Saquib, 15, a distant cousin of alleged terrorist Atif Ameen who was killed in the Batla House encounter, is still traumatised.
Long counselling and psychiatric sessions after the grilling by the police’s special cell has not helped, said family friend Ameeque Jamei, a documentary filmmaker in Delhi.
He alleged Saquib’s hour-long interrogation by sleuths included comments like “you can never belong to this country”. “The sentences still echo in the mind of the young boy,” said Jamei one of the speakers at a public meeting at Jamia Millia Islamia, on Friday afternoon. The meet aimed at saying no to both terrorism and the communal witch-hunt.
Most speakers, from all over India, were relatives or friends of those picked up by the police for questioning and later found innocent. They alleged the suspects were nabbed either for having an Islamic name or because they hailed from villages in Azamgarh district.
Tarique Shafique, from Azamgarh’s Sanjarpur village, said youths of his village were going back to farming as their parents fear sending their sons out of the village.
“Those who were studying in cities like Delhi, Aligarh or Lucknow are coming back as they are now denied accommodations,” he added. He alleged that as many as 26 boys from his village have gone missing since the Batla House encounter.
Manisha Sethi, member of the Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Group (JTSG) that organised the event, said they wanted compensation and jobs for those acquitted in the terror-related cases.
The government must give exemplary punishment to those police officers who implicated innocent Muslims in false cases, she said. JTSG also wants a judicial probe into the “encounter” and the case be handed over to the CBI from Delhi Police.