BeyondHeadlines Staff Reporter
Hyderabad: In a significant move, the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has asked the Andhra Pradesh Government to render justice to the Muslim youth who were arrested and subjected to torture on following the bomb blast at Makkah Masjid in Hyderabad in 2007 on the basis of false charges. This might come as a ray of hope for many innocent youths suffering the stigma associated with facing terror charges.
In a letter addressed to state Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, NCM Chairman Wajahat Habeebullah has made six recommendations, including the payment of Rs 300,000 in compensation to each youth who was arrested and implicated in false cases.
Even more significantly, the commission has said that the compensation amount should be recovered from the policemen responsible for arresting innocent youths and booking false cases against them.
It may be recalled that at least a hundred Muslim youth were picked up by the Hyderabad Police after the blast at the Makkah Masjid on May 18, 2007 and many were subjected to torture. While different cases were booked against 26 of them, the others were let off.
Federal probe findings
Despite protests from leaders of the Muslim community against the police line that the blast was the handiwork of Muslims, the police continued its investigations directed at the community. Members of the community, especially the youth, continued to face harassment and torture over the issue. Later, local courts acquitted all of the suspects from the community.
Subsequently, investigations by the Central Bureau of Investigation, the federal agency, exposed the involvement of Hindu right-wing groups in the blast and several persons including Swami Aseemanad were arrested in the case.
However, the state government continued to stonewall the demand for compensation and rehabilitation of the youth who were targeted by the police earlier.
It was in response to a detailed representation by one Major S.G.M. Quadri that the NCM took up the issue and its Chairman Wajahat Habeebullah visited Hyderabad city earlier this year. The commission has remained in touch with the state ever since.
Notably, 100 Muslim youths were arrested initially over attack, while 26 suspects were slapped with various charges.