Focus

IB’s communal mindset exposed

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By Shahnawaz Alam, & Rajiv Yadav

Lucknow: People from across Uttar Pradesh, who assembled here on 20 June at the People’s Court organized by U.P. PUCL on the issue of intelligence agencies and terrorism, expressed their views and bitter experience. People who were harassed and tortured in the name of terror narrated their experience as to how women and children have been mentally tortured or suffer from mental trauma. Apart from this representatives and activists of human rights organizations discussed the issue in detail.  

Shaukat Ali of Pratapgarh narrated his side of the story. He said that from 15 August 2008 the ATS and other intelligence agencies are continuously trying to frame him. Intelligence agencies are trying to fabricate evidence against him. Shaukat spoke about the letter he received in the name of Lashkare-e-Toiba wherein it was written that he has been made “area commander of Lashkar”. “I informed the DM and SP about this fake letter and asked them to enquire about it but so far no inquiry has been made. Instead, people from the ATS threatened me as to why I reported this letter to the district administration,” said Shaukat adding that he apprehends that ATS and intelligence agencies may frame him on false charges in the days to come.  

Mohammad Shadab alias “Mr Bhai” from Azamgarh, one of whose sons (Dr Shahnawaz) is missing and another (Sajid) is in jail, said that both ATS and intelligence agencies framed his sons. ATS and intelligence agencies have claimed that his son got arms training abroad but the fact is that they never went abroad, he stressed. “For so many years I have been asking the government to probe the claims made by these intelligence agencies but so far nothing has happened. Intelligence agencies are creating trouble for me in one way or the other and the whole of Azamgarh has been named as Atankgarh [terror town],” he said.

Zainab, wife of Basheer, started crying, while narrating the story of her husband who was picked up recently from Bangermau as a “terrorist linked to Indian Mujahiddin”. She said that her husband was in hospital at the time of the blast for which he was arrested. She herself was pregnant at the time but she lost her child due to miscarriage as a result of torture by intelligence agencies. How can she accept that her husband is facing terror charges when he was by her side in hospital at that point of time. Ishaq, brother-in-law of Basheer, said that his brother Shakeel was also picked up on false terror charges. “These agencies in the name of investigation are harassing me too, mentally and physically,” he said.

Anwar, brother of Kausar, narrated how his brother who lived in Kunda Pratapgarh was held by STF on 9 February 2008 and lodged in Lucknow jail. They asked for Rs one lakh as bribe to let him off but when he failed to pay the bribe, his brother was sent to jail.

Saima, sister of Farhan, who lived in Lucknow and was sentenced for life term on weak evidence, said that they claimed that his brother was to leave shortly for Pakistan to get training there. She said that one day STF people in plainclothes, without informing them, picked up her brother. Later on when LIU [local intelligence unit] came to our house, we came to know that he has been picked up by the STF. She said that her family was fighting a case based on an unknown crime.

Speakers, who had come from various places, questioned the very existence of “Indian Mujahideen”. They said it is a creation of the intelligence agencies and on its pretext innocent Muslim youth are being arrested on false and fabricated terror charges. Activists demanded a white paper on “Indian Mujaheedin” by the government because at times the government said that Indian Mujaheedin is an organisation of SIMI, at others it claimed that it is linked to Lashkar or ISI. SR Darapuri (IPS retd), a former inspector general of Police and vice president of PUCL, said that the way intelligence agency operate shows that it is not answerable to the government but to Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

Prof. Rooprekha Verma, former vice chancellor of Lucknow University, said that the intelligence agencies are engaged in projecting a bad image of the Muslims for quite long and this gets further magnified through the media.

Advocate Shoaib raised the issue of torture and harassment of innocent Muslims in jails. Another activist, Tahira Hasan, asked the people to protest against the communal mindset of our intelligence agencies.  

President of Shramjiwi Journalist Union, Siddarth Kalhans, criticised the role of the media by saying that the media without verifying the police version rushes to publish news. As a result, over the years the credibility of the fourth pillar of our democracy has suffered.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 July 2012 on page no. 1

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