The Hon’ble Governor,
(Through the U.P. Resident Commissioner, New Delhi)
Sub: Justice for Khalid Mujahid
We express our deep shock and anguish at the custodial death of Khalid Mujahid, a so-called “accused” in the 2007 serial blasts in UP on Sturday 18 May 2013. This is yet another shameful injustice to a victim of Muslim witch-hunt. Khalid, a resident of Mariahu in Jaunpur and a Madarsa teacher, was arrested by the special task force of the UP police in December 2007 following serial blasts in UP and immediately declared him to be an ‘operative of the Harkatul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI)’. Since then, he has been languishing in jail for last 6 years. Following sustained protests, a commission headed by Justice R D Nimesh was appointed by the state government to probe the matter. Justice Nimesh Commission report submitted in 2012 found discrepancies in the “official” police case against Khalid and raised fingers over STF’s claim about the place of arrest. On the basis of the report, the UP govt. filed an application in the court to withdraw case against Khalid. However, the court turned down the application. According to activists, UP govt put up a weak application and now Khalid has died under mysterious circumstances, raising serious questions of cover up and conspiracy.
It is indeed yet another copybook instance of killing and suspicious death in Police custody of so called “terror accused” against whom police never managed to provide any evidence. One has not forgotten, how just last year 8 June, Mohd. Qateel Siddiqi of Darbhanga, arrested since Nov 2011, on charges of ‘involvement’ in several blast cases, was strangled to death by two gangsters, Sharad Mohol and Alok Bhalerao, inside Yerawada jail in Pune. In that case too, Maharashtra ATS had failed to file a chargesheet against Qateel in the 7 months from November 2011 till June 2012. In the Adarsh scam, accused got bail because the CBI failed to file a chargesheet within the stipulated 6-month period. If the same norms had applied, Qateel should have been free, given the failure of authorities to assemble any proof against him. Yet, he remained in jail, and the ATS kept claiming he was a ‘key Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative.’ From Maharashtra to Hyderabad, Gujarat to Darbhanga, the horrific saga continues unabated– framing innocent youth without any evidence, torturing them for years together behind bars, and finally killing them off in custody or in fake “encounters”. These shocking cases- from Malegaon to Hyderabad, Bangalore to Azamgarh and Darbhanga- underline the vulnerability of Muslim youth routinely arrested on terror charges.
Several questions have been raised by the relatives and lawyers of Khalid which demand impartial probe and speedy justice.
- Postmortem report of Khalid Mujhaid, which took place in Barabanki between 6:30 am to 8:30 AM, remained inconclusive. Doctors have preserved heart and lungs for a finding out a possible case of cardiac arrest, while his relatives took the body to Jaunpur for burial. However, photographs taken before his body was taken for the autopsy, accessed by media, reportedly show torture marks on the face and blood clots. Khalid’s uncle Zaheer Alam Falahi, who saw the dead body in the hospital, confirmed that although his nephew was quite fair, his face appeared to have turned black and that his neck was swollen as if someone twisted it. Zaheer Alam Falahi has also filed an FIR against 42 erring police officials on Sunday morning, including former DGP Vikram Singh, IPS Manoj Kumar, Chiranjeev Lal Sinha, S. Anand as well as against the unknown Intelligence Bureau personnel, for conspiracy and murder.
- Early statement by the UP government said that he might have died due to heat stroke or heart attack. Jail superintendent has already gone on record, saying Khalid’s health was normal.
- Advocate Mohammad Shoaib of the Rihai Manch, said that the escort had threatened Khalid even before about killing him in ‘encounter’ and that they had filed written affidavit in court in this regard. So it is possible that “To save the conniving officials of ATS, STF and intelligence agencies, police killed Khalid Mujahid.”
- Activists in U.P. fighting the case alleged that the bone of his neck appears to have been broken, and he had several other injury marks on the body. They pointed out that Khalid was never before spotted wearing tee-shirt and lower, and clearly the cops changed his kurta to hide blood marks. They also raised the question on Barabanki police handling of issue who have made only local SP leaders as witnesses. For its part, on Sunday UP government has ordered for a CBI enquiry.
In this backdrop we demand:
1. Immediately suspend and arrest all 42 police officials and intelligence agency personnel including, former DGP Vikram Singh, ADG (law & order) Brij Lal, IPS Manoj Kumar Jha, Chrianjeevnath Sinha, S Anand, and the escort of Khalid Mujahid against whom FIR has been registered.
2. Keeping up its poll promises SP government should immediately release Tariq Qasmi, as the murder of Khalid clearly shows that the government has miserably failed in giving security to Muslim youths arrested in the name of terror.
3. Immediately table the Nimesh Commission report in the Assembly that clearly exonerated Tariq Qasmi and Khalid Mujahid by raising suspicion on government’s version.
4. Make the CBI enquiry in the death of Khalid Mujahid time bound.
5. Bring home secretary, Barabanki magistrate and public persecutor within the ambit of the investigations, all of whom delayed Khalid’s release by ‘conniving’ in rejection of the plea for the withdrawal of the cases.
6. Police personnel who pressurized Tariq Qasmi to lie in court saying that Khalid was ill too should be brought within the ambit of the investigation, as his advocate Mohamamd Shoaib as well as jail superintendent has stated to the contrary.
7. Step up the security of prisoners across state, particularly those who are behind bars on charges of terror.
8. Give Rs one crore as compensation to the family of the victims.
Reopen Investigation Against Varun Gandhi in the Pilibhit Communal Hate Speech case
In this context we would like to point out the contrasting role of the UP govt in giving “clean chit” to Varun Gandhi in the public hate speech case. Varun Gandhi made the worst of anti-Muslim, venomous, hate-mongering speeches in Pilibhit before the previous Lok Sabha elections. The hate speech was delivered in large open public meetings and the entire country saw and heard them through TV channels then. But, suddenly, when the matter came up in the court, UP administration could not produce any video footage of the incident and several witnesses turned hostile. The recent Tehelka sting operation- aired by Headlines Today- exposed how the UP state machinery and an SP leader happily colluded with the BJP to manufacture the ‘clean chit’ for Varun Gandhi.
We, therefore, demand the case against Varun Gandhi’s hate speech should be reopened, and all those responsible for scuttling the case against him – especially the Public Prosecutor and the officials in the UP government – should be punished for the shameful subversion of the judicial process.
It is high time that this twin trend of communal politics – of state patronage to communal forces and hate-mongerers on the one hand and unabated state-sponsored witch-hunt of minorities on the other, this time enacted in UP, is stopped.
All India Students’ Association (AISA)
Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA)