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Cops torturing blast suspects, says panel

The Andhra Minority panel geared up after allegations of the torture of 20 Muslims surfaced, reports A Das.
Hindustan Times | By Ashok Das, Hyderabad
UPDATED ON OCT 17, 2007 01:07 AM IST

The Andhra Pradesh Minority Commission is drawing up a list of police officers involved in the August twin blasts probe after allegations of the torture of 20 Muslims have surfaced.

It is expected to submit its final report to the chief minister soon, said commission chairman Yousuf Qureshi. The report says torture marks — scars on ears and nipples indicative of needle piercing — were found on nine men, some of who are still in lock-up. The commission was unable to meet the rest.

The minority panel had appointed an advocates' committee to investigate the charges after the families of some of the men complained of torture in police custody.

The committee, comprising advocate L Ravichander and forensic expert Dr Mahender Reddy, spoke to detainees at the Cherlapally jail on the outskirts of Hyderabad recently.

"These are not self-inflicted scars but those received during police custody," the committee concluded. The blasts had occurred at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chaat House, a popular eatery, on August 25, killing 44 people and injuring 54. It also took strong exception to "irresponsible" usage of terms like "Islami" and "jihadi" by authorities.

The commission noted that investigations after the Mecca Masjid blast in May lacked the "vigour and sternness" that was evident in this probe.

The fact that only Muslims were victims in the May blast and the subsequent police firing have not gone unnoticed.

It has suggested that a 24-hour helpline be set up to register complaints against police excesses.

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