Nimesh Report: SP going Congress way

By Mohammad Shahid

Lucknow: Buoyed by his party’s success in the UP elections, the Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav is now eying the Prime Minister’s chair after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. But the hopes and aspirations of the Muslim community that gave him strength and confidence to dream for the highest post lie shattered. Most of the promises made to the community in the party’s election manifesto and later at the first press conference of Akhilesh Yadav after taking oath as Chief Minister remain unfulfilled even after nine months of the party being in power.

Although the Akhilesh Government has announced fencing of graveyards and some sops to Muslim girls, it has done really little to fulfill its promises on major demands of Muslims like 18 per cent reservation to the community in the state, promotion of Urdu and release of innocent Muslim youths falsely implicated in terror cases.

Youth of a community or a nation is its future. Branding innocent Muslim youths as "terrorists" and killing them in fake encounters or keeping them in jails for years only to be released by courts many years later for want of evidence is nothing but a conspiracy to spoil the future of the largest community in the country. The issue is directly related to the community’s security and well-being which the governments cannot take lightly and Muslims cannot afford to ignore.

One of the reasons why the Congress yuvraj Rahul Gandhi failed in the UP Assembly elections was its flip flop on the Batla House encounter in which some youths of Sanjarpur in Azamgarh were involved. But the Akhilesh Government, it seems, has not learnt any lesson from the Congress’ mistake. It is sitting on the Justice Nimesh Commission Report on the arrest of two Muslim youths, Tariq and Khalid, from Azamgarh and Jaunpur districts respectively without initiating any action or making the report public. Tariq and Khalid were arrested by the ATS in connection with blasts in Lucknow, Varanasi and Faizabad courts in 2007. Forced by the popular demand, the then Mayawati Government had set up a judicial commission headed by Justice RD Nimesh in March 2008 to probe the arrests of the two and report within six months. Nimesh Commission managed to submit its final report to the Government only in August 2012. Although the Government has not made the report public, reports in a section of the press suggest that the commission has termed the arrests of the two as arbitrary and illegal. The commission has also recommended stringent action against the ATS team responsible for their illegal arrests.

The Samajwadi Party, which during the election campaign had so loudly condemned the arrests of innocent Muslims, including Tariq and Khalid, and had promised to release them if it came to power, is now maintaining a stoic silence and they are still languishing in jails even after being declared innocent by an official commission. This reminds one of the fate of many such commissions whose reports were either never made public or action was never taken on their recommendations. One such report is the one presented by Sri Krishna report on Bombay riots. Though made public, action was never taken by the so-called secular Congress Government against the culprits named in the report.

The Samajwadi Party Government, sources say, is fighting shy to take action on the Nimesh Commission report because it does not have the courage to take action against the ATS team indicted by the commission. The Government feels that any action against the ATS team will only be at the cost of demoralizing and also annoying the police force. A similar plea was made by the Congress Government in denying probe into the Batla House encounter. But can governments on this ground punish innocents, kill and arrest innocent Muslims at will while the culprits roam free? It is surprising that the Samajwadi Party members make noises in the Rajya Sabha for the release of innocent Muslims while their party Government in the state is sitting on the Nimesh Commission report without any action for more than three months now. Whatever the compulsions of the party on the issue, its hypocrisy appears no different from that of the Congress on Muslim issues.

However, while following in the footsteps of the Congress, Mulayam should remember that the Congress’ dual policy on the Babri Masjid issue cost the party its governments in UP and at the Centre. Although the party was able to form Government at Centre in alliance with other parties, it still struggles to find a foothold in UP. Mulayam should also not forget the lesson of his own past when he annoyed Muslims by befriending communal Kalyan and lost the elections.

 The UP Government can hide itself behind the High Court ruling that the issue of release of terror accused will be looked after by courts only, yet it can expedite the disposal of the cases. Any slackness on the part of the UP Government on this count as also in taking action on the Nimesh report would amount not only to injustice to the Muslims but also will mean going back on its election promise on the part of Samajwadi Party. Mulayam’s party cannot afford this because it would be inimical not only to his party Government in UP but also to his dream of making it to the Centre.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 December 2012 on page no. 1

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