By Syed Hassan Kazim,
The witch hunt of Muslim youths going on across the country on a large scale is something which has largely been ignored by the mainstream media, but the voices against such illegal arrests have started to rise from different quarters. The recent most reaction has come from Bihar’s Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, who went fuming at the arrest of a man named Kafeel Akhtar from Darbhanga, by a team of plain clothed policemen from BJP ruled state Karnataka in relation to Chinnaswamy stadium blast case of 2010. The CM described the arrest as illegal and highly objectionable.
It is a duty of the government to make sure that innocents are not made to pay for the crimes of others. But the recent trend of witch hunting of the Muslim youths is something which is not going down well with the secular and right thinking strata of Indians.
The pathetic intentional ignorance of media towards this witch hunt is something which cannot be ignored by the excuse of the corporatization of media. Isn’t it the duty of the fourth estate to report honestly when it comes to the violation of human rights? After all, it is regarded as the voice of the voiceless. The way a whole community is being stereotyped is certainly going to leave an adverse impact on the minds and psyche of the youth, who are the future of this country. The largest selling daily, ‘The Times of India’ came up with the headline, “North Bihar is the new terror hub, or Azamgarh”. This shows how irresponsible the media has become when it comes to reporting the events which are somehow not related to the vulgarities of IPL or the fasts of Annas and Babas.
In March this year, an Urdu journalist, Syed Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi was arrested by the special branch of the Delhi police and was accused of being a part of the conspiracy to plant a magnet bomb in the car of an Israeli Diplomat, on February 13th, this year. As the trend goes, he was a Muslim who knew Urdu and Persian and that could be enough to be a suspect. The only hope is a fair trial. Till now the police have not been able to give a single concrete proof against him. Despite being in the judicial custody, Kazmi is being made a pawn just because someone from the top tier wants him to be indicted for the crime which he never committed. No one knows for how long will Kazmi have to stay in jail without getting any attention from the government?
The cases like that of Kazmi and Gilani come to the limelight because they are somehow comparatively high profile cases. But what about the hundreds of others whose futures and lives are unnecessarily being rotten in the jails across the country just because their names resembled to some so called terror master minds? The promotion hungry policemen when come under ministerial and departmental pressures arrest them in a hurry only to fabricate false cases against them. Who will reply to their questions? Who will reply to the questions of Amir (a boy when he was arrested 14 years ago and now a man by the Delhi police which alleged him of being some terror mastermind, or the so called international terrorist only to be acquitted by the honourable courts after spending the most precious years of his life in Tihar Jail. Will Dr. Manmohan Singh, who is ever-ready to welcome Hillary Clinton, care to meet Amir and ask for his forgiveness? Will Mrs. Sonia Gandhi do that? No, not at all!
If, for the Prime Minister, the judicial enquiry into the Batla House encounter means something which will bring down the so called morale of the Delhi police, then he should also think about the morale of the masses, morale of the youths of a particular community who are being arrested by the communal and biased police personnel. The way UPA dispensation has been treating the case of Muslim witch hunting has left a deep scar on the Muslim community because for most of the Muslims all the claims of the Congress about its secular and democratic values are falling flat like a myth. Most of them see no difference between the communal BJP and the supposedly “secular” Congress.
In a democracy, there are a few things which are more important than just votes and elections and those are honour, justice and fair trial. These are a few things which differentiate a democracy from a police state. The ones who hold the reigns of the country must be accountable for all activities carried out under their guidance. For starters, they should learn to say “sorry”.
(The author is postgraduate student at Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delh)