Sunday, February 10, 2008

Haji Ishtiyaq's arrest: Anger against Mayawati govt

Haji Ishtiyaq, a shopkeeper, in Baghpat, was picked up by the police on January 27, just because of a 'prediction' in a mocking tone, that Mayawati government may not last long. His arrest has now become a major issue in Western UP.

The conversation between Haji Ishtiaq and a BSP worker who was drinking near his shop, that ultimately led to the arrest, is reproduced here*:

Haji Ishtiaq: Making merry, aren't you!
BSP Worker: Ya, it's our government & we will make merry for next 15 years in the state. (two more terms)
Haji Ishtiaq: Let's see how long Mayawati and her government last

On the complaint of the BSP worker, Ishtiaq was later arrested, charged under sections meant for anti-national activities, linked with terrorists and thrown into jail. He was even charged of conspiracy to kill Mayawati.

But the issue has now snowballed into a major controversy. Nearly 50,000 attended the Mahapanchayat, which was addressed by Ajit Singh and Kokab Hameed. Maulana Masood Madani has criticised the arrest and lambasted the Muslim MLAs of BSP for betraying the community.

'Democracy has been murdered in UP', he said. Haji Ishtiyaque's arrest is just an example of the high-handedness of UP police and its zeal in linking Muslims with terrorism. Political parties and several groups have come out in support of Ishtiaq.

(*on the basis of newspaper reports and statements of Haji Ishtiaq's supporters)