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Indian Muslim

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    Ram Puniyani,

    The events of last over two decades have shown us, more than before that the efforts of dividing the nation by communal forces have been a major obstacle to social peace and process of development. In India while the communal violence began with the Jabalpur riot of 1961, it is from last couple of decades especially from 1980s that the divisive politics has tried to drive a wedge between different communities along religious lines. The regret is that it is only few social workers and scholars who took this issue in all its seriousness and Asghar Ali Engineer can be counted amongst those few. He also spent major part of his social efforts to fight against the ideology and machinations which led to communal violence and the victimization of minorities, time and over again, year after year.

    Engineer was a student when Jabalpore riots took place. It clearly left a deep mark on him. The imprint of this tragedy got reflected in his social engagement with the issues related to communal violence and communal politics all through. His talks and articles reflect about the impact of Jabalpur violence, its impact on nation and its influence on the conscience keeper of the nation, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru. Engineer’s work on the issue of communal violence, communal ideology and communalization of society spans on a vast canvass and will easily fill volumes.

    His work, to be referred below, shows that he took a serious interest in understanding the dynamics of communal violence, he must have spent days in and days out, investigating the communal riots, their aftermath and their impact on the social and political affairs. He can easily be credited with being the major scholar-activist who pioneered this area of investigation. He spent enormous energy to investigate and analyze the communal violence in India. He can also be regarded as the foremost scholar-activist who not only commented on the issues related to communalism, but also gave his forthright opinion on the range of those, against the heavy odds. He has been criticized by the communalists of both the religions for his opposition to the politics of violence in the name of religion.

    This article takes an overview of his work in the area of communal violence investigation and his contribution to campaigns for promotion of secular values. It is based on understanding his work from the vantage point of a close working relationship with him as a friend and associate. I have also tried to take the overview of his massive contribution from the point of someone who not only witnessed his work from close quarters, with awe admiration and some criticism, but also tried to learn from him to give direction to my own work.

    Communal Violence:

    The communal violence of Jablapur (1961) shook Engineer very deeply, the very concept of violence in the name of religions was anathema to him as he was steeped in the spirituality of Islam right from his childhood. He was taught that Islam does not preach violence, and no religion teaches violence, so why this violence in the name of religion. This is the point when he decided to devote his life to promote communal harmony. It was an event which was to shape the course of life and work. He not only intervened after the events of communal violence to douse the fire of the violence but made it a central part of his initial life as an activist to investigate the acts of violence in depth. Starting from Biharsharif riots to Gujarat carnage, he spent time in unraveling the truth of the violence mostly by field studies. His reports on these events are a landmark in the area of riot investigation, in understanding the underlying machinations of this phenomenon. Biharsharif was a stronghold of CPI due to its following amongst the Bidi workers. Dr Engineer could unravel that RSS in order to spread it hold in the area, used the dispute between Yadavs and Muslims over the land for cemetery, to instigate the violence (1981).

    Godhra witnessed riots on and off during 1980-81. Engineer investigated these riots as a part of a team. The conflict here was mainly between Sindhis and Ghanchi Muslims. While Sindhi immigrants were looked down by other Hindus, for various reasons but those Hindu groups supported them against Muslims. The material reasons of poverty of Ghanchi Muslims and growing demands of Sindhis for facilities was the root cause of the trouble which assumed religious color. The report pointed out that rumors played a lot of role in this violence.

    Engineer also studied the Ahmedabad violence of 1982. Extensive field investigation was done for this. In this case the poor Muslim locality of Kalupr and Daryaganj face the brunt of the violence. An incident over kite flying turned into stone throwing and violence. Just prior to this VHP had started its work in these areas and prepared the ground for the skirmishes. VHP virulently talked against the conversions of Harijans to Islam. The communal forces resorted to heavy propaganda, especially through distribution of leaflets in the area. These leaflets used a communal version of history, demonization of Muslim kings, and emphasis on singing Vande matram, and opposing those who kill cow. Some people drew the attention of Gujarat government to this virulent propaganda, but there was no response to those appeals.

