Posted by: informer | November 15, 2008

Andhra’s ‘healing touch’ to ‘innocent’ Muslims

At least 15 of them, according to a report by a state Government panel, were subjected to various forms of torture during custody that lasted six to nine months: stripping, physical abuse, electric shocks, some had their beards plucked out; in one case, a two-litre water bottle was said to have been hung from the victim’s penis.
Hyderabad, November 13 : They were among 70 Muslim men picked up by the Hyderabad police in the wake of two Terror attacks in the city last year. At least 15 of them, according to a report by a state Government panel, were subjected to various forms of torture during custody that lasted six to nine months: stripping, physical abuse, electric shocks, some had their beards plucked out; in one case, a two-litre water bottle was said to have been hung from the victim’s penis.
Now the Andhra Pradesh government admits they are innocent and, as a ‘healing touch,” is offering them a “rehabilitation package” of Rs 30,000 and Rs-80,000 loans to buy autorickshaws.

Even this offer has come only after some of the men approached the Andhra Pradesh Minority Finance Commission for financial assistance saying they were unable to find employment after the “stigma” of the arrests — many lost their jobs and face ostracism by friends and family.

These men were picked up by police investigating the Mecca Masjid blast on May 18 that killed nine people and the Lumbini Park and Gokul Chaat House blasts on August 26 last year that killed 42 people.

As many as 22 of those picked up are free now, cleared of all charges; one is on bail in another case. After two haebas corpus petitions in the court following their arrests, the state government told the Andhra Pradesh Minorities Commission to look into allegations of police excesses.

The commission appointed advocate Ravi Chandran and a forensics expert from a government medical college to study the cases.

Their report, submitted to the government last October, (reported by The Indian Express, October 31, 2007) gave details of the alleged torture that the men were subjected to. The report draws from a medical examination conducted on 20 undertrials by Dr T Mahender Reddy, Professor of Forensic Medicine, government Kamineni Medical College, Hyderabad.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Minister for Minorities Welfare Mohammed Shabbir Ali says: “These youths turned out to be innocent. Police picked up a number of people for interrogation. Those who were innocent were given a clean chit and were allowed to go. Based on their allegations that they were detained illegally and that their names have been tarnished for ever, we are planning to compensate them. There is a stigma attached to them and the government should help them in rehabilitation.”

The Minister, however, says he doesn’t want to “blame the police at this juncture” in light of the torture report. “Police do their work based on information and sometimes the information can be wrong. Many youths were picked up but police filed cases against only 31. Instead of implicating the others in any other case, at least the police released them,” he says.Says Principal Secretary, Home, Ajoyendra Pyal: “I have come to know of the minister’s statement. The police have their own methods of working. I cannot comment on why or how these youths were picked up and who turned out to be innocent. The police have so far not admitted that they made a mistake. If the case of these youths comes to me I will surely examine it.”

The police say they didn’t pick up these men directly in connection with the blasts at Mecca Masjid or Lumbini Park and Gokul Chaat. Says Hyderabad Police Commissioner B Prasada Rao: “The Mecca Masjid blast case still remains unsolved. (There is) not even a single worthwhile clue in that case. As for the Lumbini Park and Gokul Chaat case, we only know of the persons arrested by Mumbai police recently claiming that they were behind these blasts. Police arrested youths in Hyderabad during the course of blast investigations but they stumbled upon these youths for other reasons. A majority of the cases filed against them are conspiracy to spread communal hatred, forging of documents, obtaining SIM cards by providing false information and personal details and forging papers to acquire passports, and possible connections with SIMI. Of course, once they were detained, police also probed if they had anything to do with the blasts. These youths had nothing to do with the blasts but cases have been filed against them for the original reason they were picked up. Some youths have been acquitted but we are preparing to go an appeal.”

“…From the injuries, inference drawn can be: partially healing and healed injuries are of age group ranging from one to three weeks old. Small pinpoint abrasions noted around nipples are possible by electrocution with very small-voltage electricity. Other possibility of pin-point abrasions can be due to pricking by sharp needle-like objects,” says Reddy’s report, of September 18, 2007.

Among the alleged torture cases, as per the report:

Ibrahim Junaid, 25, student of Unani Medicine: Report says he was stripped and subjected to third-degree methods. Legs “completely pread apart to hurt the groin area, electric shocks given at private parts.” Says Junaid, who is out on bail on a charge of inciting communal hatred: “My final year is now wasted. My friends don’t talk to me anymore…even my childhood friends maintain a distance. My relatives have also stopped visiting our house. Even on Eid, very few of them turned up to greet my family.”Mohammed Abdul Kareem, 24, auto driver and sweetseller: Beaten, hands and legs tied up, beaten on the soles of his feet, stripped, “shots” given through a small machine, repeatedly punched, abused, beard pulled and tufts of hair fallen.

Shaik Abdul Khaleem, 19, medical lab technician: Arrested without being informed of any charge, no member of his family was informed, was blindfolded and taken to an unknown destination, beaten, hand and legs tied up. Beaten on the soles of his feet, stripped, shots given through a “small machine.”

Mohammed Kareem Qadri, 23, watch repairer: Arrested without being informed of any charge, no member of his family was informed, blindfolded and taken to an unknown destination, beaten, hand and legs tied up. Was accused of being part of Mecca Masjid blast. Hands and legs tied and kept in a hanging position. A water bottle with two litres of water hung on his penis for about 25 seconds on two occasions.

Abdul Sattar, 28, AC technician: Arrested without being informed of any charge, no member of his family was informed of his arrest or reasons for the same, was taken to the Bangladesh border from here. Was blindfolded and taken from place to place. Electric shocks given. Narco test done.

Mohammed Fasiuddin, 19, part-time worker and student: Taken away without any information. Blindfolded in a Tata Sumo vehicle and taken from place to place. A sum of Rs 500 and bus pass seized. Can identify that he was taken near VIF Engineering College, physical and mental torture, blackmailed that members of his family will also be tortured and whisked away. Court cleared him of charges of procuring bulk SIM cards and smuggling in RDX.

Mohammed Shahujauddin, 24, sofamaker: Taken away while taking wife to hospital. Beaten regularly every night on the soles of his feet with rubber belt. Produced before magistrate two days later. Had become unconscious. Court cleared him of smuggling charges.

Abdul Wasay, 23, makes plastic spectacles: Toes tied up and beaten on the soles of his feet, shots given on private parts, legs stretched to such an extent that it affects groin area, feet and hands tied, suspended upside down for half an hour on more than one occasion, not allowed to sleep for several days during detention, stripped, tied up and beaten, given electric shocks, hit in the face with a rubber belt.On Wednesday, Mohammed Rayizuddin, 26, a salesman at a jewellery shop, who lost his job following his arrest on August 31, 2008, was the first to be rehabilitated by an NGO, Nisa, with a loan of Rs 40,000 that helped him start a small electrical appliances service shop. The report says that while in police custody, Rayizuddin’s toes, legs and hand were tied and he was beaten on the soles of his feet.

The 7th Additional Sessions Judge, Nampally Court, recently rejected charges against four young men saying the prosecution failed to produce any evidence: Mohammed Kaleem, an MBA student; Imran Khan, a third year B-tech student; Abdul Majeed and Shoaib Jagirdar who were charged by the police with criminal conspiracy, waging war against the state and transporting explosives. According to the report, Imran Khan was hung from the ceiling with his hands and legs tied and severely beaten on the soles of his feet….

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/andhras-healing-touch-to-innocent-muslims/385496/

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