A Right Step by Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (August 02, 2014)
Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam
One often wonders why it takes so much time for the state to notice what is common knowledge among Muslims. An example is the Sachar Committee Report, which finally, formally and officially established the fact Muslims happened to be economically and educationally the most backward segment of the Indian society. This “fact” had been known to the sufferings Muslims for decades.
The latest example is the Bombay High Court’s observation that most of the custodial deaths seemed to be that of persons from the minority community. Justices VM Kanade and PD Kode made the remark while appointing advocate Yug Chaudhary amicus curiae in a case of custodial death.
On his part, Chaudhary said that most of such deaths were of Muslims and Dalits. We all know that deaths in custody represent the worst form of murder by the state. This is not merely the lawlessness of the state, but a breach of the state’s solemn commitment to protect citizens.
We welcome and laud the court’s moral clarity and courage and hope that it will be counted as a giant step towards protection of basic human rights.
The next step will be to bring (in the present case) jail officials to book and also proceed against their collaborators like wardens and criminal inmates involved in this act.
The same applies to deaths in police lock-ups and in other cases of police custody.
Maharashtra has been particularly notorious for such murders, accounting for nearly a quarter of such cases since 1999. Another particularly galling factor is the fact that this problem has a clear, sharp anti-Muslim and Dalit dimension.
More sorrowfully, such officially-sanctioned atrocities against Muslims and Dalits have gone on under the governments of Congress party which claims to be secular and also pro-Dalit. This is also an example of this party’s treacherous duplicity.
Finally, let us hope that society will move ahead towards a just order with such steps.