Dubious role of police exposed in custodial death of terror accused in Uttar Pradesh


Khalid Mujahid‘s tragic story is a litany of irreconcilable facts, right from the day he was arrested by the anti-terrorism Special Task Force of the UP Police in December 2007
Ajit Sahi

Ajit Sahie

FalseTerror1If we accept the official explanation for the death on 18 May of Khalid Mujahid, an under-trial prisoner in Uttar Pradesh accused of terrorism, then India may have just lost a superman. More likely, the police have made up facts and may soon be exposed.

According to the official explanation, Mujahid, 32, was taken ill at 3.40 pm in the eastern district of Barabanki and admitted to a government hospital where he was pronounced dead. This claim was made by none other than the district magistrate of Barabanki, S Minisati, when she visited the hospital. But Mujahid’s lawyer says he had minutes earlier been in another city 65 km away to attend the hearing in one of the terror cases in which he is an accused. “Mujahid left that courtroom at 3.30 pm,” says Randhir Singh Suman, his lawyer. “How did he cover 65 km in 10 minutes?”

Good question. But then, Mujahid’s tragic story is a litany of such irreconcilable facts right from the day he was arrested by the anti-terrorism Special Task Force of the Uttar Pradesh Police in December 2007. Indeed, the police have been thoroughly exposed as lying about him right from the beginning. Yet, it confounds common sense and offends judicial propriety that successive judges not only did not throw out the case against Mujahid as wholly spurious but also refused to grant him bail that he deserved.

Worse, a trial judge ignored his repeated pleas, including written, that the policemen that ferried him between the prison and the court had explicitly threatened to kill him in an “encounter”, a euphemism for extrajudicial killings by the police. Two months ago, a second lawyer who represented Mujahid in another terror case being prosecuted in Lucknow, Mohammad Shoib, told the state’s jail minister that the several Muslim youths, including Mujahid, being tried for terrorism faced threats to their lives. Shoib was also among the last to see Mujahid alive. “We were together in the court until 3.20 pm,” he says. “Ten minutes later, I saw the police van carrying him leave the court premises.”

And now Mujahid is dead. Here is how the state, its police and the judiciary combined to first frame him and then deny him justice.

On 22 December 2007 police announced the arrest of two “terrorists” from a location 20 km east of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh. They were apprehended, police said, from a railway station in the town of Barabanki that is a satellite of the capital. One of the two arrested men was Mujahid, a madrassa teacher in Jaunpur district, 250 km east of Lucknow. The other was Tariq Kasmi, a practitioner of the Unani medicine system in the district of Azamgarh, which is adjacent to Jaunpur.

The police claimed that Mujahid and Kasmi were responsible for simultaneous bombings in the district courts of Lucknow and Faizabad, which is 120 km east of the capital, on 22 November 2007. They said the two men had been arrested with explosives. Subsequently, the two were implicated in three different cases: one each in Lucknow and Faizabad for the bombings, and one in Barabanki for carrying explosives. They were charged with sedition and waging war against the state, both colonial era constructs, as also under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the Explosives Act.

Instantly, Mujahid’s family members and well-wishers as well as human rights activists jumped in and demolished the police story. They claimed Mujahid was arrested in broad daylight from a crowded market six days previously, on 16 December 2007. His arrest had sparked protests in his town, Madiyahu, in Jaunpur district. Newspapers had reported both. Local police, civil officials and even the courts were given representations against his arrest. Yet, a judicial magistrate bought the police version that it arrested Mujahid and Kasmi from Barabanki railway station on 22 December 2007.

Could this be dismissed as partisan bickering? If yes, then consider this. In response to a plea filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the police station in Mujahid’s township, too, acknowledged that he had been arrested from the market near his house on 16 December 2007. This evidence directly contradicted what the police had told the Barabanki magistrate, before whom the two men had been presented and who had remanded them to a police custody. Mujahid quickly sought to file the RTI reply with various trial courts in Barabanki, Lucknow and Faizabad and press for justice.

But the courts told him that they can’t accept the RTI document until the prosecution had finished its arguments. That was in 2009. It is 2013 now and the prosecution hasn’t yet finished its arguments. So the defence lawyers decided to try their luck with the high court to at least get him bail. They believed that the discordance in the two versions of police should make it an open-and-shut case in their favour. But the High Court said he was accused of a “heinous crime” and could not be bailed.

In fact, eyebrows are also raised at the role of the then Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) of Barabanki, Anupama Gopal Nigam, who first remanded Mujahid (and Kasmi) in police custody. As per the procedure, the police needed to file an application before the CJM informing of the arrests of the two men and then asking the magistrate to come down to the prison to hear Mujahid and Kasmi’s remand plea because they did not want to bring them to the court for security reasons. “But no such document exists in the court records,” Mujahid’s lawyer, Suman, told TEHELKA from Barabanki. “Did the CJM go to the jail on her own?”

