Waiting for justice, he got death!


By Mohammad Shahid

Lucknow: His death is as tragic and mysterious as his arrest was cruel and controversial. He waited for justice for five long years from a corrupt and biased system but got death in the bargain. Even the Nimesh Commission report that absolved him (and his colleague Tariq Qasmi) of all charges levelled against him failed to bring relief to him and his co-accused because the Samajwadi Party Government was more concerned to save the guilty STF personnel than to deliver justice.

Khalid Mujahid, accused of serial court blasts in the state died in mysterious circumstances in Barabanki district on 19 May while being taken to Lucknow after appearing before a trial court in Faizabad in police custody. While police say he died following a heart attack, his lawyers cry foul. The victim’s uncle Zaheer Alam Falahi has lodged an FIR accusing 42 persons, including a number of senior police officers of conspiring and killing his nephew. The senior superintendent of police, Lucknow, suspended nine policemen including a sub-inspector after a departmental inquiry found them guilty of negligence that resulted in the death of Khalid Mujahid.

Earlier, to cool down the tempers, an embarrassed Chief Minister ordered a CBI probe into the incident. But will the CBI probe or any amount of compensation bring Khalid Mujahid back to life?

Looking at the CBI track record, much cannot be hoped from the probe. Whatever be the outcome of the CBI probe, the UP government cannot escape the responsibility of the incident and its failure in taking timely action on the Nimesh Commission report.

The circumstances that led to the death of Khalid raise several questions about his death. According to his lawyers, he was in normal health with no signs of  illness when he appeared at the court and left it about 3.20 pm on the fateful day. He talked to his lawyers and sent greetings (salam) to his uncle through his lawyer Mohammad Shoaib. Then, within ten minutes of leaving the court according to the police version, he fainted and died on way to Lucknow.

Even if we believe the victim’s co-accused Tariq Qasmi’s statement that he had been ill for the last four days, the question arises: why was he brought to the court and not allowed to take rest or admitted to a hospital?

Advocate Shoaib says the police never presented the victim or his co-accused before the press ever since their arrests in December 2007, then how suddenly they brought Tariq Qasmi before the press to give a statement about Khalid’s illness?
Advocate Shoaib, who met the other accused in jail a day after Khalid’s death, said they were too terrorized to speak anything on the issue. Although the postmortem report does not draw any conclusive opinion on the cause of his death and says that the cause of death could not be ascertained, a cut on the victim’s face, mark of black spots on his face and neck, nails turning black and bleeding from the nose point not to a natural death but to murder.

And motive for murder was there. The Nimesh Commission has indicted police personnel, including some senior officials of illegally arresting and torturing the victim and recommended for a probe into the matter. The victim would have been a witness if the commission’s report was implemented.

In the past the victim through his lawyer had complained to the court of abuse and threat to life by policemen escorting him to courts. All these and many more such circumstantial evidences point to some high level conspiracy behind Khalid Mujahid’s death.

Not only Muslims but all those who believe in truth and justice, including human rights organizations, are outraged. Muslims are in a state of utter disbelief that the young and healthy man whose release they were demanding on the basis of the Nimesh Commission report will be eliminated like this under a regime they considered was their saviour. Several outfits condemned the killing and organized protest marches in the state capital and other towns and some ulama and other intellectuals marched in Faizabad to demand the dismissal of the state government which they termed was anti-Muslim.

It is, however, intriguing that the Muslim representatives in Assembly, Parliament and governments and those ulama who presented themselves before Akhilesh Yadav to praise him for boycotting the US conference in protest against that country’s misbehaviour with Azam Khan, have kept silent on the issue. These political leaders and ulama who claim to be representatives of the community did not have even moral courage to express condolences and sympathies to the victim’s family.

Even if the ten Muslim ministers in the Akhilesh government and SP MLAs had a little concern about the plight, hopes and aspirations of their community on whose strength they enjoy power and wealth, they would have forced the Akhilesh government to accept the Nimesh Commission report and Khalid Mujahid and others would have been released long ago.
Being part of the government and keeping silent on the injustices meted out to the Muslim youths they become part of the government decision. These leaders, be they in SP, BSP or Congress, are parasites on the community which they use for their own selfish interests. While they have divided the community on party lines, our ulama with a few exceptions have created hatred in the name of Deobandis, Barelvis and Shia sects. With such divisive leaders and ulama in our ranks, when unity is the need of the hour, how can Muslims expect to make their voice heard in the din of communal frenzy.

But all is not lost. It is heartening to see that Muslim masses, though demoralized with the attitude of their leaders have still the energy and enthusiasm to fight for their rights and change the situation in their favour only if some selfless and honest leaders with an aim to serve the community come forward to channelize their energy. Time is difficult for the community but its leaders are in deep slumber. If the death of Khalid Mujahid is able to awaken them from this slumber his martyrdom will not go in vain.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 June 2013 on page no. 1

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