दिलावर और पास ही स्थित बागवाली मस्जिद के इमाम मसूद को मार्च, 2005 में स्थानीय पुलिस स्टेशन से बुलावा आया था. वहां उन्हें लोधी कॉलोनी स्थित दिल्ली पुलिस की स्पेशल सेल में एक रुटीन पूछताछ के लिए जाने को कहा गया. इसके बाद लोगों को वे पांच साल बाद ही दिखाई दिए.

दिलावर और मसूद को लश्कर-ए-तैयबा का आतंकवादी करार देते हुए उनपर देहरादून स्थित भारतीय सैन्य अकादमी पर हमले की साजिश रचने का आरोप लगाया गया. इसके बाद दोनों को पांच साल तक जेल में सड़ना पड़ा. पिछले महीने पटियाला हाउस कोर्ट ने दोनों को सबूतों के अभाव में बरी कर दिया. अदालत ने स्पेशल सेल की यह कहते हुए खिंचाई भी की कि उसकी जांच में तमाम झोल हैं और उसने अपने अधिकारों का दुरुपयोग किया.

दिलावर और मसूद की गिरफ्तारी महज एक व्यक्ति के बयान के आधार पर हुई थी. हामिद हुसैन नाम का वह व्यक्ति कथित रूप से लश्कर का सदस्य था जिसने दावा किया था कि विस्फोटकों की एक खेप दिलावर के पास पड़ी हुई है. हामिद ने मसूद और दिलावर की पहचान की और पुलिस ने दावा किया कि उसने उनके पास से एक ग्रेनेड, एक चीनी पिस्तौल और 24 गोलियां बरामद कीं.

दिलावर स्पेशल सेल द्वारा की गई पूछताछ को याद करते हुए कहते हैं, ‘मैं इतना हैरान था कि मुझे कुछ समझ में ही नहीं आ रहा था..वे मुझसे सिर्फ यही पूछते कि क्या मैं हामिद को जानता हूं. मैंने कहा नहीं तो वे मुझे टॉर्चर करते हुए फिर वही सवाल करने लगे. मैं इनकार करता रहा. उन्होंने कहा कि वे मुझे ऐसा सबक सिखाएंगे जो मैं कभी भूल नहीं सकूंगा. उन्होंने मुझे एक सादे पेपर पर दस्तखत करने के लिए मजबूर किया.’  मसूद की कहानी भी ऐसी ही है. वे बताते हैं, ‘पहले मुझसे हामिद की पहचान करने के लिए कहा गया और फिर उन्होंने साजिश का खुलासा करने को कहा. मुझे समझ में ही नहीं आया कि क्या जवाब दूं.’

स्थितियां बदतर होती गईं. ‘कैमरे के सामने जानवरों की तरह हमारी परेड कराई गई. स्पेशल सेल के अधिकारी आपस में धक्का-मुक्की कर रहे थे ताकि ‘आतंकवादियों’ के साथ प्रमुखता से उनकी भी फोटो छपे. उन्होंने मुझसे भी फोटो खिंचवाने के लिए कहा,’ दिलावर बताते हैं. ‘ऊपरवाले में मेरे यकीन का इम्तहान हो रहा था. मैंने ऐसा क्या किया जो मेरे साथ यह हुआ?’

गिरफ्तारी के बाद नजदीकी रिश्तेदारों और दोस्तों ने उनसे किनारा कर लिया. अकेले पड़ गए दिलावर और मसूद धैर्यपूर्वक अपने मामले की सुनवाई का इंतजार करने लगे. फैसला आने में लंबा वक्त लग गया. लेकिन इस साल 8 जनवरी को आए फैसले ने उन्हें सभी आरोपों से बरी कर दिया. स्पेशल सेल का मामला अदालत में धराशायी हो गया. एडिशनल सेशन जज धर्मेश शर्मा ने कहा, ‘अभियोग पक्ष ने जो सबूत पेश किए हैं उनपर विश्वास नहीं होता.’ उन्होंने आगे यह भी जोड़ा कि इसका कोई सबूत नहीं है कि पुलिस ने दिलावर को उसके घर से गिरफ्तार किया था. मामले की खामियां उजागर करते हुए उन्होंने कहा कि वेलकम स्थित दिलावर और मसूद के घरों पर छापे मारने वाली स्पेशल सेल के अधिकारी रमेश लांबा ने दिलावर खान के घर से हथियारों की बरामदगी के बारे में एक शब्द भी नहीं कहा था. जस्टिस शर्मा ने इंस्पेक्टर रण सिंह के बयान पर हैरानी जाहिर की जिसके मुताबिक दिलावर को गिरफ्तार करने के बाद पुलिस अपने दफ्तर लौट गई थी और उसके आधे घंटे बाद लगभग उसी जगह मसूद को गिरफ्तार करने पहुंच गई थी. जज के शब्द थे, ‘यह उन बयानों से मेल नहीं खाता जो स्पेशल सेल के अधिकारियों ने दिए हैं. इसपर यकीन करना मुश्किल है कि पुलिस पार्टी दोनों को गिरफ्तार करने के लिए एक ही इलाके में दो बार गई और एक में उन्होंने रण सिंह को शामिल किया और दूसरे में नहीं.’ पुलिस की भूमिका पर उंगली उठाते हुए जज ने आगे लिखा, ‘इस बात में भी शक है कि हामिद हुसैन से किसी तरह की पहचान करवाई गई होगी. पुलिस की रोजाना डायरी में कहीं भी उसके नाम का जिक्र नहीं था.’

मौलाना और इमाम के लिए जिंदगी का चक्का पूरा एक चक्कर घूम चुका है. उनके लिए रिहाई एक नई जिंदगी की तरह है. दिलावर कहते हैं, ‘जेल से बाहर आकर मुझे लगा जसे मैं किसी अजनबी दुनिया में आ गया हूं. काफी देर तक तो भरोसा ही नहीं हुआ कि मुझपर लगा आतंकवादी का ठप्पा हट गया है.’ मसूद सिर्फ मुस्करा कर ईश्वर को धन्यवाद देते हैं.

हालांकि उनकी खुशी जल्दी ही काफूर हो गई थी. अगले ही दिन पुलिस उनके घर आई और उनसे कहा कि वे स्थानीय पुलिस स्टेशन में पेश हों. दिलावर कहते हैं, ‘मैं आपको बता नहीं सकता कि मैं कितना डर गया था. एक ही पल में पिछले पांच सालों की त्रासदी मेरे आगे घूम गई.’ दिलावर के वकील ने उन्हें बेवजह परेशान किए जाने के खिलाफ कोर्ट में याचिका दायर की है. वे उदास स्वर में कहते हैं, ‘क्लीन चिट मिल जाने के बावजूद मुझे फिर से गिरफ्तार होने का डर लगा रहता है. लगता है यह डर अब मेरी मौत के साथ ही जाएगा.’

‘कानून के गलत इस्तेमाल से बरबाद हुआ कैरियर’ हारून राशिद, मैकेनिकल इंजीनियर

 हारून राशिद को क्या पता था कि बेहतर रोजगार के लिए सिंगापुर जाना उन्हें इतना भारी पड़ जाएगा. बिहार के इस मैकेनिकल इंजीनियर ने दिसंबर, 2004 में हिंदुस्तान एयरोनॉटिक्स लिमिटेड की अपनी नौकरी छोड़कर सिंगापुर की एक कंपनी ज्वॉइन की थी. 16 मई, 2005 को जब हारून भारत लौटे तो इंदिरा गांधी अंतरराष्ट्रीय हवाई अड्डे पर उन्हें स्पेशल सेल ने गिरफ्तार कर लिया. उनपर देहरादून स्थित भारतीय सैन्य अकादमी पर आत्मघाती हमले की साजिश के लिए पैसे की व्यवस्था करने का आरोप लगा.

