Report confirms torture but AP Minorities Commission fails to move
By Kashif-ul-Huda, TwoCircles.net,
Talking about torture meted out to the detainees, the report says, “the physical wounds have left an indelible impression on the psyche of the persons.” The investigation was ordered by the Andhra Pradesh State Minorities Commission after allegations of torture of Muslim youth surfaced in 2007, but now the Commission itself is dragging its feet failing in its constitutional obligation of protecting the minorities.
On August 25th, 2007, two bombs exploded in Hyderabad killing 42 people. Lumbini Amusement Park and Gokul Chat Bhandar were targeted in twin blasts killing Hyderabadis of different backgrounds, including women and children. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy, after an emergency cabinet meeting said that “the available information points to the involvement of international terrorist organizations in Bangladesh and Pakistan.” Media dutifully quoted security agencies and blamed Harkat ul Jehad Islami (HuJI) for the blasts.
Many Muslim youth were picked up for investigation. According to Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee of India (CLMCI), as many as 26 Muslim youth were illegally detained by the state police, they were humiliated and tortured and later jailed on trumped-up charges.
AP Minorities Commission appointed advocate L Ravi Chander on Sept. 14th, 2007 to investigate the claims that Muslim youth were tortured. The interim report by the investigating advocate, just a month later, confirmed abuse of power by the state police.
Full report of the investigation, after meeting 20 detainees, was submitted to the AP Minorities Commission by Advocate L Ravi Chander in October 2008. The report recommends that the Commission examine the records with the investigating agencies to find out how police failed to follow procedures when arresting and handling suspects. It also calls for “corrective action against erring police officers.”
Mr. Ravi Chander, who is a practicing advocate in the Andhra Pradesh High Court, also recommended that affected youths and their families be rehabilitated and a committee be set up to supervise arrests.
The final report stands by its interim report, which put the state government in a very embarrassing position. The report charged the police with anti-Muslim bias. It found evidence of deliberate targeting, torture, and victimization of Muslim youth.
The role of AP State Minorities Commission has been puzzling. though it has ordered the investigation, it has failed to officially submit the final report to the state government. When contacted by TwoCircles.net, Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Yusuf Quraishi refused to talk on this subject on the phone.
Minority Commission member Syed Taraq Quadri alleges that Mr. Quraishi is serving his political masters by not forwarding the report and thereby avoiding an awkward situation for the state government just before the Lok Sabha elections.
Commission term is ending on March 26th, 2009 and it seems that just like other commissions and committees reports this one will also be put in cold storage. Unless there is an outcry, CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP P. Madhu fired the first salvo by writing a letter to Chief Minister Reddy whether the government had received the final report from the minorities commission and action taken by it.