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Compensation, certificates to 61 Muslim youths tortured in blast case

Saturday January 07, 2012 07:51:52 PM, IANS

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Rs.7 million released for Muslim youths wrongly held

Perhaps in the first instance of victims of police torture in a terror case being paid compensation in India, Andhra Pradesh has released Rs.7 million for innocent Muslim youths arrested and tortured in the 2007  

'Short on funds' AP Govt to pay compensation from Mecca Masjid Acc

Hyderabad: In an unprecedented move, the Andhra Pradesh government Friday paid compensation to Muslim youths wrongly arrested and tortured by police in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case.

Minister for Minority Welfare Mohammed Ahmedullah distributed cheques of Rs.54.2 lakh among 61 Muslim youths at a function attended by government officials and leaders of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM).

While 15 people who were acquitted in the case were paid Rs.3 lakh each, 46 others, who were let off after questioning by the police, were given cheques of Rs.20,000 each.

They were also given certificates, stating that they are not involved in any case.

This is the first time in India that a state has paid compensation to people wrongly arrested and tortured on terrorism charges.

The government had identified 70 victims and announced compensation of Rs.70 lakh but the names of nine of them were dropped from the list as the cases against them were yet to be withdrawn.

"While they can't be compensated for the physical, mental and social torture that they were subjected to and for the hardships faced in jail, we are trying to heal the wounds," the minister said.

"These innocents were tortured and held guilty. This is the first time that a government has admitted its mistake," said Mohammed Ali Rafath, secretary, minorities welfare department.

While describing the government move as exemplary, MIM leader and legislator Akbaruddin Owaisi demanded that the police officers responsible for the arrests and torture of the innocents be punished.

"The government has met our demands for compensation and the chief minister has also apologized in the assembly and we hope it will also take action against the guilty police officers," said Akbaruddin, who is the leader of MIM in state assembly.

The MIM leader urged the government to pay compensation to all victims by withdrawing cases against them, saying the other cases were result of the police action implicating them falsely in the blast case.

The National Minorities Commission had asked the state government to pay compensation. It had also recommended to the government to consider deducting the amount from the salaries of erring police officials.

Nine persons were killed in a blast during Friday prayers at the historic Mecca Masjid on May 18, 2007. Five more persons were killed in the subsequent police firing on protestors outside the mosque.

Following the blast, the police had arrested dozens of Muslim youths. A fact-finding committee of the state minorities commission in its report, said the police tortured the youths.

The arrested youths were acquitted by the courts.

In 2010, investigations by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) revealed that right-wing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat was involved in the blast. The group's leaders and activists were subsequently arrested.







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