स्पेशल सेल का दावा था कि हारून ने 10 और 15 जनवरी को सिंगापुर से वेस्टर्न यूनियन मनी ट्रांसफर के जरिए 49,000 रुपए अपने भाई मोहम्मद यूनिस को भेजे थे जिसने इस रकम को शम्स के हवाले कर दिया. शम्स वही शख्स था जो मार्च, 2005 में दिल्ली के उत्तम नगर में पुलिस के साथ हुई मुठभेड़ में मारा गया था. कथित तौर पर हारून ने स्वीकार किया था कि उसने यह पैसा अपने पाकिस्तानी आका अब्दुल अजीज से हासिल किया था. पुलिस का यह भी दावा था कि उसने हारून से 76 पन्ने की ई-मेलें हासिल की हैं जो फारूक के फर्जी नाम से लिखी गई हैं. इन मेलों में उसने दूसरे आतंकियों को कूट भाषा में आगामी हमलों का निर्देश दिया था. हारून की गिरफ्तारी को पुलिस ने बहुत बड़ी सफलता बताया था.

लेकिन जब मामला सुनवाई के लिए कोर्ट में पहुंचा तो एक अलग ही तस्वीर सामने आई जिसका सार यह था कि आतंकवाद से निपटने के लिए बनाई गई स्पेशल सेल ने अपने विशेष अधिकारों का गलत इस्तेमाल किया. हारून के वकील एमएस खान बताते हैं, ‘वह बहुत गरीब परिवार से है, इसलिए सिंगापुर जाने के लिए उसने अपने चाचा से एक लाख रुपए उधार लिए थे. वहां पहुंचने पर उसे लगा कि उसे इतने पैसों की जरूरत नहीं है लिहाजा उसने 49 हजार रुपए अपने भाई को वापस भेज दिए ताकि कुछ उधारी चुकाई जा सके. उसे क्या पता था कि वापस भेजी गई इसी रकम के लिए उसे लश्कर का फाइनेंसर करार दे दिया जाएगा?’

हालांकि कोर्ट में मामला औंधे मुंह गिर पड़ा. यूनिस ने मृत आतंकी शम्स को किसी तरह का पैसा देने से इनकार किया. पुलिस हारून के लश्कर से संबंधों के पक्ष में कोई पुख्ता सबूत पेश नहीं कर पाई. जिन ई-मेलों को हासिल करने का दावा किया गया था वे भी जांच-पड़ताल में गलत साबित हुईं. एसएम खान कहते हैं, ‘इंसपेक्टर कैलाश ने कोर्ट में कहा कि उन्होंने 18 मई, 2005 को उस ई-मेल का पासवर्ड पता लगा लिया था जिसका इस्तेमाल हारून अपने पाकिस्तानी आकाओं से संपर्क करने के लिए करता था और उसी दिन उन्होंने इसका प्रिंट भी निकलवाया था. लेकिन स्पेशल सेल के ही इंस्पेक्टर बद्रीश दत्त ने माना कि 13 मई, 2005 को (कैलाश की कथित सफलता के पांच दिन पहले) हारून ने खुद ही अपने ई-मेल पते का पासवर्ड बता दिया था. बद्रीश ने यह भी माना था कि उस पूछताछ के दौरान कैलाश भी वहां मौजूद थे. इससे साफ पता चलता है कि पुलिस ने इन पांच दिनों के दौरान ई-मेल के रिकॉर्डों से छेड़छाड़ की.’ अदालत ने पुलिस अधिकारी कैलाश की चुप्पी और अदालत में बोले गए झूठ पर नाराजगी जताई. 76 पन्नों का ई-मेल प्रिंट न तो कोर्ट में पेश किया गया और न ही चार्जशीट के साथ लगाया गया. पुलिस डायरी में भी इसका कोई जिक्र नहीं था. हारून को अदालत ने तो बरी कर दिया है मगर उनके वकील के मुताबिक वे अब भी डरते हैं कि कहीं उन्हें फिर से न उठा लिया जाए.

‘मेरी जवानी कौन लौटाएगा सर?’  इफ्तिखार मलिक, पूर्व बायोटेक्नोलॉजी छात्र

देहरादून स्थित भारतीय सैन्य अकादमी पर आत्मघाती हमले की साजिश रचने और लश्कर-ए-तैयबा का आतंकवादी होने के आरोप में पांच साल जेल में बिता चुके मोहम्मद इफ्तिखार अहसान मलिक के लिए हालात अब बेहतर दिख रहे हैं. 26 वर्षीय इफ्तिखार देहरादून स्थित डॉल्फिन इंस्टीट्यूट ऑफ बायोमेडिकल एंड नेचुरल साइंस में बायोटेक्नोलॉजी द्वितीय वर्ष के छात्र थे. 7 मार्च, 2005 को दिल्ली पुलिस की स्पेशल सेल ने उन्हें देहरादून से गिरफ्तार कर लिया. प्रेस कॉन्फ्रेंस में पुलिस ने दावा किया कि उसे मलिक के पास से एक डायरी मिली थी जिसमें कुरान की भड़काऊ आयतें लिखी हुई थीं. पुलिस का यह भी कहना था कि इफ्तिखार के पास एक पर्ची  भी मिली थी जिसमें गुजरात दंगों का बदला लेने की बात थी और उनसे आईएमए की एक परेड का पास भी बरामद हुआ. पुलिस के मुताबिक इफ्तिखार पाकिस्तानी आतंकवादी शम्स के संपर्क में थे जिसने उन्हें बिहार में सिमी की बैठकों में शामिल होने के लिए प्रोत्साहित किया था. यह भी कहा गया कि शम्स की डायरी में इफ्तिखार को ‘शाहिद’ नाम दिया गया था और लश्कर उसकी पढ़ाई का खर्च उठाता था.

इफ्तिखार खुद के निर्दोष होने की दलीलें देते रहे पर कोई फायदा नहीं हुआ. मामला एडिशनल सेशन जज धर्मेश शर्मा के पास पहुंचा जिन्होंने स्पेशल सेल की जांच में तमाम खामियों को उजागर करते हुए इफ्तिखार को सभी आरोपों से बरी कर दिया. जस्टिस शर्मा ने इसपर बेहद हैरानी जताई कि स्पेशल सेल के इंस्पेक्टर रमेश शर्मा ने कोर्ट को बताया कि इंस्पेक्टर कैलाश सिंघल बिष्ट (जिन्होंने जब्त सामानों की सूची तैयार की थी) देहरादून गए थे और उन्होंने ही इफ्तिखार से आईएमए का पास जब्त किया था. जबकि क्रॉस एक्जामिनेशन में बिष्ट ने कहा कि वे देहरादून गए ही नहीं थे. यह पूछने पर कि फिर उन्हें पास कहां से मिला और उसे जब्त सामान की सूची में क्यों शामिल किया गया तो उनके पास कोई जवाब नहीं था. इफ्तिखार ने अदालत को बताया कि गुजरात का बदला लेने वाली पर्ची उनसे जबर्दस्ती लिखवाई गई थी. उन्होंने यह माना कि कुरान की आयतें उन्होंने ही लिखी थीं मगर साथ ही यह भी कहा कि वे भड़काऊ नहीं थीं. जस्टिस शर्मा ने इसपर भी हैरानी जाहिर की कि गिरफ्तारी और जब्त सामान की सूची बनाते वक्त पुलिस ने इफ्तिखार के मकान मालिक राम गुल्यानी से संपर्क तक नहीं किया और न ही किसी और को गवाह बनाया.  क्रॉस एक्जामिनेशन करने पर पता चला कि पुलिस अधिकारी संजय दत्त और बद्रीश दत्त- जिन्होंने कथित तौर पर इफ्तिखार का सामान जब्त किया था- कभी भी देहरादून नहीं गए. इफ्तिखार द्वारा लिखी गई कथित पर्ची पर स्पेशल सेल के अधिकारियों के बयान तो और भी विरोधाभासी थे. एक अधिकारी ने बताया कि पर्ची हिंदी में थी जबकि दूसरे का कहना था कि यह अंग्रेजी में थी.

कोर्ट ने कहा कि इफ्तिखार के लश्कर से संबंध होने का कोई स्वतंत्र प्रमाण नहीं है और न ही इसका प्रमाण है कि वह मार्च, 2005 में उत्तम नगर में मारे गए किसी आतंकवादी को जानता था. दूसरे आरोपितों के बयानों में एक बार भी कहीं इफ्तिखार का जिक्र नहीं आया था. सिर्फ आईएमए का पास रखने भर से किसी मकसद का पता नहीं चलता. इसके अलावा पास भी पांच महीने पुराना था और परेड पहले ही संपन्न हो चुकी थी. इफ्तिखार का मुश्किल दौर आखिरकार खत्म हो चुका है. उनकी बहन की शादी होने वाली है और उन्हें लगता है कि 2010 उनके लिए अच्छा बीतेगा.

हालांकि पुलिस का डर उन्हें अब भी हर वक्त सताता है.

Advertisements

October 17, 2008

Theories on Bhainsa riots and Killings ?

Posted in Human Rights, Minorities, Riots at 10:58 am by zarb

Hyderabad,October 13:The involvement of rebel TRS mla is recent riots in  bhainsa     is an eyeopener,The mla factory was used by miscreants to set the town ablase,most of the rowdy elements were seen operating from the factory in carrying out their attack on muslims of bhainsa .

Police are reportedly investigating the role of a TRS rebel MLA from Adilabad district and members of the Hindu Vahini, in the communal violence at Bhainsa, even as six persons of a family were burnt alive in a house in nearby Watoli village early Sunday morning.

Many eyewitness has taken the name of patel as the main suspect in these riots and he happens to be trs rebel mla and now under the patronage of congress party.

Just a day before the riots the TDP has extended support for the TELANGANA statehood which was a historical decleration.The congress party is on a backfoot after this declaration and the involment of rebel TRS mla in riots has lot of questions to be answered as majority of congress leaders of andhra are against  formation of telangana state.
Muslims all over the country are not taking the UpA governement role specially the arrests and torture of innocent boys in the name of terrorissm lightly,Jamia millia fake encounter and the govt failure to appoint a judicial commission to enquire, has hurt the muslims feeling all over the country.

Atleast in AP muslims have aternate secular forces like TDP and rjp of chirenjeevi to vote . Can these riots are trigerred to consolidate muslims votes  ? and for whom ?

Can these riots be engineered by congress leadership to put the telangana issue on a back burner by raising a communal issue in andhra pradesh .

Bjp is non-existenent in AP  and a spent force till now but bjp can be  a big gainer in telangana if communal tensions are aroused.Maharastra is just 40 km from bhaisa and there are good chances of shiv sena and bajrang dal forces comming from maharastra for formenting trouble in AP.

Bjp has tasted power in karnataka by playing the soft communal card and they are bent upon playing an active role in andhra politics  ,as Ap will have  a triangular and four cornered fights Bjp wants to fish in the trouble waters of andhra pradesh to fetch some good catch.

 

The home minister Jana reddy  claims that these people died because of electric short circuit but the govt did their best to prove that this incident was an accident through the television channels and govt agencies.

Girl raped:

It has been proved without doubt that the girl was raped and burnt ,Al the 5 members of the family were burned beyond recognition except this girl.

 

Anti-Muslim riots in North Assam

Guwahati: Anti-Muslim violence erupted in north Assam in early October between militant Bodo tribals and Muslims in which an estimated 150 Muslims have been killed so far, hundreds have been injured, mostly women and children, and around 150,000 Muslims have been made homeless. They are now living in temporary camps which lack basic amenities and sanitation. The violence is almost totally one sided and almost official as the Bodo militants attacking Muslims are actually “Surrendered Security Battallion” (SSB) which is the security force of the autonomous Bodo Territorial Autonomous District (BTAD) and consists of the former Bobo militants who have been absorbed in an official security force in the wake of the settlement of February 2003. Worst areas are the districts of Darang, Udalgiri and Gwalpara which are considered communally sensitive areas. About 60 villages have been emptied of their Muslim population as a result of these attacks. Several hundred houses and other immovable properties have been set on fire. The new refugees join the earlier 45,000 refugees who are displaced since 1993.

National Highway No. 52 has been closed and curfew has been clamped in various localities. Order has also been given to shoot at site. These physical attacks are synchronised with media attack on the Muslims of Assam as they are dubbed as “Bangladeshis” without any proof. In addition to NE TV and Times Now, all local channels and newspapers are unashamedly dubbing these Muslims as “Bangladeshis” even as the Assam government denies these charges. Even PTI is parrotting these cliches.

A number of injured persons have been admitted in Guwahati Medical College and Hospital, condition of many of whom is very serious. State government is unable to control the riotous situation. Udalgiri’s Police Superintendent has been suspended and replaced by Manoj Agarwal. Another officer Abu Sufian has been given the charge of maintaining law and order in the affected areas. It may be stated here that the state of unrest has in fact been prevailing for the past one and a half months and in spite of deployment of large contingents of CRPF, army and imposition of curfew etc, end of violence is nowhere in sight. Influential Muslims in letters to Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil have appealed for immediate intervention by centre to bring the situation under control. 

Bodos in order to extend their land to form a larger Bodoland have joined hands with communal Hindu organsations like Bajrang Dal, VHP. They are openly telling Muslims that they are “Bangladeshis” and hence must quit India. Since the Congress government of the state stands with the help of Bodos crutches, it cannot do anything against the Bodos for fear of Bodos removing the crutches. (With inputs from AH Imran, editor, The Qalam Weekly)

August 17, 2008

Posted in Minorities, Riots tagged , , , , , , at 8:25 am by zarb

Bandh turns violent in Madhya Pradesh; 5 killed in Indore

 Friday, 04 July 2008:

Bhopal: At least five people were killed several injured as communal clashes erupted in many towns of Madhya Pradesh on Thursday during the BJP-VHP bandh over the Amarnath land deal in Jammu and Kashmir. Following incidents of communal flare-up, the police imposed curfew in Pandharinath, Chatripura, Malharganj and Khajrana localities of the city.

According to police sources, curfew was imposed in four areas of Indore after members of two communities indulged in violence. A violent mob also pelted stones at Khajrana police station damaging vehicles parked in the premises, an official said, adding police resorted to lathi-charge and used teargas shells to control the situation. Protestors also damaged a Reliance Fresh store at Janjeerwala square

Indore’s Inspector General of Police Anil Kumar said four people, killed in group clashes, were yet to be identified.

The situation was tense in old city areas of Bhopal where stone pelting and arson took place as pro- and anti-shutdown groups clashed, the police said.

Half a dozen vehicles were set on fire by a mob forcing the strike near a Bhopal cinema.

Violence erupted near old Bhopal’s bus stand area and adjacent localities when activists of the BJP, the Shiv Sena and the VHP forced the shopkeepers to down their shutters.

They beat up some shopkeepers and passers-by.

A trader in Satna area set himself afire after a mob allegedly looted his jewellery shop, beat him with sticks and threatened him if he reported the matter to the police.

“Bajrang Dal activists in main Satna market reached the jewellery shop of Heera Soni and asked him to close the shop. When he refused, they barged into the shop, looted some jewellery and beat him up,” Narendra Soni, the victim’s younger brother, told mediapersons.

“The activists also threatened him following which my brother out of fear set himself ablaze. The police also beat up my brother so that he does not report the matter to the higher authorities,” Narendra alleged.

Heera was taken to Satna district hospital where he breathed his last in the evening, the police said.

Clashes between people belonging to two communities also occurred in Shahjehanabad, Budhwara, Itwara and Karond in old Bhopal.

According to reports, rioting between the workers of the BJP and the VHP and some shopkeepers also took place in Jabalpur, Indore and Dhar. Several shops were damaged in Jabalpur.

Angry over the forced closure, some people threw stones at the shutdown supporters from the rooftops of their houses, triggering minor clashes in communally sensitive old Bhopal.

Authorities later deployed personnel from the Rapid Action Force (RAF) to control the situation.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said that the guilty would not be spared.

“The violence was unfortunate and a thorough probe will be conducted. The situation in the state is completely under control,” he told mediapersons at his residence late Thursday evening.

In the state capital also witnessed scattered violence in many areas. Similarly, incidents of violence have also been reported from Jhabua, Satna, Sagar, Gwalior and Jabalpur. ,Section 144 has been imposed in Jhabua to control the situation, while in Satna a businessman put himself on fire even as protesters went on a rampage in other parts of the state.

Major highways that were temporarily blocked include the Agra-Delhi highway in Delhi and Western Express Highway in Mumbai. Many trains are also being targeted; Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi Express has been stopped near Agra.

The VHP is also taking an active part in the bandh. “The forest act issue is just an excuse,” VHP general secretary Venkatesh Abdeo said. “This is a conspiracy to stop the Amarnath pilgrimage. Tomorrow it will be Vaishnodevi and Tirupati.”

The severity of the bandh is especially strong in NDA ruled states. Major disruptions have been reported in Punjab, where BJP activists have took to the streets in Ludhiana and Jalandhar.

In many parts of MP, schools and colleges have been shutdown to prevent any untoward incident.

Amarnath row: Bandh hits normal life, 2 dead in Indore

Mumbai, July 3: The nationwide bandh called by BJP and VHP on the Amarnath land transfer row turned violent in Indore on Thursday leaving two persons killed while highways were blocked and trains stopped disrupting normal life in parts of the country.

The bandh evoked mixed response but Jammu region, the epicentre of protests since Tuesday, had no respite from violence when protesters set afire vehicles and fought pitched battles with police at several places. The bandh was called in protest against revocation of Amarnath land transfer.

Another 25 persons were injured on Thursday in Jammu region taking the total number of injured to nearly 100 while curfew remained in force for the third consecutive day in parts of the region.

Normal life was hit in parts of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Assam and Jharkand where incidents of stone pelting and road blockade were reported prompting police to resort to lathicharge.

The bandh had little or no response in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Tripura. In Delhi, no untoward incident was reported but several arterial roads were blocked. Shops and business establishments remained closed in a few areas.

Curfew was imposed in four areas of Indore in Mahdya Pradesh after members of two communities indulged in violence.

A violent mob also pelted stones at Khajrana police station damaging vehicles parked in the premises, an official said, adding police canecharged and used teargas shells to control the situation. Protestors also damaged a Reliance Fresh store in Janjeerwala square

“Two persons have been killed in violence in Khajrana area while six others are injured,” Indore Collector Rakesh Shrivastava told reporters. One of the injured is reported to be in a serious condition.

As the situation turned violent in Indore, district administration imposed curfew in four areas including Muslim dominated Bombay Bazar and Mukeripura. Police have arrested five persons.

With the state BJP opting out in Gujarat, the bandh got a lukewarm response in the state.

Most of the business establishments, small shops and offices were functioning as usual in Ahmedabad while some malls and shopping centres remained closed.

Incidents of stone pelting and road blockades were reported in some parts of Maharashtra, including Mumbai and in Thane. Five BEST buses were damaged in Mumbai’s suburban Kandivili areas in stone throwing by protesters, police said.

VHP supporters halted traffic on some key roads in Vakola, Malad and Borivilli areas in north-west Mumbai and in the northeastern suburb of Ghatkopar causing hardships to officergoers, police said, adding that the saffron activists were dispersed and vehicular movement restored.

Reports of stone pelting on state-owned buses came in Maharashtra’s Thane region where BJP and VHP workers forced show-owners to down shutters.

In Punjab, scores of BJP activists stopped the Howrah-Amritsar express in Ludhiana and stopped road traffic and forced closure of shops in certain parts of the state.

elhi-Bhopal Shatabdi express was stopped by BJP and VHP workers for about 30 minutes in the cantonment station in Agra where protesters got some markets shut and a section of lawyers owing allegiance to the saffron outfits boycotted courts.

In Left-ruled West Bengal, the bandh had little impact with public transport largely remaining unaffected. Some disruption in train schedules were reported in the Sealdah section as BJP workers squatted on tracks.

VHP bandh: Curfew imposed in Indore

Indore: Curfew was imposed in Bombay Bazar and Mukeripura areas of Indore on Thursday and Section 144 has been clamped in Khajrana area following violence during the bandh called by VHP over Amarnath land issue.

Police canecharged and used teargas shells to control the situation as members of two communities indulged in violence, Indore Superintendent of Police R K Choudhry said.

Heavy police force has been deployed in the areas to prevent further flare up, he said.

Meanwhile, protestors damaged a Reliance Fresh store in Janjeerwala square. Police have arrested five persons in this connection

 

Bharath Bandh: Saffron activists forced closure of shops, blocked roads

New Delhi: Normal life was hit in parts of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra as saffron activists stopped trains, blocked roads and forced closure of shops in the wake of an all-India bandh called by BJP and VHP on the Amarnath land transfer issue.

In Left-ruled West Bengal, the bandh had little impact with public transport largely remaining unaffected. Some disruption in train schedules were reported in the Sealdah section as BJP workers squatted on tracks.

Roads were blocked and shops and business establishments remained closed in a few areas in Delhi. Protesters blocked the Delhi-Noida flyway and some arterial roads in east and central Delhi. NH 17 was also reportedly blocked in Udupi, Kundapur and Byndoor in Karnataka and Safron activist pelted stones on vehicles.

In Punjab, scores of BJP activists stopped the Howrah- Amritsar express in Ludhiana and stopped road traffic and forced closure of shops in certain parts of the state to protest revocation of the order on transfer of land to the shrine board by the Jammu and Kashmir government.

Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi express was stopped by BJP and VHP workers for about half-and-hour in the cantonment station in Agra where protesters got some markets shut and a section of lawyers owing allegiance to the saffron outfits boycotted courts.

