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UP terror-accused: much more needed than justice to Qasmi and Mujahid

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By Ravi Shekhar

Lucknow: The newly-elected UP government’s decision to withdraw cases against two innocent Muslim youths, who were implicated in 2007 serial blasts in UP court premises, is laudable if not delayed. Knowing the weak case, hardships faced by the families and the unthinkable torture of boys in jail, a relief was long overdue. According to several fact-finding reports by human rights activists and other civil society organisations, the two boys, Tarique Qasmi and Khalid Mujahid, both from Azamgarh district, were initially abducted by the STF and their arrest was shown at least a week later by the agency at far away places from where they were actually kidnapped.  

The wave of change in UP was actually based upon some very populist poll promises made by the Samajwadi Party (SP).  Be it free electricity to farmers, laptops and tablets to students, doubling the unemployment allowance to unemployed youths, or releasing innocent Muslim youths implicated in terror cases. The SP leadership tried to reach out to every section of the society. Within a month after swearing in, when the government is seen contradicting on many issues like free electricity or unemployment allowance, the decision of withdrawing terror-related fake cases has sent a big relief to the minorities in the state.

But the SP’s previous stand on terror incidents contains many ifs and buts. For instance, this is the same party which stood by the prosecution’s story behind Rampur CRPF camp incident which, according to local residents and some reliable fact-finding teams, was not actually a terror attack. Rather, the CRPF men had fired at each other out of their personal hubbub. As a result, there had been some casualties. A lot of Muslim innocent boys of nearby areas had been arrested and subjected to inhuman torture to force them to confess to a crime they did not commit. Despite having several proofs that the whole matter was framed to hide internal indiscipline and dispute in CRPF, SP, like many others, continued to regard it as a terror attack. What’s more, they even commemorated the “martyrs” of the attack and even arranged programmes in the district to celebrate their “martyrdom”. None of the party members are ready to talk about the fate of Mohammad Sharif, Gulab Khan, Baba Khan (all residents of Moradabad) Sarwar (Kunda district), Sabahuddin from Bihar and Fahim Ansari.

The move made by the government is just a drop in the ocean. In a state where over 90 boys are controversially detained and their number is ever-growing, withdrawing two cases, after five years of torture and trauma, is a mere cruel joke.

Interestingly, the previous Mayawati government had already accepted the controversy of this particular case and had constituted an enquiry commission under Retd. Judge R. D. Nimesh. Because of the flaws, the same case could not stand against one of the co-accused Sajjadur-Rahman, and the Barabanki court terminated the case against him. Such developments inside courtrooms lead the victim Muslim families to the belief that the charges against their sons would not stand, once they are given a fair and speedy trial.

Sajjadur Rahman is now in Lucknow district jail. He was initially detained by the police in 2000, and was made an accused in Delhi blast. Since then, he is shown as accused in several blasts cases across Uttar Pradesh. During these 12 years, he has been rotated to many district jails from Delhi to UP. And the family, along with him, is patiently fighting for justice. By now, he is acquitted in Delhi, Kanpur and Barabanki blast cases, but the Lucknow and Agra blast cases are still pending. In the eyes of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, he is still a “dangerous man” and hence, after a long 12 years in jail while trials are on, he was denied bail on 28 March this year. Far away at home, his family members still wait for justice. Just a few days before his arrest in 2000, Sajjad was engaged with a girl chosen by his family as his bride. Their fate turned ugly and the wedding could not take place till date. Though the girl is faithfully waiting for her would-be husband, the court procedures seem endless as of now. Still, she does not care whatever story was made by the police and media, and believes that her would-be husband would never commit any crime and one day he would again be a free man. She asks mediapersons and lawyers: who is responsible for her plight?

