Report of the fact finding committee on the bomb blast at Mecca Masjid and subsequent police firing
May 2006, Press Statement
A fact finding committee was constituted by the organizations mentioned at the end of this report to collect facts about the bomb blast at Mecca Masjid on 18 May 2007 at Hyderabad and the subsequent police firing.
The committee visited the Mecca Masjid on 20 May 2007, enquired with the eye-witnesses to the occurrence in the Masjid and later with the injured at Owaisi Hospital and arrived at the following conclusions:
The committee strongly condemns the heinous act of bomb blast at Mecca Masjid killing five and injuring about 35 people.
The committee equally condemns the police firing on innocent people killing nine and injuring several others without any provocation.
The committee is of the opinion that the bomb blast at Mecca Masjid during the Friday prayers was aimed only at terrorizing Muslim people and to shatter their confidence.
The committee feels that the police firing was also aimed at terrorizing Muslim people and to crush even a small attempt of agitation from the Muslims.
The police firing was done at a place which is about 200 meters from the Masjid which show that the police were aiming at people who were proceeding towards Masjid or going away from the Masjid.
According to the version of the injured in the police firing, the firing was aimed at people who had no concern with the incident. One was fired at while he was proceeding towards his house by that side and another, 17-year-old boy was fired at while he was going into the Asra Hospital to donate his blood for one of his relatives. Yet another was fired at while he was trying to lift a fallen man due to bullet injuries. These are classic examples of how the police fired indiscriminately. According to the police version, which appeared in the press, they fired at the mob which was about to attack a petrol pump and a wine shop. In fact there were no signs of any attack. The petrol pump was closed on three sides with an opening the road on one side which is well-guarded. If the shutters of the wine shop were down, it will be easily protected. It is ridiculous for the police to claim that they had to kill nine people and injure about 25 people in order to save a petrol pump and a wine shop. It appears that the police value property more than human lives.
More condemnable than the above incident is the police opening fire into the Masjid putting the rifle on the iron rails of the Masjid from the road side. An eye witness to this ghastly behavior of police is none other than Mr. Mohammad Ghouse, a former corporator from that area. When the people were trying to rush out after the blast the police aimed its firing at such terror stricken people. The manner in which the police opened fire, one aiming inside the Masjid and the other firing indiscriminately from a place away from the Masjid show that the police aimed at terrorizing Muslims.
The police firing started after about an hour of the blast. People must have been by that time agitated and anxious to know about the condition of their relatives who had gone to offer prayers. The police did not warn them. Even if the mob had become uncontrolled, the police should have used rubber bullets. All the injuries are from bullets only. There are no traces of any injury of a rubber bullet which shows that the police simply fired at the mob. Till date there is no evidence of who gave the permission to open fire.
The government till date is not in a position to give the exact number of deaths due to bomb blast and police firing. According to information gathered by the committee, the deaths due to police firing are more than the deaths due to the bomb blast. This fact alone speaks volumes.
According to the version given by the police, the bomb blast is of the handiwork of two Islamic organizations which operate from outside India. In fact, the police has released a Muslim name who is said to be the mastermind of the blast. According to facts revealed by a medical officer of Asra Hospital who treated the injured, some nails, door hinges, and briefcase handle were removed from the bodies of the injured. This establishes that the bomb used in the blast was a crude one made with indigenous technology. The injuries received during the blast and the foreign objects recovered from the bodies of the injured do not establish any connection with either RDX or TNT. The naming of the two Islamic organizations as responsible for the blast without any acceptable clue reveal the mind of the investigating agency either to mislead the public or to divert their attention. By identifying the probable accused and the organizations without any preliminary evidence show the attempts of the police to close all other areas of suspicion. The investigating agency can come up with the names of the organizations which are responsible for the blast only after eliminating all other organizations which can be suspected in such crimes.
The committee feels that both the bomb blast and the subsequent police firing are aimed at terrorizing Muslims and trampling minimum agitation from that side.
The state government should take the responsibility for the whole incident. Even after the warnings by the central government about possible terrorist attacks in states including Andhra Pradesh, the police did not take any necessary precautions to guard sensitive places like places of worship. It seems there will be regular check at Mecca Masjid especially on Fridays by the concerned police. Surprisingly there was no regular check on that Friday. Sufficient force was also not deployed when about 10,000 people gathered at the time of prayers. It is unfortunate to know that the government is appreciating the police for controlling the situation instead of taking action against the police who are responsible either for the lapse regarding arrangements at the Masjid or for indiscriminate killing people without any provocation.
This is the first time in the history of Hyderabad city or the for the matter of India where a bomb blew up while thousands of people were offering prayers in a mosque. It is a very serious matter and of concern for all to know the persons responsible for it. No investigating agency can simply wash off its hands by naming some terrorist organization. When such incidents are likely to happen again, it is the duty of the investigating agency to clear all possible suspicions and arrive at a definite conclusion. Even after the lapse of four days no such traces are evident in the investigation. It is surprising to know that one more
cellphone was recovered on 20 May 2007 from the pond of the Mosque. In such incidents there should be no let up from any side.
The committee makes the following demands:
The committee holds the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh morally responsible for the bomb blast and administratively responsible for the police firing. Hence the committee demands the resignation of the chief minister.
In addition to the indiscriminate firing by the police, there were innumerable lapses from the police side to protect the lives of innocent people. No responsible police officer is forthcoming to own up responsibility for the police firing. Hence the committee demands the immediate suspension of the Director General of Police and other high officers who had immediately rushed to the place of incident and were responsible for the firing. Prosecution should be launched against those policemen who opened fire at innocent people either killing them or causing injuries. The investigation should be immediately handed over to CBI.
The Organizations which participated in the fact-finding:
1 Bojja Tharakam
(AP state President, Republican Party Of India)
2 Lateef Mohd Khan G. Secretary Civil Liberties Monitoring committee
3 Varvara Rao VERASAM
4 D.Suresh Kumar Secretary. APCLC
5 Prabahakar PKM
6 Abhinova. KNPS
7 Radha APCMS
8 Mujahid Hashmi AMA
9 Leo Augastine
10 E.Gri yaduvo Praja party
(Received on 21 May 2007 from Hyderabad’s Civil Liberties Monitoring
Committee - firstname.lastname@example.org)