#India- After 6 months in jail as ‘terror suspect’, a journalist returns


Johnson T A : Bangalore, Wed Feb 27 2013, IE
DF

About six months ago, when he appeared in court for the first time after being named by the Bangalore Police in an alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba plot to target local right-wing media personalities, Muthi ur Rehman Siddiqui, 26, a reporter and sub-editor with the Deccan Herald newspaper here, still had the glint of youthful exuberance in his eyes.

But now, the first thing that comes to mind on seeing Siddiqui after his release from prison on Monday, is the disappearance of that enthusiasm from his face. Gone is the glint in his eyes, and in its place is a serious, sad man.

“I always thought the police, media and society at large do not treat terror suspects fairly. That thinking has been reinforced by my experience,” said Siddiqui on Tuesday.

Among 15 youths arrested by the Bangalore Police last August-September from Bangalore, Hubli, Nanded and Hyderabad in an alleged LeT-linked terror plot — that has now been linked to the February 21 twin blasts in Hyderabad — Siddiqui was released on Monday after the NIA, which took over the case, reported no “prosecutable evidence” against him and co-accused Yusuf Nalband, 24.

As the NIA did not name Siddiqui and Nalband, a commerce graduate working in a private firm, in its chargesheet filed on February 20, a special court ordered their release on February 23.

“I feel really relieved that I have been able to come out clean. It is a huge victory for me and the community at large, because this is not one individual’s fight,” said Siddiqui. “People called me the mastermind of the group. If I am the mastermind, then my friends who have been arrested must also be released,” he said.

The arrests were made on the basis of intelligence inputs of contacts between some of the youths and LeT-linked persons in Saudi Arabia. But there was no clear case against Siddiqui. It was alleged that he was providing radical literature and his office computer was seized.

One of five children of a small-time perfume merchant from Hubli, Siddiqui financed his own education, and did not allow the death of his father in 2006 to deter him from obtaining a post-graduate degree in mass communication and pursuing his dream of a career in journalism.

“When I was doing my PG diploma in mass communication, I chose the topic, ‘Media coverage of terrorism suspects’, for my thesis. Unfortunately, my supervisor struck down the topic, saying I may get into trouble. But the subject has always been on my mind. And I saw in prison that people have been stuck there for years, in some cases without a trial,” he said, referring to the continued incarceration of 32 youths arrested from Hubli in 2007.

“I consider myself very fortunate that I have been released after six months. Trial takes about seven to eight years. When you are declared innocent after seven or eight years, it is like a slap on your face. My sympathies were always with terror suspects, and that feeling has become stronger now,” said Siddiqui.

During his time in prison, Siddiqui memorised a significant part of the Quran. “That is one of the positive things this experience has given me,” he said. Siddiqui said he also tried to engage himself constructively by teaching two of his co-accused who are illiterate (Mohammed Sadiq Laskhar, 28 and Mahaboob Bagalkot, 26).

“Initially I was very optimistic that I would get out soon because they had promised me. We waited and waited, but it did not happen,” he said. As time lapsed, he feared that the police may fabricate evidence against him. With charges being brought under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967, the time for incarceration prior to the chargesheet was extended to 180 days.

“The experience has really changed me as a person. When you are kept in confinement, it is very depressing. Now I have a different perspective of the world,” he said.

“I had so much time because there isn’t any responsibility or any work. But it is an advantage in the sense that I had ample time to introspect. I could do some serious introspection about my life, career and the shortcomings in me as a person. I also read a lot,” said Siddiqui.

He has no immediate plans to return to journalism, he wants to spend some time with his family. “I am yet to adjust to this changed environment. I have just returned from an entirely different world,” he said.

Siddiqui hoped that the others accused in the case would also be released soon. “They have resigned themselves to remaining in prison for a while. But the thought is still there each morning, when you wake up, about being free once again,” he said.

Pointing out that DRDO scientist Ajaz Ahmed Mirza, 25, who is also among the arrested, has not been named in the NIA chargesheet, Siddiqui said he expected him to be freed soon.

- See more at: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/after-6-months-in-jail-as–terror-suspect–a-journalist-returns/1080262/0#sthash.Z71lgbX1.dpuf

NIA files charge-sheet in terror plot, drops charges against two


By Newzfirst Correspondent2/21/13

Bangalore – About 6 months after 15 youths were arrested from different locations in Karnataka on charges of a terror plot and alleged links with banned terror outfits, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) submitted a charge-sheet on Wednesday against 12 persons while dropping the charges of two others – journalist Muthi Ur Rehman Siddique and Yusuf Nalband.