There is more. Suman cross-examined a police officer named Dayaram Saroj when the prosecution called him to depose. As the investigating officer in the case, Saroj should have made that formal request before the CJM. On being cross-examined, Saroj claimed that he himself had handed such an application to the CJM when she visited the prison after the arrests. But in response to an RTI application, prison authorities told Mujahid’s family that Saroj did not visit the prison that day. “This is a serious lapse,” Suman said.

On 19 May, Mujahid’s uncle, Zahir Alam Falahi, filed a First Information Report (FIR) with the Barabanki police alleging that Mujahid had been murdered as a result of a conspiracy. The FIR directly named a total of 42 officers, including a former director-general of police, the highest-ranking police officer in the state, as responsible for it. The question is: why would these police officers want to eliminate Mujahid?

The answer ironically lies in the first real spark of hope for Mujahid. After sustained pressure from human rights groups and various organisations of the Muslims, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s government moved the local court in Barabanki on 3 May 2013 seeking to withdraw its charges against Mujahid and Kasmi. A week later, Additional Sessions Judge Kalpana Mishra of Barabanki rejected the state’s request on a plea from some local lawyers. “These lawyers are from the RSS,” says Suman, referring to the Hindu supremacist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. “She heard them in her chamber and passed the order without the defence being present.”

But the battle may already be tilting in favour of the accused. For three years, a rights platform named Rihaee Manch has vigorously exposed police falsehoods in cases of terrorism in UP and campaigned to seek the release of the accused. The issue picked up steam last year when leading political figures such as Prakash Karat of the CPM, AB Bardhan of the CPI, Bihar politicians Lalu Prasad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan, and Congress Rajya Sabha MP Mani Shankar Aiyar came together and demanded an end to what they called the politics of terror against Muslims.

In 2008, then UP Chief Minister Mayawati had asked retired district judge RD Nimesh to probe the allegation that the police had illegally arrested the two men. He finally submitted his report last August. Although Chief Minister Yadav’s government has stonewalled the demands to release that report, it is widely believed that the commission has damned the police for arresting Mujahid and Kasmi and ruled their arrest as illegal.

“The police officers involved in Mujahid’s illegal arrest are obviously worried,” Shahnawaz Hussain, an activist with Rihaee Manch, told TEHELKA over phone from Jaunpur where he had gone to attend Mujahid’s funeral. “Had Mujahid lived, he would have been a prime witness in the case against them and they couldn’t afford that.”

The defence lawyers and rights activists are now worried for the safety of the remaining accused, who include Kasmi and two Kashmiri men, Sajjadur Rahman and Akhtar who were arrested from Jammu and Kashmir on 22 December 2007 and handed over to UP Police a week later. Strangely, the Jammu and Kashmir Police dropped the original charges on which it had arrested the two men before turning them over to UP Police.

The next hearing in the original case in Barabanki will be held on 31 May 2013. The defence lawyers say they would move the court to ensure that the lives of the other accused are not endangered. “Ironically though, greater security would mean a greater threat to their lives as it is the police who want them eliminated,” Suman said.

 

Order CBI enquiry into the Custodial Killing of Khalid Mujahid


Arrest the guilty Police Officers without delay

Khalid Mujahid, proclaimed by the police as one of the executors of the serial blasts that rocked UP courts in November 2007, died in police custody yesterday (18th May 2013). This young man, with no past medical record, the police claim died of sudden medical complications, on his way back to Lucknow prison, having made his appearance in court in Barabanki in connection with the serial blasts case. In 2011, a report, Torture in India, had documented how custodial killings were rampantly passed off as sudden medical complications and natural deaths (ACHR, p. 8).

Foul Play Obvious:

–       The DIG, Faizabad, Dharmendra Singh Yadav, first announced that his death had been caused by ‘heat wave’ and then the story quickly changed to ‘heart attack’.

–       His lawyer, Md. Shoaib, who met Khalid in the court, and in fact was with him till 3 in the afternoon, had found him to be normal, healthy and in high spirits. Eyewitnesses who saw the body before it was sent for autopsy found signs of bleeding from his mouth and ear.

–       Moreover, Advocate Md. Shoaib has pointed out that whilst he was wearing a kurta pyajama in the court appearance earlier in the day, the dead body wore lowers and T-shirt, clearly indicating foul play.

–       Why was the inquest conducted in such a hurried manner without the presence of Mujahid’s family and lawyer? Indeed, had it not been for the large public mobilization, the police and local administration were planning to conduct the autopsy quickly and secretively.

