Since the last seven years, Aasiya Begum has been waiting for justice. Her son, Khwaja Yunus, was allegedly killed by the police in January 2003. Although Aasiya Begum filed a petition in the high court, the case has been progressing at a snail’s pace.
Aasiya Begum has sought compensation from the government, alleging that the only bread-winner of the family had been killed by police.
But the trial against policemen who were allegedly responsible for the custodial death of Ghatkopar bomb-blast accused Khwaja Yunus, is yet to begin.
The Crime Investigation Department, which was directed investigate the matter by the Bombay High Court, sought prosecution of 14 policemen for the trial. But the government permitted prosecution of only four. In November 2008, the CID charge-sheeted these officers.
Aasiya Begum’s counsel Mihir Desai said: “The government is prosecuting only the small fish. The main accused are not being prosecuted at all.” But there may be a ray of hope. The court had questioned the state’s stand on prosecuting four policemen.
Yunus was arrested in December 2002 for his alleged involvement with the Ghatkopar blast. Police later claimed that he escaped while being taken to Aurangabad for further investigation, when the police jeep met with an accident near Ahmednagar.
One of the co-accused in the case, Dr Abdul Mateen, alleged that Yunus was tortured in police custody, which led to his death. He also alleged that police had fabricated the escape theory to cover up the custodial death. Mateen was lodged next to Yunus’s cell in Ghatkopar police station, where they were being interrogated.
The special Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) court that conducted the trial in the Ghatkopar blast case acquitted all the nine accused, including Mateen, due to lack of evidence.