The Innocent Must Be Freed by Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam (APRIL 17, 2012)

The other day one of our prominent English dailies carried a news item that said UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had announced his government would release from jail Muslim youth falsely implicated in terror cases.

Mr. Yadav said it during his visit to Faizabad. What he said was a reiteration of his party’s election manifesto, verbally repeated several times over the last few months in public.

This is only as it should be, for why should anyone be implicated falsely in a terror case in the first place? And, why should they be kept in prison without justification?

Sadly, however, this is what has been going on in the country over the last several years. Muslim youth are routinely rounded up and thrown behind the bars, tortured and humiliated for years before courts finally acquit them because of lack of evidence.

Naturally, anyone who believes in fair play and rule of law would not tolerate such abuse of power in an efficient, respectable regime. The Samajwadi Party rightly made it a point in its manifesto.

That was the easy part. The difficult part is that once an innocent person is implicated in a false case and thrown behind the bars, it is extremely difficult to get him or her out. The law and the official machinery takes a long time to set the person free again. Even the Samajwadi Party government will not find it easy to overcome bureaucratic obstructionism.

Two related points come to mind. The first is the BJP’s hostile response to SP’s intent to free the innocent. As usual, the Hindutva party is determined to deny justice to Muslims despite its tall claims to fair play.

The second is the intriguing habit of sub-editors at some of the prominent English dailies of putting many things within commas if they are related to Muslims. One such example is The Times of India (New Delhi, April 16) headlining the above story thus: UP govt. to free ‘falsely implicated Muslims.’

Does the sub-editor think that Muslims implicated in false cases are guilty even before they are tried and a verdict is announced? Otherwise, what is the point in putting the three words within commas?


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