Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Framing innocent Muslims, destroying lives: Police, security agencies' strong bias against Muslim youths

1. Nisar Ahmad was barely 19 when he was framed in a false case of train bombing. Once arrested, agencies kept booking the college student from Gulbarga, in other unsolved cases and it took 23 years before he got acquitted.

2. Mohammad Amir was just 20. The Delhi youth was picked up by plain-clothed personnel in 1998, kept in illegal detention, tortured and falsely implicated in 19 terrorism related cases. He got released in 2012.

3. In the most recent case, 10 youths were picked from national capital. Immediately, they were accused of 'Jaish-e-Mohammad' links. Media was told that they had terrorist links, they were adequately defamed and thrown in lockup. Had it not been a strong reaction, they might have also had a similar fate.

Luckily in this case, the Home ministry acted and 'Special Cell' of Delh police, which is known for such arrests, released them. It was said that they didn't have terror links. So easy it is to detain, arrest, condemn, brand, jail Muslim youths and ruin their lives!

It is often said that post 9/11, police and security agencies became more suspicious of Muslims and the community bore the brunt of the 'profiling'. But the cases of Nisar Ahmad and Mohammad Amir predate the twin tower attack.

The role of police has been biased during communal riots, and it has been acknowledged by top police officers--both serving and retired, in the past. Unfortunately, it has been very easy for agencies to implicate Muslims, ruin their lives, families and careers.

Why cops implicate Muslim youths?

By claiming to arrest criminals or 'terrorists', police officials get credit. Headlines like 'mastermind arrested', help police officials within the department.

The cops also do it when the heat is on them in failing to solve cases. Besides, in unsolved cases, there is pressure from superiors to work out the case.

It is an age-old practice that innocent and poor who don't have social support or financial means, are made sacrificial goats. This helps cops in easing the pressure.

Why cops have no qualms in framing innocents, destroying their lives?

Further, it takes years before case goes to court. Police use torture to get 'confessions'. It takes years for a case to reach trial and hence cops have no fear of getting exposed.

By implicating a person in several cases, they succeed in terming him as 'mastermind' and when name appears in headlines, judges also get affected and are more tough on such persons. Despite torture, doctors examining them, ignore and take no note of the injuries.

No action on  policemen who ruin lives of innocents

One of the reasons, this systematic targeting of Muslims continues, is because there is no action against guilty police officers.

Cops have nothing to fear. Even after acquittal, the maximum a judge will do is to reprimand the 'police'. No penalty or action on the cops who destroyed lives. The fear of cops stops others from standing for victims.

Judges also don't question detainees despite seeing that the person has injury marks or swollen face. Hence, even if there is no evidence, such persons rot in jail for years, in fact, decades.

Failure of politicians, Indian Muslim leadership

It is a tragic situation in the world's biggest democracy. In a country where Muslims form the second biggest population, the failure of the 'system' in getting justice to innumerable Muslim youths, should have led to corrective measures.

Alas, nothing has happened. There are at least, 55 [30+25] Muslim MPs in both houses of Indian Parliament, always. But they have failed to come together, ever, on the serious issue, which concerns all Indian Muslims.

While activists from different sections of society raised the issue and Muslim clergy did take it up, there was no collective movement from all sections of Muslims, especially, the political leadership. Individually, some did speak up, but there was no strong stand taken by them.

It is a shame that how agencies continue to arrest and some of its officers manage to get away despite such biased action against Muslim youths. There have been documentation of such cases and arrests by Special Cell, Delhi. Yet, this has been happening for decades now.

*Nisar Ahmad's photo, courtesy: Indian Express. Story link
*Amir, framed in 19 terror cases: Story link