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Published in the 16-31 Dec 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Delegation of Muslim organisations meets CM Reddy

Maulana NaseerudddinHyderabad: A delegation of Muslim organisations led by the United Muslim Forum president Maulana Hameeduddin Aquil Hassami and Majlis-e-Itehadul Muslimeen (MIM) president Salahuddin Owaisi met Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Rajashekhar Reddy on November 20 and demanded a judicial inquiry into the arrest of Maulana Naseerudddin and the killing of Mujahid Saleem Azmi by the Gujarat police and the involvement of local CID in the incident.

The CM assured the delegation to set up a special cell of senior police officers to deal with Gujarat police and directed the senior police officers to make public the report of CBI-CID inquiry into the arrest of Maulana Naseeruddin and other persons in connection with an alleged plot to carry out bomb blasts in the city and having links with Lashkar-e-Toiba. The delegation said that the government had earlier promised to make the report public within 25 days, but three months have elapsed and the report still has not been disclosed. The delegation included member of the parliament from Hyderabad, Asauddin Owaisi and five legislators of MIM, Suleman Sikande, vice president All India Majlise Tameer-e- Millat, Abdul Basith Anwar, Ameer Jamat-e-Islami Andhra Pradesh, Syed Akbar Nizamuddin Hussaini, Ameer Jamia Nizamia, Syed Qubool Pasha Shuttari, President Majlis Ulema-e-Deccan and Md Rahimuddin Ansari, secretary Darul Uloom, Hyderabad. They urged the CM to revamp the police administration in the state. The delegation demanded that the Gujarat police should first convince the AP government about the prima facie evidence against wanted persons, only then it should go ahead with arrests. 

The subsequent incidents after the arrest of Maulana Naseeruddin have angered and disappointed the Muslim community in Hyderabad. The MIM, a key political force in Hyderabad described the killing of the youth in police firing as failure of CM YS Rajshekhar Reddy in purging the police departments of communal elements. The MIM president Salahuddin Owaisi said, " He (the CM) has failed in his fundamental duty of making necessary changes in administration after taking over and now the results are before us."

The government had ordered a CID inquiry into the arrest of Maulana Naseeruddin and eight other persons on charges of links with Lashkar-e-Toiba. The CID report facilitated the release of Maulana Naseeruddin. But now his arrest by the Gujarat police on a POTA case related to the murder of former Gujarat home minister Haren Pandya has put the state government in trouble with Muslims.

The people of old city are not only angry with government and police but they are also angry with Muslim political parties. MIM legislator Ahmad Pasha Quadri was manhandled by an irate mob on November 2 at the house of Mujahid Saleem. MIM critics say that it did not fully oppose the arrest of Maulana Naseeruddin and others because the maulana had shown pro-Congress tilt in the recent by-elections. But the MIM vehemently denies the charges.

Meanwhile, a magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the killing of Mujahid Saleem by the Gujarat police. Minister for Minority Welfare Mohammad Fareeduddin said that a judicial enquiry might also be ordered if needed. The Hyderabad city police have already filed a murder case against the Ahmedabad crime branch assistant commissioner Narendra Kumar Amin and his five colleagues. They had opened fire on a group of people when the group had obstructed them from taking away Maulana Naseeruddin. The firing resulted in the death of Mujahid Saleem.

The Hyderabad police commissioner RP Singh said that a team of Hyderabad police officials will soon visit Ahmedabad to question Amin and other police officials.

The Hyderabad city police is being criticised for mishandling of the entire issue. The CM Rajashekhar Reddy was upset with the top police officials including Hyderabad city police commissioner RP Singh and Director General of police SR Sukumar for keeping him in dark about the whole episode.

The Congress government in the state is embarrassed that the police from another state, that too from Gujarat, fired on the public right opposite the state police headquarters when the local police was trying to take control of the situation through other means.

Hindutva parties, the BJP and VHP have criticised the registering of the murder cases against the Gujarat police and accused the state government of trying to appease the minorities. The BJP leaders said that the firing was not "premeditated" and that the Gujarat police fired for self-dense. The VHP urged the police to arrest those who tried to take away Maulana Naseeruddin. 

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