Bangalore, Apr 7: The three Muslim youth - Muthi-ur-Rahman Siddique, Aejaz Ahmed Mirza and Mohammed Yusuf Nalbandh - who recently walked to their freedom after a six-month ordeal of being branded as terrorists and charged with waging war aginst the country, said that they still carry the stigma of 'terror accused' despite the fact that National Investigation Agency (NIA) itself did not found even a small proof against them.
The trio unleashed their feelings at a programme organized by a coalition of seventeen organizations in Bangalore on Saturday to formally release a fact finding report titled 'Permanent Suspects- Framing Muslim Youth in Karnataka' prepared by People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Karnataka, People's Democratic Forum (PDF) and Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR). The report is based on testimonies of Muslim youth in Hubli and Belgaum.
Introducing the report, Professor Sreedhara of Peoples' Democratic Forum, stated that a need was felt for a probe into how people from one community are being targeted, and the report documents the stigma attached to persons even falsely charged in terror cases, and the loss of life, dignity and livelihood.
Mr Siddique who was a staff at the head office of Deccan Herald Bangalore, when he was arrested by cops in August 2012 said that there existed an institutional bias against people belonging to the Muslim community in the state apparatus and the media.
He questioned the hypocrisy of the media in demanding an apology and compensation from the state for his illegal incarceration, when they themselves are not willing to apologise for the malicious manner in which they portrayed him to be a terrorist.
Mr Mirza, a scientist, lamented that he not only lost his job at DRDO, where he was one of the very few Muslims ever to be appointed, but he and his entire family lost their mental peace after his arrest.
Mr Nalbandh, who was Mr Siddique's room-mate, spoke about the trauma caused to his aged mother, who had to face the intense public scrutiny to which she had no answers.
Speaking on the occasion, Manisha Sethi of Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association (JTSA), Delhi, said that shared her experiences in documenting the numerous false terror cases heaped on innocent Muslim youth across Delhi. She also spoke about the Batla House encounter case, and the travails of the innocent Muslim youth who lost substantial periods of their lives behind bars because of the false cases foisted on them by the Delhi Police Special Cell.
Advocate S.A.H. Razvi of Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), detailed the manner in which most terror cases are concocted, and innocent people are framed, which is best illustrated by the arbitrary manner in which investigations are conducted.
The event, titled “Needle of Suspicion- Targeting of Muslims in Terror Cases” was co-organised by People's Union For Civil Liberties- Karnataka (PUCL-K), People's Democratic Forum (PDF) Association For Protection Of Civil Rights(APCR), National Confederation Of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO), Karnataka Komu Souharda Vedike (KKSV), Alternative Law Forum(ALF), South India Cell For Human Rights Education And Monitoring (SICHREM), Praja Rajakiya Vedike(PRV), Network Of Women In Media, India (NWMI), Maraa, Pedestrian Pictures, Aneka, Sangama, Vimochana, Concern (IISc), Indian Social Institute And Lesbit.