Not all implicated boys have such patient people around them.  Naushad’s married life is now on rocks. He was married just three months before he was implicated in false cases. A resident of Bijnaur, Naushad was kidnapped from Nimrana, Alwar district, Rajasthan on 19 June 2007, but his arrest was shown from Wazirganj police station in Lucknow on 23 June 2007 with explosive substance and arms. He was the only bread-earner of his family and was working as a labour contractor at construction sites in Alwar. The family now depends upon a small piece of farmland, which is the only way for it to earn some income for the family as well as for fighting the legal case. Moreover, Naushad’s in-laws are now fed up with the sluggish and insensitive legal and police machinery and want Naushad to divorce their daughter. His wife has written him a letter asking for a divorce, saying that she knows Naushad is not guilty, but she is now tired of waiting.

There are numerous cases of the same kind. Azizur Rahman is lodged in Lucknow jail. The dates of incidents shown by the police in his case themselves speak the whole story. According to the police, Aziz came to Lucknow with his two accomplices on 22 June 2007 with terror intent. But when they watched on television that another accomplice Jalaluddin was arrested, they fled to Kolkata on 23 June 2007. Next day, they all were arrested by a police team which was chasing them. But, interestingly, the remand order of Azizur Rahman passed by ACJM Alipore, West Bengal, on 22 June 2007 says that Aziz was under custody of SOG/CID of West Bengal during 22- 26 June 2007. Now it is for the UP Police to explain how a person under custody of CID West Bengal, could be shown in Lucknow with his accomplices at the very same time?

Almost every case is full of flaws that even a layman can understand once he goes through the files. But the machinery is adamant to prove them as terrorists. The slow speed of trials and the attitude of judges and police clearly reflect that they know they would lose the case once it is fast-tracked and a fare trial is ensured. Shifting of the hearings of almost all such cases to jail premises is one of the reasons behind unwarraned delays. Judges do not turn up at right time on the one day allotted every week. Sources say that some of the judges show up by four pm just to register their attendance. The collusion between them and the prosecution is sometimes visible when even the government attornies do not bother to abide by time schedules and arrive with the judges.

All this clearly reflects the need for the community to be be extra cautious when SP speaks about withdrawing some cases. The manner in which such cases are now being handled raises many crucial questions. Why only Tariq and Khalid, when there are Jalaluddin, Ali Akbar, Mohammad Yaqub, Nasir Hussein, Abdul Mubeen, Kaleem Akhtar, Noor Islam, Sheikh Mukhtar and many others who have also been victims of implication, police atrocities and unfair trial just like Tariq and Khalid?

Apart from this, there are around 30 Muslim boys of Uttar Pradesh who are lodged in different jails of the country, and their number is ever-increasing. They too are implicated in the same manner by the police of different states across the country. If the present SP leadership is so keen to provide relief to the Muslim community and boost its confidence, it needs to clarify the state’s policy over arrests carried out by other states or by central agencies. Providing a kind of relief to the community on the one hand, and being in talks with the Centre on the issue of National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) on the other, is just a zero sum game for the community, which has shown its faith in Samajwadi Party during the recently concluded assembly elections.

Also, there have been at least 15 boys who have been acquitted by the courts across the state. The party should clarify whether duly compensating them and prosecuting those who were involved in fabricating cases against these boys is also on its agenda. Mumtaz, Wasif Haider, both residents of Kanpur, are just two names among several others in the state who had to pass their valuable 11 years of life while commuting from one jail to another before being acquitted in all ten different cases.

The government needs to adopt a policy which answers all these questions. Not only withdrawal of cases alongwith adequate compensation and prosecution of those who were behind fabrication, a fresh judicial or CBI enquiry of all terror incidents of the last decade should also be ordered so that the real culprits can be identified. There would not be any surprise if we come to know the hands of Saffron Brigade behind several terror incidents, if only a fair and time-bound enquiry is done.