On 29 August, 11 youths were picked up by CCB sleuths from Bangalore and Hubli for alleged links with banned terror outfits. Four more were subsequently arrested from different locations in Karnataka and Hyderabad.

The case of these 15 accused was registered at Basaveshwara Nagar police station, with the CCB Special Enquiries (SE) squad of Bangalore being in-charge of the investigation.

The NIA later took over the investigation of the case (384/2012) and continued inquiry against the accused persons after re-registering the case as RC 04/12/ NIA/Hyd.

According to the NIA, 25 persons are accused in the above case. Of the 25 accused, 15 have been arrested so far while 10 more are absconding.

Out of the 15 persons who were arrested, the NIA has filed charges against 11. The charges against two persons – journalist Muthi Ur Rehman Siddique and Yusuf Nalband – have been dropped while the NIA has sought more time to investigate two others, namely Aejaz Ahmed Mirza and Syed Tanzeem. One more person who is included in the charge-sheet, but remains absconding, is Zakir @ Ustad.

The present charge sheet has been submitted against 12 of the 25 accused persons, namely Shoaib Ahmed Mirza @ Chotu, Abdul  Hakeem  Jamadar, Riyaz Ahmed Byahatti , Mohammad Akram @ Khaled, Ubedullah Bahadur @ Imran, Wahid Hussain Kanakyanavar, Dr. Zafar Iqbal Sholapur, Mohammad Sadiq Lashkar, Mehboob Bagalkote,  Zakir @ Ustad,  Obaid-Ur-Rehman and Dr. Nayeem Siddique, charged under sections 120 B  read with (r/w) 153 A,  399 of Indian Penal Code (IPC),  section 18 r/w sections 10, 13, 17, and 38 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) 1967 and section 3 r/w 25 of the Arms Act 1959.

“The investigation disclosed the conspiracy to commit terrorist activities in India by a Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) supported network of terrorists based abroad and their associates in India in the States of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra,” NIA said in a statement.

“Further Investigation of the Case is in progress against other accused who are absconding and suspected to be based in foreign countries as well as two arrested accused,” the statement further read.

#Goa- The year of Rapes : 50 cases this year #Vaw


rape11

By , TNN | Dec 28, 2012, 03.17 AM IST

PANAJI: The year 2012 started started with the betrayal of teacher-student relations. The first rape case of the year was registered against Kanhaiya Naik, a married art teacher, who allegedly raped his student. It was the first of around 50 rape cases this year.

Till November 2012, 982 cases have been registered across the state, across crimes. Police have registered 42 murder cases, 50 rape cases, four dacoity cases, 23 robbery cases, 820 thefts and 46 drug cases.

Compared to last year, rape cases have increased by 29, to 50 cases (till November), and a majority of victims are minors, while the accused persons are teachers, friends or unidentified persons.

The first case came to light on January, 18, 2012, when Naik was arrested by Panaji police for allegedly raping his student. On December 29, 2011, Naik picked up the girl from her residence, stating that he would give her career guidance, and took her to his flat at Ribandar. Police sources said that Naik clicked photographs of the girl and molested her. The incident came to light on December 31, 2011, when the girl’s mother saw some marks on her neck. Sources said that when her mother questioned her, she revealed that Naik had molested her.

After Naik was granted bail on July 10, 2012, the victim committed suicide, succumbing to 90% burn injuries. Naik was again arrested for abetment of suicide and later, he was released on bail. Police have filed a chargesheet in the case.

In another case in January, a16-year-old girl was raped in a bus at Dona Paula. Police registered a case of rape and arrested 22-year-old Shrikant Baranappa of Hubli.

The girl had gone to work at a house in Taleigao, as her mother, who was working as a domestic help at the house, had fallen ill. As she found the house locked, she sat at a garden in Taleigao waiting for her mother’s employers to return, when she met Baranappa, who was known to her.

The girl said Baranappa approached her and told her that it was unsafe to sit alone in the garden and that he would drop her home on his bike. Since she knew the man and trusted him, the girl went with him but instead of taking her home, Baranappa took her to Dona Paula, pushed her into a parked bus and then raped her there.

Police added that Baranappa forcibly kept the girl in the bus throughout the night and only allowed her to go in the morning, after threatening her that if she told anyone about the incident, he would trace her and kill her. Frightened, the victim, instead of going home to her parents, went to her grandparents’ home in Hubli, police said. She was then convinced to return to Goa and narrated the incident to her mother and the mother lodged a complaint. Police have filed the chargesheeted in the case.

