Kamala Kanta Dash for Beyond Headlines
New Delhi: A massive gathering of activists, journalists, lawyers, community and political leaders in Delhi at a Public Meeting at the Constitutional Club raised a concerned and worried voice against the targeting of Muslim youth in the name of counter-terrorism. The central focus of the public convention was to develop action points and strategies for policy intervention which would effectively help stop victimization of the Muslim youth by the law enforcement, intelligence and security agencies. The meeting passed a resolution highlighting the urgent need of setting up fast track courts for the speedy trials and advocated for rehabilitation and compensation packages for those who have been illegally detained and later acquitted by the court of law after several years of imprisonment.
From Batla House to Azamgarh and from Malegaon to Darbhanga, the tag of nursery or hub of masterminds of terrorism has effortlessly been imposed on many cities and regions of India. In recent days high profile incidents like the killing of Qateel Siddique in Yerawada Jail in Pune, arrest of Mohd. Kazmi on his alleged involvement in attacking the Israeli embassy car and the controversial issue of Fasih Mahmood have brought the issue of unlawful targeting of Muslims once again to the forefront. These developments coupled with illegal arrests of young Muslims by police and intelligence agencies at regular intervals have created a fear psychosis within the Muslim community and a serious concern among the people who value and profess human rights, secularism and democracy.
The public meeting attracted massive participation of people across communities and party lines. The session started with the family members of the victims of counter-terror policing sharing their life stories. This was followed by brief intervention and expression of solidarity by a galaxy of speakers. A captive, inquisitive and restless audience filled the Deputy Speaker Hall with a lot of emotions ranging from anger, frustration, disappointment and finally to encouragement and voluntary willingness to continue the struggle against social discrimination, unlawful detention and demand for adequate compensation.
Leading personalities like Kuldeep Nayyar, Farooq Abdullah, Danish Ali, Swami Agnivesh, Syeda Hamid, Sehba Farooqui, Hanumanth Rao, D Raja, Ram Vilas Paswan and AB Bardhan among others stressed on the need of a sustained movement to keep up the pressure on the government both within and outside the Parliament.
Organisers Mr. Mohammad Adeeb (MP Rajya Sabha), Ms. Seema Mustafa (Senior Journalist), Prof. Anuradha Chenoy (Academic, JNU), Mr. Iqbal Ahmad (Senior Journalist, BBC), Mr. Ajit Sahi (Senior Journalist) and Mr. Ameeque Jamei (Social Activist) appealed to the participants to continue the interaction and suggest measures to stop illegal detention and other policy strategies to deal with discrimination and unlawful targeting of Muslim youth. This has been one of the remarkable initiatives by the Civil Society leaders to engage with the citizens, communities and the State at large.