Shops and business establishments in several parts of Karnataka remained closed with Dakshina, Udupi, Mysore, Kodagu and Hubli-Dharwad regions being hit even as bus services were affected in certain areas.

The bandh, however, failed to evoke much response in Bangalore where government offices functioned normally and public transport plied as usual. The bandh is not being support by the BJP-ruled Karnataka government, officials said.

Incidents of stone pelting and road blockades were reported in some parts of Maharashtra, including Mumbai. Five BEST buses were damaged in Mumbai’s suburban Kandivili areas in stone throwing by protesters, police said.

Cops deny illegal detention of SIMI activist

Posted in Human Rights, Minorities tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:40 am by zarb

Wife of an activist of Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) has said that police have illegally detained her husband in connection with the serial blasts in Surat.

However, Ahmedabad police have denied the allegation.

Sazia, wife of Sajid Mansuri, a SIMI activist, told reporters in Surat that her husband was picked up by the Special Operations Group of Bharuch police from Lukman Society in Bharuch last Saturday and has been untraceable since then.

Meanwhile, Joint Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad, Ashish Bhatia who is heading the investigations in the serial blasts case has denied having detained Mansuri.

“Nobody by the name of Sajid has been detained by us in connection with the serial blasts,” Bhatia said.

Bharuch District Superintendent of Police Subash Trivedi also denied picking up any man named Sajid.

Sazia, who came to her relative’s place in Surat last week said, “We were sleeping when the police team came at around 10 pm to our house and took Sajid with them. They gave me a contact number and asked me to call them after two days.”

“When I called up the number, I didn’t get clear answers,” she said adding that Sajid is innocent and has not done anything wrong.

In 2001, police had arrested 123 SIMI activists who had gathered for a meeting at Rajshree Cinema hall in Surat. Sajid was one of the participants of the meeting held after the outfit was banned in 2000. However, he had managed to escape the arrest and has been absconding since then.

August 15, 2008

Posted in Minorities tagged , , , , at 10:29 am by zarb

Arthur Road Jail: cruelty on bomb blast accused continues

Mumbai: Whether it is the culprit of Mumbai local Train Bomb Blast or Malegaon Bomb Blast both are still now waiting for completion of their case in judicial custody. Even in prison they are being tortured. Police and ATS are bothering them. Their human rights are being violated and their complaints are being neglected. These were exposed by defense lawyers and relatives of the victims of Bomb Blast. In this regard a young Muslim Mohammed Ali Shaikh resident of Gowandi who was accused of Mumbai Local Train Bomb Blast had filed a complaint in MOCOCA court some days ago.

Mohammed Ali Shaikh had accused ATS officers that they were torturing him to accept the sin frequently. He is being bothered in Arthur Road Jail Too. Police is harassing Mohammed Ali Shaikh’s wife and relatives. It is learnt that police go in mid night to his home and threaten his family. Such complaints were too registered but no heed was paid towards this complaint. Nurul Huda Shamsul Huda a victim of Malegaon Bomb Blast too lodged such complaints that since last 15 months that not only police of Nagpada and Kalachauki but also local crime branch of Malegaon and officers of Azad Nagar police station are torturing him regularly which weakened him mentally and physically. He is suffering regular headache but administrators of Arthur Road Jail is not providing him medical aid. Several complaints of bad behavior with the culprits of Mumbai Local Train Bomb Blast and Malegaon Bomb Blast but the all these complaints are not changing the attitude of authority. Lawyers and relatives of Mumbai Local Train Bomb Blast and Malegaon Bomb Blast made superintend Sawati Sathe responsible for violating the human rights and bad behavior with the victims who are in judicial custody. But so far nothing has changed even after complaints. Recently several accused of Bomb Blasts had filed a case against Sawati Sathe that Swati Sathe targeted victims of bomb blast in the wake of asking, though where hearing is continue is victims’ Jail but in spite of all these reality he was forced to wear the uniform of prisoners. The lawyers and relatives of Bomb Blasts accused that cruelty is going on the victims of Bomb Blast by violating the human rights of culprits in any manifestation. Jail authority and police are birds of a feather flock to gather.

Futile attempt to link coastal Karnataka with ISI; Is it right to ban SIMI?

Since last few years the communal lobby had put all its efforts to prove the so-called existence of ISI in coastal Karnataka, particularly in and around Bhatkal and Mangalore. After the communal riots of 1993, there had been a rise in the propaganda string, after the submission of Jagannath Shatty Commission report. Efforts in this regard by Sangh Parivar lobby took momentum. However, such charges are frequently refuted by the top brass in police departments as well as Intelligence Security Agencies.

The scene is changing

At present the state of affairs in Karnataka and its coastal belt is changing rapidly. Karnataka is under major turmoil foremost because of the changes in the political scenario and the forthcoming assembly elections in the state. Political parties are making all attempts to win the elections and the Sangh Parivar does not hesitate to spread hatred and communal disharmony and gain political mileage by winning the elections.

The stories floating in the media with regard to the two youths, who were at first arrested on charges of bike theft, are now alleged as terrorists is alarming and a cause of major concern, to every peace loving citizen.

What is the reality?

The youths arrested on the charges of bike theft are also facing the charges of running terrorist camps in Uttar Kannada and Hubli-Dharwad regions and in an area near Yellapur Dargah and other ruins. The media is obviously disturbing the peace and communal harmony by creating new stories with new twists everyday. Although, the police have declared these reports to be baseless. But, it seems in the name of Islamic terrorism, fanatic groups are out to create an atmosphere of disharmony against a particular community at any cost.

Bhatkal in this regard

Fortunately, Bhatkal town has not surfaced in this matter, still informed sources claims that some people were interrogated by the local police. Some Kannada newspapers they seemed to have connected bike theft to terrorism in Bhatkal and came with a lead story. Thanks to Almighty, there were no takers for their stories. What shall follow is still unknown, but danger seems to be lurking on the town.

Jamaat-e-Islami-Hind, SIO and SIMI

Although there had been ban on SIMI for many years now, but whenever the term of the ban seems to end the name of SIMI starts echoing again and is associated with bomb blast, terrorism and conspiracies, which becomes a reason to re impose the ban. Initially the SIMI had been connected with the extremist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a Pakistan extremist group and now it is being associated with Harkat ul Jihad Islami (HuJI), a Bangladeshi extremist organization. After the official ban and the arrest of its top leaders SIMI is almost non-existent. Surprisingly, Muhammad Ghous and Asadullah arrested in Karnataka also have been connected with SIMI.

It will be interesting to note that the media has made several attempts to connect the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and its student wing SIO with extremist organization. Now by reliable sources it is learnt, Jamaat-Islami Hind has taken the matter seriously and is consulting the legal experts to take legal action against the concerned TV channel and the newspapers.

SIMI was established for the promotion and cause of Islamic support of the student and to promote the Islamic character and values in the student community. Though, established in 70’s it had extreme point of views with regard to some issues but their involvement in criminal and antinational activities was never proved, nor their links with terrorist organizations were established with concrete proof by any court of law or any tribunal till today.

Just on the basis of its so-called ideological extremism, the government is extending its period of ban every two years. The same was done this year too. The ban would have come to an end on 8th of February, 2008, but it is now extended for another two years.

