Special Reports

Qateel’s murder stirs community, society

+ Pic

New Delhi: Terror-accused Qateel Siddiqui’s murder while in custody in a Pune’ high security Yarvada Jail has shocked the Indian Muslim community and civil society. It is uniformly beleived that he was eliminated while in custody so that his forced confession could be used by the ATS and Special Cell against his co-accused amid serious doubts about the wild claims of these agencies about the so-called “Darbhanga Module” whose mastermind is a cycle-repairer and other members are semi-literate hand-to-mouth youth who hardly know the intricacies of modern world and the politics of terror. Many of them never left their village and district yet they are accused of planning and planting bombs in places thousands of kms away. Murdered Qateel too was one such simple young man toiling to meet the basic necessiteis of life. He was the first in a series of 14 youths arrested on charges of planting bombs in Delhi and Bangalore etc. Seven months have passed since his arrest and systemic torture

All India Muslim Majlis-E-Mushawarat on Saturday held Maharashtra ATS chief Rakesh Maria, the head of National Investigation Agency Sarat Chandra Sinha and the Home Minister P. Chidambaram "personally responsible for this cold-blooded murder" of Mohammad Qateel Siddiqui in the Pune jail on Friday. The umbrella body of Muslim organizations has demanded a judicial enquiry by a sitting high court judge. "We reject with contempt the mere suspension of the jailor and a CID enquiry. The jailor will be reinstated soon and the CID enquiry will not go against their own ilk," said Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan while addressing a press conference here at the headquarters of Mushawarat.

"The cold-blooded murder of Qateel Siddiqui in Pune's Yarvada high security jail yesterday is yet another proof that the life of a Muslim is no longer safe in India even behind the walls of a high security jail," Dr. Khan said while speaking to mediapersons. He said this is the latest in a series of cases where security agencies' high-handedness in dealing with Muslim youth on flimsy charges and mere suspicion gives away the game of the administration's war against the Muslim community in the name of fighting "terror".

He said that on 24 May, two Kashmiri young students were kidnapped by unknown security agencies at Aligarh and only one of them was later released after their educational institution filed a habeas corpus case in Allahabad High Court. It is now almost a month since Fasih Mahmood, an Indian Muslim engineer, suddenly disappeared in Saudi Arabia at the request of Indian authorities which are still not clear about the charges against him. Earlier Journalist Kazmi was arrested on unknown charges and remains in custody while Hindutva terrorists are getting bail and feeling confident enough to hold a public conference in Goa, he said.

"The murdered accused, Qateel Siddiqui, was a law-abiding citizen of this country. Despite the passage of seven months on his arrest, the agencies have not been able to file a chargesheet against him, while he has been consistently tortured in custody to force him to sign a fake confession as happens now in almost all such cases. His murder has been arranged at the hands of a criminal already incarcerated on murder charges. It seems the reason is to use Qateel's fake confession in courts against other accused since he will no longer be there to deny and refute the forced confession attributed to him."

Dr Khan said, "We hold the Maharashtra ATS chief Rakesh Maria, the head of National Investigation Agency Sarat Chandra Sinha and the Home Minister P. Chidambaram personally responsible for this cold-blooded murder. We demand a judicial enquiry by a sitting high court judge. We reject with contempt the mere suspension of the jailor and a CID enquiry. The jailor will be reinstated soon and the CID enquiry will not go against their own ilk," the Mushawarat head said while appealing to the national and international human rights organisations "to take notice of the situation in India where sections of the administration are fighting a war against the country's largest religious minority in the name of fighting "terror", while the security agencies themselves are the biggest culprits and excel in fabrication of cases and use torture to force the accused to confess to crimes they never committed. The aim is to demoralise the Indian Muslim community and to slow down its educational and social progress."

He said that this all is happening because there is no government today and this has given a free hand to people of saffron mindset in the administration and government agencies.

The press conference was also addressed by Human Rights activist Mahtab Alam, Historian Amaresh Mishra, Welfare Party General Secretary Dr SQR Ilyas, Jamaat-e Islami Hind secretary Mohammad Ahmad and Akhlaq Ahmad, Secretary Association for Protection of Civil Rights.

Mahtab Alam said that the attack on Qateel was part of a series of attacks on Muslim terror-accused in jails. Such undertrials were attacked in Sabarmati Jail, in Jaipur Jail and also in Arthur Road Jail. "So called patriotic criminals in jails are attacking Muslims accused at the instigation of officials," Alam said and demanded a white paper from the government on all such arrests in the last 10 years.

Akhlaq Ahmad of APCR said that India has become a police state. He criticized media for believing everything Police claim about Muslim terror-accused. Giving information about the grave poverty in which the family of Qateel has been living, Ahmad urged media people to visit homes of such terror accused and they will find the truth themselves.

