Friday, June 18, 2010
Mecca Masjid suspects seek apology and compensation
At least 50 suspects were picked up from Hyderabad city alone for allegedly carrying out both Mecca Masjid and Ajmer blasts. All of them have been acquitted by the court and they currently are seeking an apology coupled with compensation from the Hyderabad police.
"While these youth try and put their life back on track, they say that it was not enough that they were acquitted, but the real joy came when the Central Bureau of Investigation announced who exactly had carried out these attacks. We are hopeful that the stigma will come down now that the real perpetrators of the attack have been nabbed," says Dr Junaid, who was named the main accused in the Mecca Masjid blasts.
"There was a reason why we insisted on a CBI probe right from the start," Dr Junaid told rediff.com.
"The Hyderabad police were not looking at this case from the investigating point of view and while in custody there was a lot of communal feeling from their side which I got to witness each day. The police cannot base its investigations on a communal angle. I was in their custody for two years and I cannot even explain the torture that they meted out to me on the basis of my religion."
Abdul and Sayeed (names changed) who were in the custody for the same case too say that it is scary living in the city.
"We have been cleared by the courts, but there is this lurking fear that we could be picked up any time. Anytime there is an incident anywhere in the country, Hyderabad becomes the focal point and the nightmare starts for all of us. Even recently when there was a constable who was shot at, we were in fear since we thought that the police may come and pick all of us up again."
Lateef Mohammad Khan of the Civil Liberties Movement Committee India, who took the lead in fighting the case of all these youth, says that it is the communal nature of the police which has made things worse.
"The trauma that these youth and their families have undergone is unimaginable and there have been instances where the marriages of some of the family members have been called off due to these cases. Who can compensate all that? Khan questions
Dr Junaid states that their stand today has been vindicated.
"I was working as a doctor in a private hospital before my arrest and the police without any basis picked me up. When in custody, there were constant taunts about my religion. I was reading our Holy Book when one of the police officers took me into a room and gave an electric shock on my lips. They joked about my beard and passed various other comments.
"I would not say that all in the department are communal. The CBI for instance has been very fair since day one. They have acted very late, but they have acted well. I am sure that they will take it to the logical end."
Sayeed goes on to add that being acquitted was one thing, but investigators finding the real culprits was another.
"When we were acquitted, we were happy, but some in the society would continue to think that this happened due to a technicality. However, following the revelations of the CBI, people have started looking at us differently and accept our innocence."