In this regard the flexibility of the Law and the crime which say that no matter a criminal go scot-free but an innocent should not be punished, has been set aside. Many innocent Muslim youths in the name of SIMI, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Harkat-Ul-Jihad-e- Islami and other such alleged terrorist organizations are being arrested and are languishing in jail for no apparent crime committed by them.

Why only SIMI?

In fact disruption, destruction or terrorism must not have any place in a civilized society. But suppression and strangulation of voices against injustice, justice by labeling it as terrorism is a kind of state terrorism. The state-sponsored terrorism (as in the case of Gujarat riots), is more dangerous to the civil society. In this regard why only SIMI should be vindicated? Do the view points of the Sangh pariwar’s ABVP are not based on communal extremism and sectarian feelings? Aren’t the member organizations or outfits of Sangh Parivar are not involved in massacre and genocides of Muslim and don’t they cross the limits of madness in communal riots in the names of Durga Vahini, Bajrangdal, Hindu Jagraan Vedikke, Shri Ram Sena Hanuman Sena and Vishwa Hindu Parishad. To depict this, violence in Gujarat and Mumbai speaks a lot. If just and independent investigation is conducted then wouldn’t it reveal that the views of SIMI are the counter products of the practical extremism and terrorism of these militant organizations of Sangh Parivar, which has been many a time backed by law enforcing agencies and even the state it self.

If it is so and definitely it is so then why SIMI alone should be banned? Why the militant groups of Sangh Parivar are not banned? But the question is who will answer this?

July 26, 2008

Muslims in Mumbai at the Receiving End

Posted in Human Rights, Minorities tagged , , , , , , at 10:37 am by zarb


Muslims in Mumbai at the Receiving End

Abuse and discrimination after the train blasts in Mumbai

The Milli Gazette Online


The 11 July 2006 blasts in suburban railway trains in the western Indian city of Mumbai killed at least 207 people and injured more than 700 according to official sources. No individual or group officially claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, a large segment of the media, the police as well as a number of politicians and Hindu nationalist groups were swift to point the finger at Islamic ‘terrorist organisations’. A leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party declared that “in the Mumbai blasts case, the terrorists were most probably Muslims”.

K.P. Raghuvanshi, head of Mumbai’s Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) in charge of investigating the bombings initially, alleged the involvement of a well-coordinated “big power”. The Mumbai police now claim the involvement of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan.

Muslim leaders strongly condemned the bombings. Nevertheless, immediately in the aftermath of the bombings, about 350 men, mostly of Muslim origin and from Muslim majority areas in Mumbai, were detained overnight by the ATS for interrogation. The suburb of Mahim was especially targeted by the ATS and more than 250 people from the area were detained and interrogated a few days only after the blasts.

A directive was further issued by the government of the state of Maharashtra – of which Mumbai is the capital – calling on the state police to “thoroughly investigate every Muslim who travels abroad”.

Accordingly, police forces carried out a number of investigations, conducting raids without proper legal documents, visiting and questioning several Muslim executives travelling abroad, especially to West Asia, and asking them to provide proof of their travel. In the neighbouring state of Gujarat, where violence against the Muslim community has been more pronounced, and indeed vicious, the state home department asked the police to monitor the movements of certain groups and collect details of the members of the group.

Labelling a community

The harassment and discriminatory treatment even led some to conceal their religious identities, with some Muslim men shaving off their beards and women casting aside their burqas. Heena Kausar, for instance, suffered humiliation and harassment on a public bus. The police stopped the bus she was in for a ‘routine check’ and searched her. “They picked me from all those passengers because I wore a burqa,” she said. “A male constable asked me to lift my veil and then frisked me,” she told reporters. The trend of concealing religious identity is not a new phenomenon in Mumbai. The same phenomenon was seen in Mumbai’s Muslim-majority areas in the aftermath of the 1993 blasts in the city.

In Mumbai and elsewhere, Muslim men were picked up for questioning and often detained for days. Some were reportedly tortured. According to Farhana Shah, a lawyer representing some of those accused in the blasts case, “police high-handedness with Muslims in Mumbai isn’t new.” What is new is “that the community is being seen only through the prism of terror. The result is that when you pick up educated innocents and slap them around for a couple of days, they walk out as different people. It just ends up reinforcing their sense of being persecuted victims.” One of Ms Shah’s clients who was picked up by the police was whipped with a canvas belt and verbally abused. He was released three days later after the police, he said, realised he “knew nothing about the blasts”.

Mumbai Director General of Police P.S. Pasricha was reported as saying: “Yes, we did a lot of combing and questioning just after the blasts. After that, however, we have been very, very discreet.” Police in the northeastern Indian state of Tripura detained 20 Muslim men, including 11 from Maharashtra. Those held had no specific charges against them except that they were found close to the Bangladesh border. Muslim members of Parliament, outraged by the way Muslims were harassed in the name of investigations, asked Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ensure that such abuses were halted. They drew attention to the fact that the basic civil and political rights of hundreds of Muslims had been violated since the beginning of the investigations and that police forces had completely disregarded the requirements to be followed in cases of arrest and detention as laid down by the Supreme Court of India in 1997. The fundamental right of a person who has been arrested or detained to inform a friend or relative was ignored.

A group of nearly 150 Muslim scholars raised its concern during a conference with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, stressing the danger of the “accused presumed to be guilty” approach adopted by security agencies during investigation as well as the use of the term ‘Islamic terrorism’, thereby accusing the entire Muslim community as “collaborators of evil”. It urged the Prime Minister not to “tar the community with the same brush”. The fact that legal rights have been neglected and human rights violated has increased the sense of victimisation felt by the Muslim community. According to Maulana Mehmood Daryabadi, General Secretary of the All India Ulema Council, it is “as if the police are out to prove that members of only one particular community are terrorists”.

Prime Minister Singh acknowledged a few weeks after the blasts that “terrorism has resulted in certain sections of our population being targeted, with the result that a wrong impression has been created of the radicalization of the entire Muslim community”. He cautioned that while dealing with terrorism, no innocent person should be harassed. If a mistake is made, effective remedial and corrective measures must be taken well in time, he said.

Statements by Hindu nationalist organisations and parties, however, have continued to take a strident, often violent, stand. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) advocating, for instance, has accused madrasas of being “breeding grounds for terror infrastructure” and, referring to a group of radical activists, said they should be “ruthlessly crushed”.

Leaders of the BJP have accused the Indian government of adopting a ‘soft’ stance and have called for the revival of tough anti-terrorism measures such as the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), which was repealed in 2004. The danger of the reinstatement of POTA lies in the fact that it was used with particular force against the Muslim community after the bombings in Mumbai in 2003.

Following a number of allegations of the police’s misbehaviour during investigations, Mumbai Police Commissioner A.N. Roy sent a letter to Muslim community leaders in September 2006 to reassure them that any police official showing bias against Muslims would be punished. His letter was sent to more than 100 community leaders in an effort to prove the police’s dedication to justice. No innocent would be targeted and in case there were complaints about harassment, Roy assured the community that he as well as other top police officials would meet them personally to redress their grievances: “there is no question of bias against people of a certain community… our investigation machinery has been set up in a way to ensure there is no bias. Still, if there are any holes in this system, we are ready to amend it. Police officials who are guilty of any bias will be punished”.

However, there has yet to be any concrete example of a police official being punished for violations ranging from racist verbal abuse to physical torture.

The silence of the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) is also appalling. The only reaction of the NHRC after the blasts was to issue a notice regarding the difficulties being faced by the next of kin of the deceased and the victims suffering serious injuries. It made no mention of the discrimination faced by the Muslim community or of the violations of human rights committed in the name of investigation, arbitrary arrests and unlawful detentions.

Alienation of the Muslim community

As Muslim leaders have warned, this situation has further alienated a community that was already facing marginalisation and discrimination before the blasts. The town of Mumbra, 40 kilometres from Mumbai and having a large Muslim population, was labelled “terror city” as a result of an alleged plot to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in 2004, and has been a refuge for Muslim families fleeing from violence in states such as Gujarat.

However, living in Mumbra also means living with labels. “Yes, we can educate ourselves, but now, especially after the train blasts, who will give us jobs with Mumbra in our address column?” is the main feeling amid Mumbra’s Muslim population. Interviews and testimonies of Muslims living in Mumbai and other places around the country confirm this trend. The resentment and fear are palpable. Police forces meanwhile are stationed in large numbers in these areas.

This feeling of alienation and discrimination of the Muslim minority is particularly dangerous in a country with strong Hindu fundamentalist forces, which have a vested interest in promoting Hindu-Muslim conflict. The anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat in 2002 blighted India’s claims of being a tolerant society. The failure of the State was striking – it was not a failure born of incompetence; rather, the evidence pointed to the state apparatus willfully abdicating its duties in favour of pursuing its communal and ideological agenda. The State then failed to mitigate the effects of the horror, dispensing with the necessary measures to restore citizens’ faith in the State machinery – adequate financial compensation for lives and property lost and the quick, fair and efficient trials to bring the guilty to book.

Now, with the community continuing to be the target of discriminatory treatment in the aftermath of the July 2006 blasts, the sense of alienation is bound to increase. In view of the global tendency to categorise Muslims as “terrorists,” it is important that India gives a clear signal to its Muslim minority that it does not take this position. The respect of a minority’s rights is fundamental to secure peace and unity, especially in a country like India that claims to tolerate, value, and indeed celebrate, its multiculturalism. (Human Rights Features)

June 30, 2008

Muslims in the Indian army, only 2% ?

Posted in Minorities tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 9:23 am by zarb

Muslims in Army : Hiding what`s well-known

The reason for the Muslim under-representation in the Indian army, or the Sikh over-representation, is something that lies partly in history, and its public disclosure would harm nobody.

There’s something surreal about India’s debate on Muslim under-representation in the Indian army. If the defence minister says the army has done no head-count of its Muslims, how did the army give an exact Muslim figure of 29,093 last month? The figure is backed by a retired lieutenant-general who says the Muslims are 2 per cent.

Whatever the exact percentage, a huge Muslim under-representation in our army is a fact. So is a huge Sikh over-representation. See the contrast. Sikhs form 1.86 per cent of India’s population but number around 8 per cent in the Indian army. Muslims form 13 per cent of India’s population but are 2 per cent in the army. Why should this truth about Muslim under-representation be suppressed? Or that of Sikh over-representation? But an irrational love of secrecy causes Indian rulers to hide information whose public disclosure would harm nobody.

Just as Muslims are under-represented in the army, so are the Bengalis, Biharis, Oriyas, south Indians or Gujaratis. And just as Sikhs are over-represented, so are the Jats, Dogras, Garhwalis, Kumaonis, Gurkhas, Marathas, Pathans and Punjabis.

The reason for this disparity lies in history. The Indian army’s recruitment pattern was set 150 years ago by India’s 1857 uprising. Traumatised by the rebellion, the British army adopted a recruitment policy that punished the groups which rebelled and rewarded the ones that stayed loyal. Because Muslims of Awadh, Bihar and West Bengal led the uprising, the British army stopped hiring soldiers from these areas.

Also blacklisted from these places were high-caste Hindus whose regiments in Bengal had also mutinied. In contrast, the British raised the recruitment of castes that had stood by the British to put down the uprising. These castes were the Sikhs, the Jats, Dogras, Garhwalis, Kumaonis, Gurkhas, Marathas, Pathans, plus Punjabis, both Hindus and Muslims. Honoured as martial races, they received preferential treatment in army recruitment for the next 90 years. Like any institution, the Indian army’s a prisoner of the past.

Even today, it favours enlisting men from the martial races. Their over-representation in the Indian army is huge. Figures bear this out. Of 2.87 lakh jawans hired by the army in the last three years, a disproportionate 44,471 came from three “martial” states, Punjab, Haryana, and the mountain state of Uttaranchal. So these states which account for 5 per cent of India’s population provided 15 per cent of India’s army jawans.

In contrast, the fewest recruits came from “non-martial” West Bengal, Bihar and Gujarat. These three states account for 30 per cent of India’s population, but they provided only 14 per cent of army jawans in this three-year period. So the Indian army has not only a religion-based disparity in recruitment, but also one based on caste and region. A glimpse of this discrimination was provided by a press release issued by a defence office in Jammu five years ago. Seeking recruits for the Indian army, the press release said: “No vacancies for Muslims and tradesmen.” Meaning that martial Dogras were welcome to apply, but not Hindu business castes like the Baniyas and the Khatris.

About the Muslim under-representation in the Indian army, the reasons are three. One was Partition. Before Independence, Muslims were around 25 per cent of the Indian army and 25 per cent of undivided India. But when India broke up and Muslim soldiers were asked to choose between India and Pakistan, they joined Pakistan en masse. So Muslim numbers in the Indian army dropped so drastically that they were only 2 per cent in 1953, according to India’s then minister of state for defence. Jawaharlal Nehru himself expressed concern that “hardly any Muslims” were left in the army. And Muslim numbers never really picked up in the last 60 years for a well-known reason.

India’s military establishment hesitates to hire Muslims as soldiers because it suspects Muslim loyalty to India. This discrimination is a natural outcome of India and Pakistan’s bitter hostility over 60 years. In similar situations, the same thing happens all over the world. The Israeli army doesn’t trust its Arab soldiers in jobs related to defence security. The Buddhist Sinhalese army under-recruits its Hindu Tamils lest their sympathies lie with the Tamil Tigers. After 9/11, US army recruiters would probably screen a Muslim American volunteer more thoroughly than a Christian American. Thanks to our four wars with Pakistan, the same anti-Muslim animus works here in army recruitment.

Proof of it lies in an enormous mass of documentary and other evidence which expresses distrust of Muslims. Otherwise, why does India have separate regiments for the Sikhs, Jats, Dogras, Garhwalis, Kumaonis, Mahars, the Nagas, even the Gurkhas, but not a single Muslim regiment? This is tragic but it’s a truth which shouldn’t be suppressed. It should be acknowledged and dealt with.

Events have consequences. Muslim under-recruitment in the Indian army is a consequence of Partition. India and Pakistan’s hostility is seen in both countries in Hindu versus Muslim terms. So it’s natural for India’s Hindu army establishment to distrust a Muslim who wants to join as a soldier.

This prejudice itself discourages qualified Muslim youths from applying, which drives down Muslim numbers even more. Another reason for Muslim under-recruitment is the relatively poor education of Muslims. When they try to enlist as soldiers, they are simply out-competed by better-educated Sikh, Hindu, and Christian youths. So Muslim leaders are quite right that Muslim under-recruitment in the army deprives the community of a good, life-long source of employment. It’s a sad situation not so easy to correct.

