PROBE: UP MUSLIM YOUTHS FACING WITCH-HUNT OF ANTI-TERROR SQUAD

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 12:48 -- dl_editor

It is an open secret today that most of the prisons in India are filled by people belonging to the minority community or the backward classes. Reasserting the same was Mohammad Farooq.

“When the police picked up my son, we were unable to trace his whereabouts for 2-3 days. Then we came to know that the anti terrorist squad (ATS) had brought him to Lucknow. At ATS office, the officials informed us that our son was planning a terror attack. Following which, I asked them to enquire about my son in Barhapur, a village where my son used work as an Imam. I stressed upon the fact that my son couldn’t be a terrorist. Then they assured of my son being released soon and that I shouldn’t worry,” narrated Farooq, father of Mufti Faizan, who had been picked up by the UP ATS for allegedly planning a terror attack in April last year.

“We were later informed that it would take at least 3 months for Faizan to be released due to technical reasons like filing of charge sheet. Again, we were told by them (Police) that we would have to wait for at least six months. Since then we have been waiting for our son,” revealed Farooq.

A worried father, further added, “We are much worried. Our family comprises Faizan’s wife and two daughters. I am a labour. After my son got arrested, my work has also affected. He was the primary bread earner. I don’t know how I am going to bear all the expenses?”

Farooq, in his seventies, hails from village Alipura Jat, Bijnor shared his story with Caravan Daily while attending a Press conference called by Rihai Manch, a group of Advocates and Human Rights activists at the Uttar Pradesh Press Club, on Saturday.

On April 20, UP Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) had arrested Mufti Faizan, 25, from Barhapur town of Bijnor District for allegedly being involved in anti-national activities and having links with terrorist organization like the Islamic State (IS). He was arrested immediately after the encounter of Mohammed Saifullah, a suspected member of IS, by the UP ATS on March 7, 2017.

After Saifullah’s encounter, UP ATS arrested a few Muslim youths, suspecting them of having links with IS. Mohammad Atif, 28, an embroidery worker, was also arrested by the UP ATS on July 27 from Jajamau Area of Kanpur on the same grounds.

“My brother has been falsely framed in connection with Saifullah’s case. After his encounter on March 7, my brother was repeatedly called by the ATS to record a ‘fake’ version as a witness in the case. We were being harassed. So we wrote to the Home Ministry and various human rights organizations highlighting our case. But still Atif was arrested for not becoming a witness in the case. No prior case had been registered against him. It has been a year since he has been arrested but he is yet to be released. We are still hopeful of getting justice,” Mohammad Aqib, elder brother of Atif, told Caravan Daily.

Besides Atif, ATS had also arrested Asif Iqbal (26), Saifullah’s cousin, who lived in the same locality of Kanpur.

Holding newspapers’ photocopy, which had carried stories about his brother’s case, Aqib said, “Atif has two children. A son and a daughter, both aged 4 and 1, respectively. Our family is worried. Residents of our locality have stopped talking to us, fearing that they might also be arrested.”

Fake terror charges on Muslim youths
During the press conference, Rihai Manch released a fact finding report – In The Name of Deradicalisation”, which had compiled at least 16 cases, where Muslim youths who have been arrested by the ATS as terror suspects and are yet to be released.

Advocate Abu Bakr said, “In many such cases judges have been transferred while advocates have been attacked. There are several judgments where court had set police accountability and asked them to compensate the victims in such fabricated cases. There is urgent need to bring the accountability in the judiciary and the investigating agencies like the police and NIA (National Investigating Agency) etc.”

Growing Fake Encounters and Inter-Caste, Communal Violence
Activist Ansar Ahmad, National council of Human Rights Organisation (NCHRO) said, “Since BJP government has come into power, vulnerable sections of the society are being targeted tremendously. Most of the encounters have been reported in Uttar Pradesh are fake encounters.”

He added, “In several cases we have found that the police had concocted stories to frame Muslim youths. Those who are released from jail either on bail or after completing their sentence, police kills them in encounter in the name of controlling crime.”

According to the UP government, the police had conducted 1,038 encounters in the state, by January 2018. In these encounters, 44 people and four policemen were killed and 238 were injured. However, human rights activists maintain that the actual figures are much higher, around 1400.

Dalit atrocities is also on the rise. Activist Amar Paswan said, “BJP government is suppressing the voices of dissent. In our country when we try to work in right direction, government creates hurdle.”

Advocate Mohammad Shoaib from Rihai Manch stated, “The state is patronizing and protecting those involved in such violence. Mass movement can only lead to a change that we are looking for.”

The Manch has also demanded for a judicial probe into the fake encounters and the release of Bhim Army chief, Chandrashekhar Azad, who has been arrested under NSA (National Security Act) and is behind bar despite getting bail from the Allahabad High Court in November 2017.

Cases Against Yogi Adityanath
Speaking about the decision of Uttar Pradesh’s BJP government ordering not to prosecute Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for the 2007 riots case, allegedly triggered by his hate speech, senior Advocate at Allahabad High Court Farman Ali Naqvi said, “Both the governments led by Samajwadi Party and BJP have cheated the people of the state.”

Farman Ali said, “Yogi’s case has become a historical documentation of how two consecutive governments have cheated the people. It is the job of the law enforcing agencies to arrest the criminals and for the courts to do justice.”

Courtesy: GHAZANFAR ABBAS | Caravan Daily

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