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Great job by Kanpur cops
By Obaid Nasir in Lucknow

The Kanpur Police did a ‘great job’ when it arrested Muhammad Sulaiman, principal of the local Faiz-e-Am Inter College and state president of the Indian National League on charges of ‘inciting communal riot’ in Kanpur. He was presented before the ACMM (II) Gur Charan Srivastava who sent him to jail. His bail pleas have since been rejected by the magistrate.

A special task force of UP police arrested Sulaiman from a local five-star hotel where he had gone to meet a journalist from The Times of India. A raiding police party accomplished this job as if it was arresting a hard core terrorist.

From the hotel Sulaiman was brought to the Cantonment police station where he was interrogated by Ashok Tripathi, the police circle officer. It is still not known what Sulaiman told this police officer. Later he was sent to court under heavy police escort. Police has registered many cases against him in Beconganj, Chamanganj and Kotwali police stations. Sulaiman has denied all the charges. He told journalists present in the court campus that he never provoked Muslims and never displayed any provocative poster. It is a conspiracy hatched by the district administration at the behest of BJP and VHP, he said. He demanded a judicial probe into the riots in the city last month.

His bail application was moved by Muhammad Ali, a senior advocate of the city. The state counsel argued that at Sulaiman's call Muslims protested against the ‘alleged’ burning of the Qur’an by displaying black bands and indulged in subversive activities. Advocate Muhammad Ali was joined by Lakhan Lal, Khalil Ahmad and 15 other senior advocates of the city to secure bail for Sulaiman. They also demanded that they be allowed to meet Sulaiman. The court ordered the district administration to take decision in accordance with the rules, regulations and police manual.

On the other hand the Jamiatul Ulma-e Islam's Kanpur unit has arranged for free legal aid to all those who have been falsely implicated in different cases during the communal riot in Kanpur. Jamiatul Ulama officials issued a joint statement requesting the family members of all those who have been killed, injured, looted or falsely implicated in the riot to contact the local office of the Jamiat so that their cases could be pleaded in courts. It has also requested Muslims to show restraint and wisdom even in most provocative atmosphere.

The Milli Ittehad Morcha, headed by a prominent local Muslim leader, Abul Barkat Nazmi, has also constituted an advocates’ panel which will not only plead the cases of the riot victims in courts but will also survey the affected areas and prepare a report of damages and will endeavour to secure compensation from the government. Nazmi said that ‘we do not trust any government commission as in most cases their reports and recommendations are put in cold storage. The Morcha has constituted two panels; one is headed by Saeed Naqvi, advocate, to prepare a report and an estimate the damages and the other is headed by Sharafuddin and his colleagues to look after the cases in courts. Nazmi has also appealed to Muslims not to come on to the road to protest as ‘our most peaceful protest and demonstration will also be manipulated and shown to be provocative.’ He said that the Muslims of Kanpur have paid a very heavy price.Our innocent brothers were killed , property worth crores of rupees destroyed, our mosques were damaged and our youths have been arrested and implicated in false cases. He said that Muslims should remain conscious and beware of mischievous elements. He suggested that Muslims should send post cards to the President of India to lodge protest and should abide by the decisions taken by the ‘elders’ of the community.

As usual, and perhaps as planned by the state government, the State Minority Commission failed in discharging its constitutional duty. The almost dead commission was not expected to come alive in order to give a healing touch to the Muslims of Kanpur, but since its chairman, Irshad Mirza, hails from this city it was expected that he would tour the affected areas and will help bring to book the guilty police and PAC officials and will present the true picture to the state government. Its report and recommendations would have gone a long way in doing justice to the community as the state government would have found it difficult to ignore it and the opposition would have made it an issue in the on-going budget session of the state assembly.. However, according to available information, Mirza and commission secretary Abdul Wahid contacted the district and police officials in the local circuit house and sought details of the riot including the true numbers of the victims and damages. Superintendent of Police (Crime) Hira Lal and Sub-Divisional Magistrate told the commission that the the enquiry is going on and after its completion the true picture will emerge. Wahid said that a committee will visit Kanpur in the first week of April and will submit its report shortly for further action and perusal.

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