In life, however, one man’s meat is another man’s poison. The under-representation of Muslims and other caste or regional groups benefits the over-represented ones. The composition of the Indian army is totally askew numbers-wise. West Bengal’s population is eight times that of Uttaranchal. But Uttaranchal provided almost the same number of army recruits as West Bengal last year. Compare a “martial” Punjab with a non-martial Gujarat. Punjab’s population is half that of Gujarat. But it provided four times as many people to the Indian army as Gujarat. The Indian army hired far more recruits in Rajasthan than in Tamil Nadu though Tamil Nadu’s population is higher. Essentially, the Indian army is dominated numbers-wise by Sikhs and Hindi-speaking Hindus of north India. The current status quo suits them perfectly.

Arvind Kala / New Delhi March 04, 2006, Business Standard

www.business-standard.com


June 2, 2008

How to combat anti-minority bias in the police?

Posted in Minorities tagged , , , at 5:18 pm by zarb

How to combat anti-minority bias in the police?
— By Asghar Ali Engineer

The Supreme Court has recently directed the Government of India to implement the recommendations of Dharma Vira Commission on the police reform. These recommendations were made nearly 25 years ago but the Government hesitated to implement it and some police officers filed a PIL and the highest court in the land took more than a decade to deliver its judgement on the issue.

It is a well-known fact that politicians interfere with police functioning and arbitrarily transfer inconvenient officers. It is hoped that the implementation of Dharma Vira Commission might give much needed relief to IPS officers to work with a degree of autonomy. However, there are differences among police officers on this question. Most of the police top brass has welcomed the Supreme Court directive, as it would make them independent in functioning. But police officers like KPS Gill have dissenting views. Mr. Gill feels that the police cannot function independently of political bosses.

According to Mr. Gill, “Reforms recommended can only enthuse the armchair administrator and will do little to improve the operation and efficiency of either the beat constable or his superintending officer.” Mr. Riebeiro, another top cop, on the other hand enthusiastically welcomes the Supreme Court directive. He holds politicians by and large responsible for malfunctioning of police. He says, “Selfish politicians choose the wrong persons for the top jobs because the corrupt and the ineffective are willing to carry out the dictates and wishes of their political masters for their own survival. It is classic case of two persons scratching each other’s back.”

Thus we see that police officers themselves are divided in their opinion on political meddling. However, I must say that most top officers may not agree with Mr. Gill and may welcome the Supreme Court directive. There is no doubt that there is too much of meddling today by politicians. Efficient officers find it very difficult to function professionally. However, we cannot judge the Supreme Court directive in pure black and white terms. There are grey areas, which cannot be ignored. We, in this article, are more concerned about police behaviour towards minorities and handling of communal riots and similar disturbances. The police officers are generally have their own biases for variety of reasons. It is, therefore, necessary to take this factor into account.

In fact there is dilemma either way, whether police is given full autonomy and transfers are controlled by a committee or police works under overall control of politicians. If the present system continues honest and secular police officers are likely to suffer. We see in most of the major communal riots, honest and secular police officers are not allowed to function in a professional way. If politicians want to benefit from communal riots they arbitrarily transfer those officers who are determined to control violence.

This has happened in number of major communal riots. The classical case now is of Gujarat carnage of 2002. The BJP Government headed by Narendra Modi was interested in provoking communal violence and arbitrarily transferred all those police officers who tried to checkmate communal flare up in their jurisdiction. I myself interviewed one such top officer who was arbitrarily transferred just because he was efficiently controlling outburst of violence. And there were number of such officers.

During Mumbai riots of 1992-93 too there were police officers who could not effectively function because of political interference, though not from ruling party politicians. However, situation was not as worse as that in Gujarat. In Mumbai riots there were many police officers who were under direct influence of Shiv Sena and Shiv Sena came to power just a couple of years after the 1992-93 riots and rewarded all those officers who had done its bidding through promotions and profitable postings. One such officer was even made police commissioner of Mumbai soon after Shiv Sena came to power.

After the Mumbai riots I had discussion with many police officers who felt that Dharma Vira Report should be implemented so that police could function more professionally as all those officers who had not done the Sena’s bidding were under cloud. If seen from this perspective the Supreme Court directive should be welcomed.

However, we also have to examine this matter from a different perspective. The police have its own anti-minority biases, as pointed out above. If there is no political control and police functions with these biases, minorities are bound to suffer. We can take recent example of harassment of Muslims by the police after train blasts in Mumbai. Large number of innocent Muslims were detained and interrogated without any substantial evidence except that they were Muslims. Their protests fell on deaf ears.

Many Muslims met the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi and drew their attention to how innocent Muslims were being harassed by the Mumbai police and Prime Minister assured them that he will speak to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra in this connection and that innocent Muslims will not be harassed. If the police is not accountable to the elected politicians such misuse of power by the police cannot be stopped. Even after the bomb blasts on 12th March 1993, there were serious complaints of harassment by the police and some police officers even tried to make money by threatening innocent Muslims to detain under TADA if they did not pay up.

Thus in a way the Supreme Court directive on the police reforms can be a double edged sword cutting both ways. The police officers are any way are not accountable to people and politicians are. But if politicians themselves take sectarian and communal view and depend on the votes of one particular community, there will be absolutely no remedy.

What is then to be done? Will the Supreme Court directive help improve police functioning or not? Should politicians retain their control over appointment and transfer of IPS officers? I think, despite problems pointed out above, the reform will be beneficial on the whole. In fact this much reform may not be sufficient, much more needs to be done. The present police act was enacted by the British rulers in 19th century (in 1861).

The main objective of this was to use the police for strengthening and protecting the British rule and to suppress the people’s movements. In other words it was pro-British ruler police. Unfortunately this colonial legacy is continuing, as our rulers also want to use the police force for protecting their own interests. They do not want to loose control over the police.

What we need today is people-friendly police. The police act of 1861 needs to be drastically re-caste and this should be done earlier than later. The intension of policing is not to suppress people but to help them. The police should be anti-crime, not anti-people as it is today. The whole outlook of the police has to undergo drastic change. Numbers of things are needed to be done for realising this goal.

First of all the training to be imparted to the police has to change radically. I often find that police attitude, due mainly to improper training, is often communal, casteist and gender-biased. They have hardly appreciation of human rights and their protection. Colonial philosophy cannot impart such sensibilities to them. The lower level officials are much more prone to these prejudices compared to IPS officers.

A glance at training schedule would show that there is hardly much in it to re-orient police thinking on secular and democratic lines. There is hardly any mention of secularism and its importance in multi-religious and multi-cultural society. Also, no concerted efforts are made to remove their caste and gender biases. On the contrary, in appointments, transfers and promotions caste and community factors become primary, and professional competence hardly counts.

Not only this, more often than not, bribery is the only way to get prime posting and politicians demand hefty amounts for appointing officers in good posts. Thus police officers can neither be honest, nor free from caste and communal prejudices. In this respect if transfers are controlled by committees which include persons of integrity and commitment, it may make lot of difference.

My experience with the police shows that the policemen are not inherently communal but most of them are horribly misinformed about minorities. They carry prejudices acquired in schools and colleges as well as in society around them. But if they are properly informed it makes all the difference. I have conducted several police workshops at different levels – from constabulary to high officials – and I always felt change of attitude at the end of workshops.

Coupled with implementation of the Supreme Court directive, if proper training is imparted to the police officials, I am sure it will produce good results in short terms and re-casting of the Police Act, will help things in the long run. It is indeed high time all these measures are taken with a sense of urgency. The country has already paid heavy price for neglecting these much needed police reforms and re-orienting of police attitudes through proper training .