On September 26, 2012, an unidentified person took a minor girl to Panaji and after confining her to his house in Porvorim, raped her. He later handed the victim over to another unidentified person, who took her to Miramar beach and molested her. After confining her to his house till October 6, he brought the minor to Margao and left her at the KTC bus stand. While at the KTC bus stand, Wassim Kalaigar, a resident of Margao, got acquainted with the minor and took her to an ice cream parlour at Margao, where he too raped her. Kalaigar then brought her back to the KTC bus stand, Margao, from where she left for Panaji.

After the victim’s relatives noticed her in Panaji, they dropped her back to her house and after the victim narrated the incident, a case was lodged at Margao police station. Three accused are released on bail, while two are in judicial lockup. The case is under investigation.

In December, a 16-year old girl was raped by two persons at two different locations, while one of the accused was a classmate of the victim and also a minor.

Police sources told TOI that the accused lured the girl to a cinema hall to watch a movie after skipping classes. Both are students of a higher secondary school near Margao. After watching the movie together, he forcibly took her to a toilet within the complex and had sexual intercourse with her.

The minor accused then called up one of his friends and asked him to meet him at the nearby KTC bus stand, Margao. The other accused person then came to the KTC bus stand on a bike, and forcibly took her to some unidentified, isolated place, where he also raped her. The accused also took video clippings of the act.

Police have arrested the minor boy and kept him in a protective home. The unidentified person is yet to be traced.

 

PRESS RELEASE-Hubli-Dharwad Police terrorize human rights activist on #HumanRightsDay


We condemn the blatantly communal actions and harassment of human rights activists by B. A. Padmanayan (Police Commissioner, Hubli-Dharwad), S. M. Pratapan (DCP – Law & Order, Hubli-Dharwad) and Sachin Chalawadi (Police Inspector, Old Hubli Police Station)

 

We demand immediate suspension of these 3 police officers and their prosecution.

 

Praja Rajakiya Vedike applied for police permission on 3rd December, 2012 to hold a rally and public meeting in Hubli on 11th December 2012 along with other human rights organizations. The purpose of the rally is to press for an end to the human rights violations of ordinary people with a focus on the arrest of innocent Muslim youth and fabrication of false evidence against them.

 

The Old Hubli police station had given us permission in writing on 7th December 2012. When we approached Town Police Station on 7th December 2012, we were told to collect the permission letter from Police Commissioner’s office on 8th December 2012. When we contacted the Police Commissioner’s office on 8th December 2012, Mr. Ullikashi, the in-charge officer told us that the Commissioner was not in the office on 8th and 9th (9th being a Sunday (holiday)), and requested us to collect the permission letter on 10th December, Monday. On Sunday evening we visited Old Hubli Police Station on their request.

 

During our meeting with Mr. Sachin Chalawadi, Police Inspector told us that there is a leaflet being circulated in the area about this planned protest and that banned organizations such as SIMI are taking part in our rally, when we questioned him about these statements and clarified that Students Islamic Organization (SIO) which is one of organisation involved in this protest is not SIMI, (and has no links with SIMI) he took back his statement. But he continued to say that we can’t question police actions through public rally and the only way to question police actions is through the court of law. We stated that freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed by the constitution of India and that the citizens of India have rights to question police actions publicly.

 

On Monday morning we visited Mr. G. M. Desur (ACP, South, Hubli) after getting a phone call from him. He also stated that he can’t permit our rally as it will create a law and order problem in the area. He also stated that we can’t question police actions through public rally and the only way to question police actions is through court of law. He also stated that they can’t permit a public meeting near Ambedkar Statue, near Hubli Railway station except on Ambedkar Jayanthi day.

 

On Monday afternoon we went to the office of Police Commissioner of Hubli-Dharwad. After waiting for more than 2 hours, only one of us, Mr. Mallappa Kumbar was permitted to meet him, which is discriminatory as we have seen teams of multiple people meeting the Police Commissioner. Mr. B. A. Padmanayan (Police Commissioner, Hubli-Dharwad) and Mr. S. M. Pratapan (DCP – Law & Order, Hubli-Dharwad) harassed and terrorized Mr. Kumbar. They threatened to arrest him under charges of terrorism if he doesn’t stop working for the rights of Muslims. They told him that terrorists are using him. Their behavior was similar to that of goondas – using vulgar and abusive language, threatening to physically beat him. He was coerced into giving a letter stating that he came to know after interacting with Police that the purpose of our rally was not related to that organizations that are co-organizing this and hence he was taking back the request letter to hold the rally and public meeting. He was able to get of this ordeal only after the intervention of the media representatives.