It may be recalled that while the UP STF had claimed to have arrested Mujahid and Qasmi from the Lucknow Charbagh railway station 22 December 2007, the two has actually been picked up days before in full public view, triggering fears of abduction. There had been demonstrations at the local administration demanding for their release as well as filing of a missing persons complaint before the sensational press conference by the STF announcing their arrests.

The long struggle by the democratic forces in UP against the blatant framing of Khalid Mujahid and Tariq Qasmi in the serial court blasts case, which led to the institution of R.D. Nimesh Commission, and the subsequent dismissal of the police claims about the timing and place of arrest of Mujahid and Qasmi, had made the police establishment in UP very nervous. It was obvious that the public pressure was not simply to release the duo but also to seek the prosecution of those policemen, then in the STF, who had falsely framed them.

In these circumstances the ‘heart attack’ theory looks implausible and a brazen attempt to hide a blatant case of custodial killing.

We reject the UP Chief Minister’s announcement of a High powered enquiry committee packed with senior bureaucrats and high ranking UP police officers. We demand that:

1)   Khalid Mujahid’s death be treated as a case of custodial killing and a case of murder be booked against those police officers escorting him;

2)   Those policemen named in the FIR filed by Khalid Mujahid’s family in the early hours today, should be arrested without delay

3)   A CBI enquiry be ordered into the incident;

4)   The post mortem report and the videography of the postmortem be made public;

5)   The Chief Minister should assure the safety and protection of Tariq Qasmi and other accused in the case;

6)   The Chief Minister should immediately order compensation to the family of Khalid Mujahid.

Sd/-

Teesta Setalavad (activist, Mumbai); Shabnam Hashmi (ANHAD), Kavita Srivastava (PUCL); Ahmed Sohaib (JTSA); Mansi Sharma (activist, Delhi); Mahtab Alam (activist, Delhi); Manisha Sethi (JTSA), Kamayani Bali Mahbaal, Human righst activist , Mumbai

 

#India- UP rape victim raped by cops probing case #Vaw #Torture #wtfnews


 

By , TNN | Dec 25, 2012, 12.51 AM IST

 13 policemen will face trial for charges of gang rape in the case of Vakapalli tribal women  #Rape #Vaw

 

 

LUCKNOW: A gang-rape victim from Uttar Pradesh‘s Ambedkar Nagar, who was again violated by the investigating officer (IO) probing her case, has now alleged that she was also raped by the inspector in charge of the police station where she had lodged her complaint. While the IO was arrested on December 14, no action has been taken against the inspector. Now the victim has written to the chief minister for justice.

Maan Singh, a senior sub inspector (SSI) posted at Akbarpur police station in Ambedkar Nagar, was arrested on December 14 from a hotel in Faizabad by SSP D S Yadav. The arrest came after the SSP was informed that the cop had brought the gang-rape victim from Ambedkar Nagar to the hotel and was raping her. The victim was rescued from the room after the cop was caught with his pants down. Now the rape victim has alleged that in-charge of the Akbarpur Kotwali, inspector AK Upadhyay, had also raped her.

As per the woman, she was gang-raped in Ambedkar Nagar last month. Her family had lodged an FIR in this connection at the Akbarpur police station. Maan Singh was the IO of the case. Allegations are that after the police failed to initiate any action against the accused, the victim approached the SSI who promised to help her.

He then suggested that she should accompany him to Faizabad and appear before the deputy inspector general (DIG) Faizabad Range of which Ambedkar Nagar district police is a part. The unsuspecting victim agreed and accompanied Maan Singh to Faizabad. The cop took the victim to the hotel and raped her. During her ordeal, the woman somehow managed to send a message to her neighbour in Ambedkar Nagar, who contacted the Faizabad SSP.

The girl has now alleged that by the time the SSP raided the hotel and arrested Maan Singh, she had already been raped by Upadhyay as well. Upadhyay is the immediate boss of Maan Singh. The victim, in her letter to the senior officers, has alleged that though she had provided this information to the officer investigating the rape case against Maan Singh, no action has been initiated against the accused inspector.

The woman has now alleged that since the matter was related to the police department, she was being threatened not to testify against the arrested SSI before the court and was also under pressure not to raise the issue of the inspector’s involvement.

Faizabad city SP Subhash Singh Baghel said he was getting the charges verified. “Whosoever involved will not be spared.’

