The Uttar Pradesh government, led by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, will re-examine cases involving 21 Muslim youth accused of being terrorists and held in detention without charges, capping a long campaign by Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind leader Arshad Madni.
Yadav told Madni, after a series of meetings, that those Muslim youth against whom charges were already framed would be given faster trials.
Bails could be facilitated for those who have been detained without charges for long periods. The state’s law department advised the government that such a move would not fall foul of the law.
The move could see a groundswell of support for the Samajwadi Party ahead of a general election next year from Muslims in the politically bellwether state.
“We are committed to our poll manifesto and those Muslim youth who were arrested under false terror charges should be released soon,” the chief minister told a conclave of clerics.
Most of the cases relate to the November 2007 bombings in Faizabad and Lucknow court premises. One relates to 26/11, in which two Indians, Fahimuddin Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed were held and were acquitted but still face some charges in UP.
“Innocent Muslim youths should be freed. Those guilty should be punished,” Madni told HT. He also urged speedy passage of the much-delayed Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011.
Jamiat leaders termed the decision as historic. Politically, the Arshad Madni faction of the Jamiat could throw its lot behind Samajwadi Party.
Condemning the blasts in Hyderabad, Madni said investigating agencies should do a thorough probe, instead of arresting people in a hurry.