 

What has happened is nothing but torture of a young activist in the office of Police Commissioner by highest ranking police officials. It is ironic that this happened on the International Human Rights Day. The Hubli police have acted at the behest of communal forces to suppress the legitimate dissent by the religious minorities and secular activists to end communal-bias by police. Hubli-Dharwad police is misusing their power to isolate Muslim community from dalit, backward class, progressive, sexual minority and other marginalized sections of society and break the unity of secular forces.

 

We demand immediate suspension of all 3 police officers and their prosecution for their communal and illegal actions.

 

Yours faithfully

 

Elavarthi Manohar

Convenor, Praja Rajakiya Vedike

Phone: 96322234609483950202

 

Karnataka Govt pact with generic drug seller ‘illegal’


Chethan Kumar Bangalore: Nov 28, 2012 DH News Service

Documents reveal the MoU was signed more than 2 months before the company got licence

The Karnataka government’s agreement with a private firm (Esscubes Medisience Private Limited) to sell and market generic drugs has drawn flak within the ruling BJP and it is alleged that the company was favoured in violation of rules.

Incidentally, the name and address of one of the directors of the company matches with the name and address of a trustee in ‘AASARE Foundation’, a trust with which S A Ramdas, the Minister for Medical Education, has connections.

Although there is no evidence to directly prove that Ramdas used his influence in selecting the company, doubts have cropped up as documents show Shankarananda (No 76, II Cross, Lake Shore Gardens, Thindlu, Vidyaranyapura Post, Bangalore 97) has connections with both the Trust and Esscubes.

The Karnataka State Co-operative Consumers Federation Limited (KSCCF), a wing of the State government, entered into an agreement with Esscubes for sale and marketing of Generic Drugs on March 10 this year.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the two parties was aimed at executing the government’s novel initiative of providing generic drugs, which are a lot more affordable than drugs available in the market to the lower and middle-income groups.

However, documents with Deccan Herald show that the said company was chosen to market and sell the drugs in just a month and eight days after the Registrar of Companies, Karnataka gave the Certificate of Incorporation.

The Certificate of Incorporation for Esscubes with corporate identity number ‘U36912KA201PTC062395’ was given on February 2, 2012 and the MoU between the company and the KSFCC was signed on March 10.

Further, documents from the office of the assistant drugs controller reveal that the company was accorded the licence to carry out such business on May 2, 2012, suggesting that it was allowed to market and sell drugs even before it had the licence to do so.

Well-placed sources in the government said that the methods followed in selection of the company and the execution of the agreement were not as per the prescribed laws and suspected that there could be a role of influential persons in striking such a deal.

Sarvabhouma Bagali, a BJP MLA told Deccan Herald: “There is enough proof to show that the company was selected in an unfair manner and I will raise this issue in the Assembly.”
Repeated attempts to contact Ramdas were futile.

The company, violating the rules of the Memorandum of Understanding with KSCCF, had entered into a sub-lease agreement with KIMS, Hubli.

 

Bangalore Police arrest journalist, 10 others for suspected terror links


 

PTI, Aug 30/8/2012

In a major operation, Bangalore Police have arrested 11 persons with suspected links to terror outfits Lashkar-e-Taiba and HuJI and claimed to have foiled their plot to target MPs, MLAs and mediapersons in Karnataka.

A foreign made 7.65 mm pistol, seven rounds of ammunition and other gadgets were seized from the arrested, City Police Commissioner Jyotiprakash Mirji told reporters along with DGP L.R. Pachau.

The arrested included a journalist of an English daily, police sources said.

Mr. Mirji said all the arrests were made by CCB police on Wednesday in Hubli in northern Karnataka and Bangalore after gathering intelligence inputs for several days.

He denied reports about involvement of Uttar Pradesh police in the operation.

“It was a meticolously planned operation by CCB. The arrested had links with banned outfits like LeT and HUJI,” Mr. Mirji said but refused to share further details remarking “in the interest of the security, case and investigations no more details can be shared at this stage“.

The arrested, all aged below 30, planned to target MPs, MLAs and prominent journalists, he said.

He said cases under IPC sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 307 (attempt to murder), 379 (theft) and under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and Arms Act have been registered against the arrested.

Initial reports had said the four suspected Indian Mujahideen activists involved in the 2010 Chinnaswamy stadium blast case were picked up by police.