Qasim Rasool Ilyas of WPI said all this is happening with a conspiracy to keep Muslims at the receiving end. "If government wants, it can stop it, but it is not doing so," he said. He called upon the community to move a no-confidence motion against the Congress-led UPA government at the centre.

Historian Amaresh Mishra said that a section in the Congress Party beleives in Sanghi poilicies and it is responsible for this conspiracy to criminalise Muslims. He warned that the Congress party may split due to the conspiracies of these elements.

Jamaat-e Islami’s Mohammad Ahmad said that one of the bad effects of the propaganda against the Muslim community in the name of terror is that many ordinary Hindus have come to believe that Muslims are terrorists and the effect of this was seen recently in the ferocious attacks on Muslims during the recent riot in Kosi Kalan.

Syed Akhlak Ahmad, Secretary of the Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) said in a complaint to the National Human Rights Commission demanded an impartial enquiry into the killing of Qateel, registration of an FIR under section 302 against the jail inmates and officials and the ATS personnel's who were responsible for the security of the accused and payment of a an adequate compensation for the killing in judicial custody.

Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association and other civil society organisaitons said in a statement issued on 8 June that custodial violence is endemic and almost institutionalized; Maharashtra jails are also notorious for attacks on accused, particularly on those accused of terrorism. The brutal violence unleashed on the Mumbai train blasts accused in the Arthur Road jail three years ago, at the behest of the jail authorities, comes immediately to mind. The statement called on the Mumbai High Court to  take suo moto notice of this killing and initiate action in the matter.

Hyderabad-based Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee said in a statement on 9 June that Qateel Siddiqui’s murder is due to nexus between Hindutva and Indian agencies adding that Muslim youths are not safe in judicial custody. The Committee stated that Hindutva terrorists who are known as “Nationalists” are killing Muslim youths in a well-planned manner even in the judicial custody. This is a big question mark on the Indian judiciary and it seems that Muslim youths are not safe in judicial custody and judicial system has failed to protect the life of the Muslim youth. The statement went to say that “These types of incidents have become common in our system that a person is killed in the judicial custody and then it is declared that co-inmates killed that particular person due to enmity. These types of murders take place when the state or police want to kill someone and for that reason, they carry out this work in a planned manner by placing a killer in the same cell.”
 
Following is the text of the press statement issued by Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, President of the All India Muslim Majlis-E-Mushawarat during the press conference held at the Mushawarat central office in Delhi on 9 June:

The cold-blooded murder of Qateel Siddiqui in Pune's Yarvada high security jail yesterday is yet another proof that the life of a Muslim is no longer safe in India even behind the walls of a high security jail.

This cold-blooded murder comes in quick succession after a number of cases where security agencies' high-handedness in dealing with Muslim youth on flimsy charges and mere suspicion gives away the game of the administration's war against the Muslim community in the name of fighting "terror".

Only days ago two Kashmiri young students were kidnapped by unknown security agencies at Aligarh and only one of them was later released after the educational institution filed a habeas corpus case in Allahabad High Court.

It is now almost a month that Fasih Mahmood, an Indian Muslim engineer, suddenly disappeared in Saudi Arabia at the request of Indian authorities which are still not clear about the charges against him.

Earlier Journalist Kazmi was arrested on unknown charges and remains in custody while Hindutva terrorists are getting bail and feeling confident enough to hold a conference in Goa.

The murdered accused, Qateel Siddiqui, was a law-abiding citizen of this country. Despite the passage of seven months on his arrest, the agencies have not been able to file a chargesheet against him, while he has been consistently tortured in custody to force him to sign a fake confession as it happens now in almost all such cases. His murder has been arranged at the hands of a criminal already incarcerated on murder charges. It seems the reason is to use Qateel's fake confession in courts against other accused since he will no longer be there to deny and refute the forced confession attributed to him.

We hold the Maharashtra ATS chief Rakesh Maria, the head of National Investigation Agency Sarat Chandra Sinha and the Home Minister P. Chidambaram personally responsible for this cold-blooded murder. We demand a judicial enquiry by a sitting high court judge. We reject with contempt the mere suspension of the jailor and a CID enquiry. The jailor will be reinstated soon and the CID enquiry will not go against their own ilk.

We appeal to the national and international human rights organisations to take notice of the situation in India where sections of the administration are fighting a war against the country's largest religious minority in the name of fighting "terror", while the security agencies themselves are the biggest culprits and excel in fabrication of cases and use torture to force the accused to confess to crimes they never committed. The aim is to demoralise the Indian Muslim community and to slow down its educational and social progress.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 June 2012 on page no. 13

We hope you liked this report/article. The Milli Gazette is a free and independent readers-supported media organisation. To support it, please contribute generously. Click here or email us at sales@milligazette.com

blog comments powered by Disqus