(22nd November, 2012): Protest March to Parliament, taken out on Thursday evening against the arresting of innocent Muslim youths in the name of counter terrorism. About 1,000 people, including, students, activists and leaders, gathered at Jantar Mantar and from there they marched towards Parliament but stopped at the end of Jantar Mantar road by the police.
On this issue, national wide protests were held across the country including Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Bihar and symposium and press conferences were held in Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
The protest march called by Students Islamic Orgainsation of India (SIO) was supported by Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, (JIH), All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), Welfare Party of India (WPI), and Jamia Students’ Solidarity Forum (JSSF). Demonstrators demanded that all innocent Muslims who have been implicated falsely should be released and an investigation should be carried out against those responsible for the arrests.
SIO president said, ‘India cannot become super power if 20% of its minority population is behaved in such way and targeting its innocent youths, students, professionals, engineers and journalists. If this injustice will not stop, we will make here Tahrir Square for protesting peacefully against all injustices.’
Akhlak Ahmad, National Coordinator of Association for Protection of Civil Rights, emphasised that the issue not just about Muslim youths, but also about basic human rights. He stated that it was a blot on the Indian constitution. Biju Nayak, Delhi Secretary of Lok Raj Sangathan said that Muslims are constantly pushed to prove their national loyalty in this country. He said ‘This country belongs to all of us and we need to take charge of it. It is not the people that are communal, it is the State itself’.
Politicians at the protest too promised to put in their every effort to remedy the situation. Mohammed Adeeb, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha said, ‘Since partition, Muslims in this country have been made out to be the other. Now that our children are getting educated and making a place, they are being targeted in an attempt to suppress them.’ He stated that he, along with CPM and Lok Janshakti, will meet the Prime Minister and put forward the demands that were discussed at the protest. Members of Welfare Party and Lok Janshakti were also present.
Also present was senior journalist Syed Ahmad Kazmi who was arrested on the basis of his alleged involvement with the Israeli Embassy car blast case. The lack of evidence against him has only pointed towards his innocence. He shared his experience of being implicated in a false case and the difficulties of adjusting to a normal life after an imprisonment. ‘If I faced so much trouble returning to normal life, imagine what a youth experiences after spending 10 to 15 years in jail for no fault of his,’ he said.
‘Paranoia about Islamic terror has been created by the State. It enables the State to dodge real issues,’ said Dr. Tasleem Rehmani of Muslim Political Council of India.
Biju Nayak, Delhi Secretary of Lok Raj Sangathan said that Muslims are constantly pushed to prove their national loyalty in this country. He said ‘This country belongs to all of us and we need to take charge of it. It is not the people that are communal, it is the State itself’.
- A memorandum to the Prime Minister was also present in which following demands were put forward:
Free and fair investigation and end bias in law enforcement.
- Stop custodial torture and use of third degree methods by police and intelligence agencies.
- Compensation and rehabilitation must be given to innocents who have been wrongly booked under terror charges. All terror related cases must be tried on a day-to-day basis so that the innocents get released soon.
- Strict action must be taken against police personnel and investigation agencies personnel who are responsible for fabrication of evidence against innocents.
- Repeal all draconian laws including Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), MACOCA, sedition laws and Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Any law for curbing terrorism must confirm with International Human Rights Standards.
- Intelligence Bureau must come under the audit of the Comptroller and Auditor General.