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Fear grips minorities in Surat

Surat: One hundred and twenty-three persons recently arrested in Surat (Gujarat) for allegedly belonging to the banned organisation, SIMI were in fact not SIMI workers but members of Milli Tanzeem and Tanzeem Ahya-e Ummat (Organisation for revival of Muslim Nation) formed in 1991. Police arrested them on the ground of false accusations and subjected them to severe physical torture.

These ideas were expressed by local responsible authorities of the organisations before a delegation of journalists from Mumbai. Surat police, however, claims that all these persons are active members of SIMI who came here from seven different states of the country and that police has got solid proofs against them.

Police had raided and arrested these people one day before the educational conference which was scheduled to be held on 29 and 30 December last under the auspices of Tanzeem Ahya-e Ummat against the saffronisation of education and had accused them of belonging to SIMI.

People arrested included , in addition to highly educated people associated with different Milli institutions and organisations who had come from all over the country for participation in this conference, practicing advocate of Mumbaiís session court, Neyaz Ahmad, Technical Manager of Ahmedabadís Cell Phone Co. Shahidul Hasan, Urdu journalist of Aurangabad (Maharashtra), Ziauddin Siddiqui, Dr Muhammad Abdul Haq Abdus Sattar etc.

According to the local responsible officer of the organisation, Idris Mansoori, the accusations under which these people were arrested are completely baseless. The conference was organised neither for any secret objective nor was there any suspicion for any objectionable activity. The arrested people were put in police custody for fourteen days and their bail applications are in court.

Police sources denied the accusations that excesses have been meted out to the arrested persons or they have been physically tortured. The Addl. Police Commissioner, Ashish Bhatia said that majority of the arrested persons had been associated with SIMI in the past. The police and secret agencies of different states of the country also have confirmed this. They also showed all the documents to press correspondents which indicate the association of arrested persons with SIMI.

Mr Bhatia further said that the arrested persons are neither habitual criminals nor terrorists. They include highly educated persons but some of them are misguided young men also who in any case are associated with SIMI. Activities of some of them are suspicious and they have been arrested in the past. He said that these people are trying to revive the banned SIMI under a different name which is also a legal offence.

He also informed that in addition to suspicious cell phone and sim card, police have also recovered from these people e-mail messages transmitted to foreign countries for obtaining financial assistance from there.

Meanwhile, the lawyers of the accused persons Khadija Sayyed and Rashid Qureshi, advocate told newspaper correspondents that the accused were prospective participants of an educational conference who were arrested before the conference was held but participation in such conferences is not illegal. The Constitution of India has allowed these things to us.

The Lawyers also said that according to the guidelines of the Supreme Court, the accused persons should be medically examined before and after presentation in courts.

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