Victim of police interrogation in Mumbai’s recent serial bomb blasts

Mumbai: Consequent upon the serial bomb blasts in Mumbai on 13 July, the process of arrest of Muslim youths, as expected, as suspects started. Among those arrested was one Faiz Usmani, a native of Mau (UP) who worked as a shop owner and lived in Mumbai. He was arrested on 16 July and during interrogation his condition began to deteriorate. He was admitted by the police in Sion Hospital where he died the same night i.e. midnight of 16th and 17th July. The first conclusion that can normally be drawn from death under such circumstances is that the concerned person must have died because of inhuman physical and mental torture by police during interrogation. Family members of Faiz Usmani and others obviously blamed police for his sudden death who was otherwise a normal and healthy person in his early forties but police insist that he died because of cardiac arrest and not because of excesses or torture because he was simply being questioned and no physical harm was done to him. It was also found that there was no indication or mark of physical injury on his body. Preliminary post-mortem report also suggested that he had died because of brain hemorrhage.

Anyway, his death created a storm everywhere and particularly Muslim leaders and organisations strongly criticised the police and put the blame on the police for its excessive mental torture leading to his death due of brain hemorrhage. Doctors at the Sion Hospital said before the post-mortem that he had died because of hypertension. According to the police, he was a patient of high blood pressure but had not taken medicines for about a couple of days. According to his family members, on that fateful day (16 July) as he had come home for lunch, around 7/8 persons in plain clothes came to his house and took him away, saying that he was being taken to the police station for questioning in connection with the bomb blasts. It may be stated that in these blasts which had taken place at 3 different places within a gap of 30 to 45 minutes about 20 persons had died and as many as 130 persons were injured, many of them seriously. Police had taken him for questioning on the ground that his elder brother Afzal Usmani is already an accused in Ahmadabad bomb blast case that had taken place about two years ago.

Muslim leaders and organisations have strongly condemned bomb blasts. They blame ATS personnel responsible for Faiz Usmani’s death. Mumbai’s Director General of Police has ordered a CID enquiry into his death. Mumbai’s Deputy Commissioner of Police, Nisar Tamboli also confirmed that a CID enquiry has been ordered into his death but many persons and organisations have demanded that the enquiry should be conducted by the Natinal Human Rights Commission because a CID probe will have little meaning as it amounts to one wing of police investigating the action of another wing of the police. Some like Abu Asim Azmi, Samajwadi Party leader of Mumbai and Maharashtra have demanded judicial enquiry into his death.

However, the position is still not clear and final post-mortem report has not yet been received. Among all such demands and controversies, the funeral prayer of Faiz Usmani was offered under strong police security and he was finally laid to rest on Monday 18 July in Mumbai.
MG News Desk

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 August 2011 on page no. 11

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