Sunday, January 26, 2014

No Conclusive evidence and 11 years in Jail under POTA

Ordeal of 3 Rampur men at last ends. UP STF slapped POTA on them

Main accused Javed Ali, a TV maker 
There is another case of 3 youth languishing in Jail for over 11 Years, because police said they were “passing sensitive information about the Indian Army to Pakistan”. Court found after 11 years five months that there is no conclusive evidence against them. The accused were lodged in Rampur district jail under draconian law known as “Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA)” under which there is no provision for bail. The law was legislated during NDA Regime in a joint session of Parliament. Mr. L. K. Advani, than Union Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister was the force to get this law passed. Though UPA let the law collapsed in 2004 but brought in even a more draconian law by amending a 1967 act, known as “The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.” State Police can slap this act on a convict but Allahabad High court says, State Government cannot withdraw cases filed under UAPA without permission of Union Government.
As per routine in such cases, court did not examine the police evidence before slapping POTA of on Police demand. The case stretched for over 11 years. In the meanwhile father of fourth person, Mumtaz Mian, made accused in the case, collapsed in Allahabad, while he visited the High Court for his bail. Mother of another accused was so shaken that she became half mad and died in same condition.
This is not first and hopefully not the last story when young Muslim boys were pushed behind the bars on some suspicion and no official or political leader was moved, not even Judiciary which is last resort for a citizen to get his human rights protected. Precious period of their life is lost in the jails, family ruined and no police official can be punished, because politicians fear that if one police man is questioned for wrongfully ruining a life, the “morale of force will come down”. The Government can compromise with liberty and basic human rights of innocent citizens but cannot harm the illusion of “morale of police force”. What an irony!
 Writing these lines at the time when we are deliberating another “Republic Day” with full pump and show, it pinches. But what can helpless citizens do? Rahul Gandhi blames others to approach our youth in to the demon of Terrorists, but perhaps he too do not have time think over such issues. He is worried to safe guard the “honor and liberty” of gay and lesbians and not of ordinary citizens.
This is the story of three youth-- Maqsood, Javed and Taj Mohammad—all three from Rampur, seat of Muslim face of Yadave’s mis-Government. But we cannot blame only Yadavs as Champion of Bahujan Samaj, including Muslim Bahujan, Kumari Mayawati was the CM of the State at that time and again for a full 5 years term. Her tender heart never felt pinch of pinches the innocent peoples facing in Jails.
All three were released Sunday 19th January, from Jail after POTA court of Moradabad, where the trial was going on, acquitted as police failed to present "desired quantum of evidence" against them.
 The hearing of the case, instituted in Rampur, the seat of powerful SP leader Azam Khan, but was transferred to Moradabad after POTA was invoked in 2004. Acting district government counsel Sanjeev Agarwal said, “The court acquitted them for want of evidence.”
Deputy jailor of Rampur district jail Arun Kumar said on Monday, all three persons —had been released as they were acquitted in the case.
Javed’s lawyer Jalaluddin said, “The police did not follow the due procedure under POTA. The statements of the accused have to be recorded by a SP rank officer while in this case an inspector recorded the statements. The prosecution also failed to establish the allegations against his clients.”
The case dates back to August 13, 2002 when the UP Police arrested four persons — Javed alias Guddu, Taj Mohammad, Maqsood  and Mumtaz Mian. Mumtaz’s belonged to Kashipur village in Rampur district. They were accused of leaking secrets of the Indian Army to Pakistan. The police had then claimed to have recovered sensitive documents from their possession.
The police chargesheeted them under the POTA and the IPC sections 121 (waging, or attempting to wage or abetting waging of war against the Government of India) and 121-A (conspiracy to commit offences punishable by section 121). The POTA against them was invoked after the police claimed that documents recovered from them were sensitive in nature.
In 2004, the POTA review committee recommended to withdraw charges against Mumtaz Mian after no direct evidence was found against him. Mumtaz is out on bail since 2004.
Mumtaz’s lawyer Nazar Abbas said after POTA was revoked against his client, his case was separated under other sections, and is still pending in Rampur Court. He hopes that the verdict of POTA Court will be conclusive to clear him client’s of the case pending in a local court of Rampur.

(Writer is Gen. Sec. Forum for Civil Rights)

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