By Majid Alam:
Recently, I read the news about the arrest of 12 terrorists from New Delhi and from Deoband, UP. Explosives have been seized from one of them. The news that is aired on TV or newspapers generally gets a positive response from the people who appreciate the fact that the State is keeping them safe from these jihadi groups. The modus operandi of the government has become harsher after series of terror attacks in India and abroad. This has led to awareness and strict surveillance. Usually, political groups, social activists, and the press fail to show the other side of the story when once the convicts are released. I am not an expert on this issue but I would like to present before you a few cases that were popular in the media and have successfully earned news channels TRPs.
The recent news showed how Sajid arrested from Chand Bagh, Northeast Delhi was caught with explosives. The police were alerted when allegedly some explosives accidentally went off burning the hand of the accused. Meanwhile, other news claimed that the neighbours didn’t hear any sound of the explosion. Also, the family claims that the hand of the accused was burnt as hot milk got spilled over his hand. But, instead of waiting for any charge sheet or judicial enquiry, the nation seemed to have already branded them as terrorists. I wonder how some youngsters, framed as terrorists and later proven innocent, generally after 8-10 years, manage to integrate back into the society. In cases related to acts of terrorism, people build preconceived notions about someone whose case is sub-judice.
Just two months before on March 6, the news read: “A Delhi court on Saturday discharged an alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist, Syed Abdul Karim, alias Tunda, in the last of the four cases against him, saying the special cell of the Delhi Police had failed to bring on record sufficient evidence to frame charges against him.” It’s very reasonable to ask how the police could arrest an innocent man without having any solid proof of guilt. If there was some in the case of Tunda, why didn’t the Delhi Court find the evidence sufficient? Now, have another look, the next paragraph of the report reads: “However, Tunda would not be able to come out of jail immediately as more cases are pending against him in Haryana, Ghaziabad, Hyderabad and Ajmer.” His arrest was due to the blasts in Delhi and other places. If Tunda hadn’t been involved in those blasts, does nobody care to enquire who the actual culprits were?
To prove my point about the travesty of justice, a good example would be the Malegaon blasts of 2006. Read the news:
“…a Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court on Monday discharged nine Malegaon locals from the Malegaon 2006 blasts case.
Nine Malegaon residents — Noorul Huda Samsudoha, Shabbir Ahmed Masiullah, Raees Ahmed Rajab Ali Mansuri, Salman Farsi Abdul Latif Aimi, Farogh Iqbal Ahmed Magdumi, Mohammad Ali Alam Sheikh, Asif Khan Bashir Khan alias Junaid, Mohammad Zahid Abdul Majid Ansari and Abrar Ahmed Gulam Ahmed — were arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad in 2006 for their role in the blasts.
Shabbir Ahmed – one of the 9 accused in the case died in an accident few months ago.
The serial blasts which occurred near Hamidia mosque near Bada Kabrastan after Friday prayers on Shab-e-Baraat day in September 2006, killed 37 and injured over 100 people in communally sensitive Malegaon power loom town in Nasik district in north Maharashtra. The bombs were planted on bicycles, ATS investigation revealed.”
Now, can anybody who talks about ‘Islamic Terrorism’ please tell me as to who is going to rehabilitate them. Sorry, you can’t rehabilitate all of them because one of them already died while spending his last days in prison. It took 10 years to prove that they were innocent. Also, the actual criminals were roaming freely. Now, it is doubtful whether their children would study to become IAS officers or become terrorists for the injustice meted out to them or due to poverty or due to the ostracism by the society they live in. I empathise with these young people whose fathers were branded as terrorists by a society that treats them as the same, rejecting them and often harassing their family in every possible way.
When some innocents who are framed and later released to live lives of misery and desolation they choose to narrate their story in protest. Mohammad Aamir Khan who was charged with murder, terrorism and waging war against the nation when he was 18 chose to narrate his tale of 13 years and 10 months in prison in his book ‘Framed As A Terrorist’. He includes the stories of many other Muslim men framed as terrorists and left to rot in different prisons across India. The book, for example, narrates the story of Maqbool Shah from Srinagar, who was arrested by the Delhi Police at the age of 17. He was accused of being involved in the Lajpat Nagar blast. It was in Tihar Jail that he spent the next 13 years, 10 months and three weeks.
Only a few days ago, Nisar-ud-din Ahmad, who spent 23 years in jail, was released. He was arrested at 20 while he was a pharmacy student in Karnataka allegedly for train blasts in Kota, Hyderabad, Surat, Kanpur and Mumbai in the night of December 5-6, 1993. In 2004, the TADA Court at Ajmer convicted the accused, including Nisar and his brother Zaheer, and sentenced them to life imprisonment. The Court’s order was appealed to the Supreme Court which ruled that the confessions were without any “legal sanction and cannot be relied upon”.
These are a few short stories that were brought up by the mainstream media. There exist a number of cases of fake terrorism among which some remain unreported while many lack popular attention. We should thank the NIA, the police, and the government because they arrest the accused and bring them to justice. But there are some unlucky Muslims are not brought to justice as their cases are decided by the police by shooting them down. Famous is the case of Ishrat Jahan who was killed in an alleged fake encounter; the reason given was the threat she posed to the CM of Gujarat. While the recent statements of David Coleman Headley have raised doubts about her innocence, she’s one of those unfortunate few who couldn’t even stand trial.
It’s very necessary for the peaceful existence of everyone that any sort of violence should be prevented. But when the state uses draconian laws and foul play where innocents are caught in the trap, then human dignity is hurt. We’re peace lovers, but we also wouldn’t want to see ourselves or our family put behind bars unfairly.
What I would like to say is that we shouldn’t uncritically believe what we read or see. When the nation demands to hear both sides of the story such cases might not happen. And if you still believe in this unfair method of combatting terrorism, nothing more could be done. For my part, I will speak up and I will not tolerate.