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'Fast-track cases of Muslim youth in jail'

Monday July 09, 2012 07:59:45 PM, IANS

New Delhi: Scores of Muslim youth were being rounded up on suspicion of being terrorists and left lying in jails for years without a chargesheet filed, or even a trial, speakers at a public meeting said here Monday and urged the setting up of fast-track courts to try such cases and prevent the harassment of "innocent minorities".

At a 'Public Meeting on Politics of Terror: Targetting the Muslim Youth", prominent speakers, including politicians, pointed out that "whenever there is a bomb blast in the country why is it that suspicion falls only on the Muslim community".

The mother of Fasih Mahmood, an engineer who was picked up in Saudi Arabia May 14 for alleged terror links in India, said her son was innocent and wondered at the "silence" of the Indian government on his whereabouts.

(On Monday, the government informed the Supreme Court that Mahmood had been detained in Saudi Arabia.)

The son of journalist Syed Mohammed Ahmad Kazmi, who was arrested for his alleged role in the Feb 13 bomb attack at an Israeli diplomat's car, said the police have kept his father in jail and have not been able to produce proof of his father's alleged involvement so far.

At the meeting, held at Constitution Club as part of a series of protests by civil society on the issue, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah said since 9/11 "Muslims are looked at with suspicion around the world".

Abdullah was heckled by the gathering for "sermonizing" and asked to spell out concrete measures to deal with the issue being debated. A flustered Abdullah said the issue would be discussed in the cabinet and a "solution will work out".

Danish Ali of the Janata Dal-United said "It is a fact that Muslims are being looked at with suspicion" and added that the government had along with "importing technology from the US and Israel had also begun to import their ideology".

Communist Party of India (CPI)'s D. Raja said terror should not be identified with any religion or caste. He said the Indian state was turning into a "neo liberal state with draconian laws" and called for speedy trial of all such cases.

"The CPI will take up the issue inside and outside parliament," he assured.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Nilotpal Basu said a campaign should be built up in the country against the rounding up of youth on suspicion of terror.

Swami Agnivesh raised the issue of the killing of 17 suspected Maoists in Bastar last month, and said most of those killed had voter ID cards and were BPL card holders. He criticized Home Minister P. Chidambaram for the killings and said an apology for the deaths was not enough.

Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan and A.B. Bardhan of the CPI also spoke at the forum.

A resolution passed at the end of the meeting, urged the United Progressive Alliance government to take immediate measures to prevent the "victimization of innocent minorities", to set up fast tract courts for speedy disposal of cases of terrorism slapped on innocent young Muslims, and appoint a fact-finding mission of eminent citizens to examine and report on such cases among other things.




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