Muslims beaten up in U.P. jail

Lucknow: It was Sunday, March 13th, when the Central Barielly Jail, near Izzat Nagar, Barielly, Uttar Pradesh, was witness to an acrimonious scene, as some relatives of those who are in jail, were beaten black and blue, by other jail inmates and by wardens too. Those who were mercilessly beaten included women and children. And, by now it should be clear that those beaten had to be Muslims! Yes, the situation is so damning, so deplorable and so lamentable that such injustice can only happen to Muslims. The kith and kin of those who were beaten are accused in the Rampur Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp attack of Jan 1, 2008 and are these days behind bars.

All this happened in the supposedly Sarvjan Hitai and Sarvjan Sukhai (Welfare to all) government of Mayawati. “Sarvjan does not have Muslimjan in it. When I was the Urban Development Minister (2003-2007), I had released funds for the construction of Hakeem Ajmal Khan Hospital in Rampur and CM Mayawati came to Rampur and changed the name. I had got a Maulana Jauhar Digital Laser Planetarium, the first in India, built in a slum inhabited by Muslims in Rampur, and CM has got it’s name changed to Ambedkar’s. Twice its inauguration has been cancelled as I would oppose it on the streets,” said Muhammed Azam Khan, Samajwadi Party general secretary and seven-time MLA from Rampur.

It might be mentioned here that on Jan 1, 2008 (at 2:30 am) the CRPF camp was allegedly attacked in Rampur, in which four CRPF personnel were killed. Why was there a firing in the first place is a big question. “I had myself gone to the site and investigated the matter. The CRPF camp is on the Rampur-Delhi highway and a railway track runs adjacent to it. Many roadside dhabas and tea stalls were there. I could gather from my field work that the New Year’s Party had liquor flowing and a brawl had started over a girl (a prostitute) who was taken there by a rickshaw puller. The fight over the girl took an ugly turn as there was firing from all sides, in which the rickshaw puller too died. The girl fled from the scene. Soon all the dhabas etc were removed from the vicinity of the camp,” informs Muhammed Shoaib, the counsel for the accused in the attack now.

Who are those accused? “A grandiose plan to implicate Muslims was fabricated and soon Muslims were caught for the alleged attack, the first being Jang Bahadur Khan, a resident of Milak Kamru, PS Munda Pandey, district Muradabad, UP. He was caught on Feb 9, 2008 and during the interrogation, he “revealed” that his associates were planning a getaway from Rampur Bus Station and Shareef, s/o Ayoob, a resident of Barhanpuri, PS Khajuria, district Rampur, was caught from the bus station. Faheem Arshad Ansari, s/o Yusuf Ansari. Chawl No. 303, Room No. 2409, Motilal Nagar, Goregaon West, Mumbai, was also caught from the same bus station,” added Shoaib.

Those who were later arrested are Gulab Khan, s/o Shamsher Khan, Muhalla Shahgarh, Bahedi, district Barielly, UP, Kausar Farooqui, s/o Qadeerud-din, Azadnagar, Pratapgarh, UP, Sabahuddin, s/o Shabbir Ahmed, Gandhwar, PS Satri, district Madhubani, Bihar, Imram Shahzad. s/o Muhammed Azam and Muhammed Farooq, s/o Muhammed Bota, both from Pakistan.

“I am counsel for Shareef, Kausar and Sabahuddin. Faheem Arshad Ansari has also been my client but not in this case. He has now been shifted to Central Barielly Jail, from Arthur Road Jail, Mumbai, after his acquittal in the Mumbai 26/11 terror attack,” Shoaib informed.

What is the status of the case? “They have been accused under various sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) like 147, 148, 149, 302, 307, 332, 323, 120-B, 3/4 Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 345 Explosive Substances Act, 7 and 27 sections of Arms Act. Charges have been framed. The prosecution evidence is being noted down and no one as yet has appeared in the court. The Pakistani accused have been granted amicus curiae and Zameer Rizvi is their counsel,” he added.

Now, what happened on March 13? “In the presence of deputy-jailor, all misfortune fell on them. They were beaten only for giving a sign of intimidation. They just could not fend the onslaught of a dozen on them. Shaheen (30), the brother of the accused Shareef, has been badly injured. The other was Sheru, aged 23, son of Jang Bahadur, was very badly manhandled. His mother Bano Begum (40) and his grandmother Shakeela Begum (60) were not spared either. They were kicked in the abdomen, hurled with the choicest of abuses and beaten for being relatives of the framed-up terrorists,” elaborated Shoaib who offered a running commentary to the scribes in Lucknow while in continuous touch with Shaheen from Barielly. Shaheen later informed that they all went to the district hospital where only first-aid was given and no medical certificate was issued, as the hospital staff refused on the pretext that “the issue concerns terrorism”. They had to go to a private nursing home for the medical certificate. “The jail authorities however, deny that any such incident took place despite photographes of the incident published in Barielly newspaper, said Shoiab 

“The relatives of those who visit the jail are always under fear. They are unusually at the mercy of jail authorities and this has to be condemned in the strongest terms. I have asked a three-member committee which includes Sarfaraz Ali Khan, Khusro Mirza and Kashyap (ex. MLA), all SP members, to file a report. SP delegation would soon visit the jail. We will make this an issue of human rights. The National Human Rights Commission should take a suo-moto notice of the same,” said Azam Khan. Meanwhile, Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has also demanded a high-level probe into the whole incident and has lambasted the state government over its nonchalant attitude. PUCL has also doubted the police claims over all such blasts and attacks, including those in various courts in UP, and it is to be mentioned that when the then Congress Union Home Minister for State Sri Prakash Jaiswal had sought a CBI probe into the various court blasts in UP, CM Mayawati had dared him to first get a CBI probe done in the Rampur CRPF camp attack. “This is a zero sum game with no political exceptions. But, we will fight it to the end,” said Shoaib.    

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 April 2011 on page no. 1

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