August 3, 2012
by Rajeev Yadav
The Uttar Pradesh state government stated that it will release innocent Muslim youths picked up under the pretext of terrorism, yet at the same time there is evidence of their ill treatment and harassment in jails. This is happening even in the state’s capital, Lucknow. Senior human rights leader and advocate, Mohammed Shoaib and Randhir Singh Suman have stated that their client Tariq Kazmi informed them that prison officials searched him in jail. During this search, the jailor tore his bag and hurled sectarian invectives at him.
About 32 people are being held on charges of terrorism in Lucknow Jail. Despite scorching heat they are kept captive in their prison cells for about 23 hours. The time that they are let out is spent in a latticed verandah opposite the barracks. The torture and searches that the prisoners are being subject to are also motivated by a communal mind-set because during the month of Ramzan, young Muslim men observe religious customs to a greater extent than usual. Moreover, according to Tariq, food is being thrown to them the same way that fodder is thrown to animals.
Tariq Kazmi’s arrest spurred a movement against the capture of innocent Muslim youth under terrorism charges. After apprehending Tariq from Ajamgadh on 12 December 2007, the U.P. STF claimed that Khalid Mujahid, who had been apprehended from Mariahu, Jaunpur on 12th December, was arrested in Barabanki on 23rd December 2007. Under pressure from people’s movements, the previous Mayawati government announced an inquiry commission under R.D. Nimesh to investigate charges of false arrests by the U.P. STF. After the current government of the Samajwadi Party took power, the process to release these two young men has been set in motion, according to some sources.
The committee formed for the release of those falsely implicated on terror charges, has demanded that the U.P. government make good on its promise to release the innocent by Independence Day. This would allow those tangled in false court cases for years to celebrate Eid with their loved ones who have been eagerly awaiting their release.
In the past few days, ADG Law and Order Jagmohan Yadav has also stated that ATS and District Captains should bring to notice those cases in which there was have been complaints of false arrests.
In the wake of the murder of Qateel Siddiqui by security agencies in Pune’s Yerwada Jail, the behavior of the Lucknow Jailor suggests a dangerous development. This incident in Lucknow Jail took place despite the fact that only recently a leader of the SP, Abu Aasim Azmi visited and met with Tariq and others implicated in false charges of terrorism and assured them of their release.
Now that the prisoners are close to their release, it is incumbent on the state government to guarantee their safety because security agencies would even be willing to kill in order to hide the truth and suppress the questions raised with regard to their actions. We have observed this behaviour of the agencies recently in Pune’s Yerwada jail which is based on Gandhian values with the murder of Qateel.
(Translated from Hindi by Sirisha Naidu)