Special Reports

SIO protests against illegal arrests of innocent youths and students

New Delhi: “Hundreds of Muslim youths arrested under charges of terror have been declared as innocents and released from jails. In many cases, courts have castigated the police and intelligence agencies for filing false cases and fabricating of evidence,” said Mohammed Azharuddin, national president of Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO)  while addressing a protest march here on 23 November at Jantar Mantar against the arrests of innocent Muslim youths in the name of counter-terrorism. About 1,000 people, including students, activists and community leaders, gathered at Jantar Mantar and from there marched towards Parliament where they were by the police.

 SIO organized nation-wide protests on this issue on the same day. Protests were held in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Bihar while symposiums and press conferences were held in Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.  

The protest march called by SIO was supported by Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Association for Protection of Civil Rights, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, Welfare Party of India, and Jamia Students’ Solidarity Forum. Demonstrators demanded that all innocent Muslim youths who have been falsely implicated in terror-cases should be released and an investigation should be carried out against those responsible for their arrests.

 SIO president said, “India cannot become super power if 20% of its population is treated in such a way and its innocent youths, students, professionals, engineers and journalists are targeted in this way. If this injustice will not stop, we will create here Tahrir Square for protesting peacefully against all injustices.”  

 He said the bid to arrest youths under concocted charges in different parts of the country seems to be part of a planned conspiracy to defame Muslims, tarnish their image before the masses.

SIO President commented on the tendency of the corporate media to ‘make an issue out of a non-issue.’ He said “We need to remind them of their responsibility. With social media, even the common people have authority over information flow. We must make use of all our resources.”

 “Thousands of lives have been ruined because of the targeting of Muslim youths. Youths are kept in illegal custody, tortured, stripped and humiliated. They spend 10 to 15 years in jails after which courts pronounce their innocence. By that time, they’ve lost their youth, education and career. It not only ruins one’s life, but also ruins families,” said Mohammed Ahmad, national secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.

Dr. SQR Ilyas of Welfare Party of India said, “Communal riots cannot take place without the patronage of the government.  We have to use our vote power against UPA government, which is directly responsible for the present injustice meted out to the public and Muslim youths in particular. We demand all secular parties and Muslim MPs to bring a no-confidence-motion against the UPA government.”

“Paranoia about Islamic terror has been created by the State. It enables the State to dodge real issues,” said Dr. Tasleem Rehmani of Muslim Political Council of India.

Akhlak Ahmad, National Co-ordinator of Association for Protection of Civil Rights, emphasised that the issue does not concern Muslim youths, it also concerns basic human rights. He stated that it was a blot on the Indian constitution.

Biju Nayak, Delhi Secretary of Lok Raj Sangathan, said that Muslims are constantly pushed to prove their loyalty in this country. He said, “This country belongs to all of us and we need to take charge of it. It is not the people that are communal, it is the State which is communal”.

 Mohammed Adeeb, MP (Rajya Sabha) said, “Since Partition, Muslims in this country have been made the other. Now that our children are getting educated and making a place for themselves, they are being targeted in an attempt to suppress them.” He stated that he, along with CPM and Lok Janshakti, will meet the Prime Minister and put forward the demands that were discussed at the protest. Lok Janshakti Party leader Abdul Khaliq also addressed the demonstrators.

 “State terror, down down” shouted the demonstrators as they displayed placards that demanded the immediate release of innocent Muslim youths.

Senior journalist Syed Ahmad Kazmi, who was arrested for his alleged involvement in the Israeli Embassy car blast case, shared his experience of being implicated in a false case and the difficulties of adjusting to a normal life after a prolonged imprisonment. “If I faced so much trouble returning to normal life, imagine what a youth experiences after spending 10 to 15 years in jail for no fault of his,” he said.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 December 2012 on page no. 13

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