A tentative and incomplete list of UP Muslim boys arrested/killed/sentenced in terror cases
(Prepared by Zaheer Alam Falahi)

S.No

Name

Address

Case(s)

Date of Arrest

1

Mohammad Khalid

Mandyahu, Jaunpur

Barabanki, Lucknow, Faizabad

16 Dec. 2007

2

Mohammad Tariq Qasmi

Raniki Sarai, Azamgarh

Barabanki, Faizabad, Lucknow, Gorakhpur

12 Dec. 2007

3

Mohammad Akhtar

Kashmir

Lucknow,  Faizabad

22 Dec. 2007

4

Sajjadur Rahman

Kashmir

Lucknow,  Faizabad

22/ Dec. 2007

5

Syed Mohammad Shoaib

Habeebpur, Lucknow

N A

N A

6

Farhan Ahmad

Habeebpur, Lucknow

N A

N A

7

Mohammad Irfan

Chopatya, Lucknow

N A

In jail for the last six years; sentenced to 14 years imprisonment

8

Rizwan Ahmed

Amroha

N A

N A

9

Mohammad Saad

Amroha

N A

N A

10

Mahboob Mandal

Kolkata

N A

N A

11

Mohammad Anwaar

Kanpur

N A

N A

12

Atharuddin

Lucknow

N A

Sentenced to life imprisonment

13

Mohammad Yaqoob

Bijnaur

N A

21 June 2007

14

Mohammad Naushad

Bijnaur

N A

21 June 2007

15

Mohammad Mukhtar alias Raju

Kolkata

N A

Aquitted

16

Kausar Farooqi

Kunda, Partapgarh

N A

N A

17

Mufti Waliullah

Phoolpur, Allahabad

N A

15 April 2006 – sentenced to 10 year imprisonment

18

Faheem Ahmad

Mumbai

Rampurcase

N A

19

Mohammad Naasir

Harhapur, Bijnaur

N A

19 June 2007

20

Mufti Asrarul Haq Qasmi

N A

N A

In jail since 8 years [released 2012]

21

One person

Sayedpur, Ghazipur

N A

N A

22

Two persons

Madanpura

N A

N A

23

One person

Adampur

N A

N A

24

Abul Bashar

Saraimir, Azamgarh

N A

N A

25

Masrur alias Ramesh Choudhry

Bahraich

N A

N A

26

Shahbaz

Bhadohi

N A

26 August 2008

27

Mohammad Saif

Sanjarpur

N A

N A

28

Aatif Ameen

Sanjarpur

N A

Killed in Batla House encounter

29

Mohammad Sajid

Sanjarpur

N A

Killed in Batla House encounter

30

Arif Sanjari

N A

N A

Arrested for Lucknow, 29 Sept 2008

31

Zeeshan Ahmed

N A

N A

Arrested from Delhi

32

Mohammad Shakeel

N A

Committed suicide

N A

33

Ziya alias Saqib Naasir

N A

N A

N A

34

Haakim Sanjari

N A

N A

Arrested from Delhi

35

Sadiqalias Sadaqat

Azamgarh

N A

N A

36

Abu Raashid

N A

N A

N A

37

Dr. Shahnawaz

N A

N A

N A

38

Shadab

N A

N A

N A

39

Mohammad Aamir

N A

N A

N A

40

Riyaz Bhatkal

N A

N A

N A

41

Shadab

N A

N A

N A

42

Zakir

N A

N A

N A

43

Aarif Badar

N A

N A

N A

44

Aziz Bhai

N A

N A

N A

45

Talha

N A

N A

N A

46

Zahid

N A

N A

N A

47

Nasir

N A

N A

N A

48

Mohammad Shakeel

N A

N A

N A

49

Jang Bahadur Khan alias Baba

Moradabad

N A

N A

50

Mohammad Shareef

Moradabad

N A

N A

51

Gulab Khan

Rampur

N A

N A

52

Sabahuddin

Bihar

N A

N A

53

Jalaluddin

W. Bengal

N A

N A

54

Azizur Rahman

W. Bengal

N A

N A

55

Mohammad Ali Akbar

W. Bengal

N A

N A

56

Shaikh Mukhtar

W. Bengal

N A

N A

57

Noor Islam

W. Bengal

N A

N A

58

Ubaidyr Rahman

N A

For blast in Sharamjivee train

JaunpurJail

59

Helal

N A

For blast in Sharamjivee train

JaunpurJail

60

Nafisul Wiswaas

N A

For blast in Sharamjivee train

Jaunpur Jail

61

Roni

N A

N A

Tihar Jail

62-97

36 graduates of Deoband Madrasa

N A

 

N A

N A

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 April 2012 on page no. 1

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