 

 

PRESS STATEMENT- Justice Markandey Katju on #Faizabad


 

 

Oct 30, 20012 – Press – Realease

 

I have received a letter from Ms. Teesta Setalvad, Co-editor of Communalism Combat mentioning in detail a serious communal accident which occurred on the evening of October 24, 2012. According to this letter, a huge group of people attacked the Nawab Hasan Raja Masjid in the chowk area of Faizabad for four to five hours committing arson and looting including looting of a large number of shops. The aforesaid Masjid was totally gutted and destroyed by the vandals as also the office of the bilingual Hindi-Urdu publication ‘Aap ki Taaqat’ that stands for communal amity and promotes the Ganga-Jumna Tehzeeb, and the concept ‘Hindi Urdu do Behen’. The office of the aforesaid newspaper is in the first floor of the aforesaid Masjid.  The editor of the publication, Manzar Mehdi, is President of the Urdu Press Association and the publication attracts 80 per cent advertisement support from the Hindu community. The Masjid every year welcomes the Durga goddess processionists and other processions with floral tributes. The mosque that dates back to 1790 A.D. has always practised and preached communal harmony.

 

What has hurt Mr. Mehdi most is the ambivalence of the national media (except the Hindustan daily which published the true facts) and he has alleged that the media has not seen it as an attack on the freedom of the press. “Why is the media deserting its own, especially a small publication that has become a symbol of intercommunity harmony?” asked Mr. Mehdi.

 

It is alleged in the letter that the lock of the Masjid was broken, and the Masjid looted and gutted down. The newspaper Aap Ki Taaqat’s office located on the top floor of the Masjid was also not spared, and it has been vandalized. Books were trampled upon and torn, the computer was destroyed.

 

On receipt of the aforesaid letter from Ms. Teesta Setalvad, I have today appointed a one man committee of Mr. Sheetla Singh, Member of the Press Council of India and a very senior journalist who is also editor of Jan Morcha of Faizabad to enquire into this complaint and submit his report at the earliest. I have spoken to Mr. Sheetla Singh and Ms. Teesta Setalvad on telephone.

 

If the allegations in the letter of Ms. Setalvad are correct it is a serious criminal offence which tends to disrupt the secular framework of our Constitution and society, and deserves condemnation and harsh punishment.

 

Torture in judicial custody: Terror accused seeks permission for suicide



By Abu Zafar 10/3/12,http://www.newzfirst.com

NEW DELHI – Accusing jail authorities of committing gross violation of human rights, a terror accused jailed in a Uttar Pradesh prison has written a letter to his counsel saying that he has no option other than committing suicide.

A Unani Doctor Tarique Qasmi, who has been jailed in Lucknow prison for his alleged involvement in court blasts at Lucknow and Faizabad, in a letter written to his counsel expounded that how terror accused are being subjected to torture and humiliations.

“There are much of humiliations, cruelty and biasness against us; and we don’t find any other option than committing suicide.” the letter reads.

“The inmates are suffering from various diseases like sightlessness, due to prolonged lock-up inside the cell.” he continues.

“Not a single magistrate or senior officer has visited us since last six months. They (jail officials) have fear that we would complain against them. Even our application not being transferred to senior officials.” he said.

“Many of us are extremely frustrated by officials’ non- adherence to jail manuals. Some of us are even asking permission to commit suicide as we are deprived of basic human rights.” Qasmi writes.

Petition filed:

Qasmi’s lawyer Mohamad Shoeb told Newzfirst that he has approached the political leadership and Muslim clerics over the issue; a petition also has been filed in the District Court of Lucknow on 28 September in this regard.

Abdul Hameed Nomani, secretary, Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind said that his organization is looking for more details on the issue. However he discouraged the idea of committing suicide as it goes against basic tenets of Islam.

“They can protest through democratic means like hunger strike; Islam doesn’t allow suicide at any cost.” Nomani told Newzfirst.

Controversial arrests:

Though the Special Task Force (STF) of Uttar Pradesh arrested Tarique Qasmi on 12 December 2007 from Azamgarh, his arrest was shown after 10 days from the Barabanki Railway Station.

Later the Police had claimed that it arrested the suspects -Tarique Qasmi and Khalid Mujahid – for their alleged involvement in the blasts at Faizabad and Lucknow courts on 23 November 2007 wherein several people had lost the lives. Police also alleged them of being members of a terror organization HUJI.

Inquiry Commission:

Following the massive protests by the people of Uttar Pradesh against the duo, the then Mayawati government had formed a Commission to probe the arrests.

Though the Commission has submitted its report to the Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on 3 September 2012, the Government has not yet made the findings public.

Archives

Kractivism-Gonaimate Videos

Protest to Arrest

Faking Democracy- Free Irom Sharmila Now

Faking Democracy- Repression Anti- Nuke activists

JAPA- MUSICAL ACTIVISM

Kamayaninumerouno – Youtube Channel

UID-UNIQUE ?

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6,231 other followers

Top Rated

Blog Stats

  • 1,800,488 hits

Archives

August 2020
M T W T F S S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  
%d bloggers like this: