“A large number of innocent young Muslims are being victimised by the police on the charge of being involved in various terrorist acts…the Human Rights Commissions which should have taken cognizance of such violation of human rights have been treating this with casual indifference.”
This is the central concern expressed in ‘What it Means to be a Muslim in India Today’, a report on two public tribunals held in the country in the past three years on discrimination against minorities.
The report, published by human rights organisation Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (Anhad), was released at a seminar on at Fort’s Anjuman-e-Islam School on Saturday.
“Our aim is to ask our government why those Muslims arrested in the name of terrorism after the Malegaon and other blasts have not been released, even though the role of Hindutva groups in them has been revealed,” said Shabnam Hashmi, founder of Anhad, which had convened the 2008 Hyderabad people’s tribunal and the 2009 national meet in Delhi on the ‘Status of Muslims in contemporary India’.
Both these tribunals involved first-hand testimonies by victims of state and police discrimination.
At the Mumbai meet, Anhad and the other speakers demanded that a judicial commission carry out a thorough reinvestigation of all blast and terror cases in the past 20 years without negating the role of saffron organisations such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Abhinav Bharat and Sangh Parivar.
They also demanded that the government prepare a report on the number of Muslim youth arrested and detained on charges of terror. “All those who were arrested and tortured in these cases must be provided with compensation, and all police officers who have engaged in torture and illegal detentions should be suspended,” said Anhad’s statement of demands.
“The ministers in our government seem to lack courage to demand a release of arrested Muslims even though they have been proved innocent,” said Maulana Abdul Hameed Azhari from Malegaon, one of the panelists at the seminar.
Other speakers included activists Mohammed Hilal, Yusuf Shaikh, Mahesh Bhatt and politicians Jitendra Ahwad and Yusuf Abrahani.