How to explain it? by Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (May 03, 2016)

Recently we talked about how people have been killed in fake encounters. The police have claimed that the victims were terrorists, but courts found no proof of terror against them. Yet they got no compensation. Well, the dead can’t be compensated for the life that was unjustly taken away from them. By compensation we mean compensation to the next of kin. They were Muslims. The policemen guilty of the crime were not punished, which encourages other policemen to break the law.

This brings us to the Union government’s acceptance in Parliament recently that the Muslim population of the country is 14 percent, but in jails their population is over 21 percent, which is one-third more than their population. The figures come from the National Crime Record Bureau. Hence they should be reliable.

The figures are from the end of 2014. Earlier studies by Tata Institute of Social Sciences with National Commission on Minorities showed that the number of Muslims in jails was 26 percent, only two percent less than double their share in national population. However, according to that study their conviction was far less, even less than their share in the population.

How to account for this? There is only one plausible explanation. They are arrested and jailed merely on suspicion. The police are biased and ever ready to imagine the worst case scenario when it comes to Muslims. They arrest first and concoct charges later, which the courts dismiss, often after censuring the police.

One of the most gruesome facts is that there are thousands of prisoners languishing in jails without trial. Such people are in jail merely because they cannot hire lawyers to work for their release. Their offences are so insignificant, or even non-existent, that they can be out of jails within weeks instead of languishing there for years. All that they need is some money to hire a lawyer. It is here that Muslim organisations and well-off individuals can be of great help. A sizeable number of prisoners come under this category.

Also consider: The other day eight Muslims from Malegaon were released from jail after 10 years of imprisonment on the charge of involvement in 2006 Malegaon blasts. Over the years such blasts had been carried out in mosques with heavy casualties. They were the handiworks of Hindutva terrorists, which was known to everyone. Yet, Muslims were framed by the police for these mosque blasts. They were kept in jail even after Hindutva terrorists accepted their guilt.

Recently the NIA said it had no evidence against them and they were acquitted by the court. So, how do we explain this? And who will compensate them for the 10 years they were forced to waste behind bars?


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