    Pune and Sholapur were in the grip of violence in 1981-82. These were precipitated in the aftermath of Ahmedabad violence and VHP as usual had been at the forefront of spreading the communal venom. It was a period when VHP had launched a Jan Jagaran (People’s Awakening) campaign all over India. This campaign was based on demonization of Muslims as foreigners, beef eaters, etc. This was also a riot which took place in the aftermath of Meenkshipuram conversion of dalits to Islam in 1981. Dr. Engineer makes a very pertinent point while relating the communal violence to the core issue of atrocities on dalits. He points out, “VHP is raising the hue and cry of conversions of Harijans in Meenakshipuram so that people do not pay attention to the screams of dalits burning in the pyre of discrimination.” (Communal Riots in Post Independence India, P 265)

    The aggressive campaign of VHP intimidated the Muslims. VHP took out a procession with portraits of Golwalkar and Manusmiriti, along with those of Gandhi and Ambedkar. The procession tore down the hoardings with Muslim names, including the one of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and shouted anti Muslim slogans. The procession changed its permitted route and entered Muslim locality, attacked Muslim hotels and shops were stoned.

    In Sholapur also situation was similar. Here they propagated the myth of rising Muslim population to provoke the people. Here also trouble began with VHP procession on 15th Feb. 1982. The procession when it came near Punjab Talim Mosque, it started giving anti Muslim provocative slogans. There was attack on small shops owned by Muslims after which Muslims were attacked.

    Meerut riots have also been a big sore on our polity. Meerut a city with great syncretic traditions also suffered the violence. Here the main goal was to co-opt the dalits, to give them liquor etc and to use them for violence against Muslims. Here the riot had more political reasons than economic ones. The riot was instigated on the issue of some piau (where one gets water to drink). One Muslim advocate and another trust were involved. Tension mounted in April 1982 and the provocative propaganda was stepped up. Biased attitude of police and communal slant of newspapers added to fuel to the fire. Similarly Vadodara Hyderabad and Assam riots were also studied by him.

    His major observations have been that a small incident is taken advantage of by communal forces, the rumors add havoc to the situation and communalized state apparatus, police in particular, plays a partisan role, worsening the plight of minorities.

    Apart form these riots of Mumbai 1992-93 (Report of EKTA Samiti, 1993) Gujarat carnage has also been studied by him (Sowing Hate and Reaping Violence, CSSS 2003). The studies by him have been used as a base by many a scholars to make interpretations and conclusions about the phenomenon of communal violence. He does interpret every riot on its ground and the specificities of the particular violence are well reflected in his studies and reports. Another aspect which emerges from his studies and reports is that gradually the intensity of communal violence is worsening, and it did peak in Gujarat violence. He has vividly presented the failure and complicity of police machinery in this violence. It seems that the deeper process of communalization has been going up in last three decades. And now even the other minority Christians have also been brought under the chopping block of communal forces.

    He also draws our attention to the fact that these episodes are not sporadic or spontaneous. There is a deeper motive behind these. There is a good deal of planning in such episodes. His other studies-reports show that popular perceptions about minorities lay the base for violence, the propagation of myths and biases against Muslims and Christians make the job of the communal group easier. What is undeniable is that communal forces take advantage of every conceivable opportunity to strengthen them, first by instigating the violence, then perpetuating it and in the process they increase their political power.

    Apart from his own book-reports on the violence he has edited several volumes on the issue Communal Violence in Post Independence India, Communal Violence after Independence, Bhivandi Riots, and Communalism and Communal violence to name the few. He continues to chronicle the communal riots on regular basis and these are published as Issues in Secular Perspective, the January issue of this periodical carries his compilation and analysis of Communal Riots of the year past. ( Also posted on CSSS-ISLA. COM)

    Communalism - Secularism:

    Activist’s scholars in India have faced a challenging task of understanding, defining and intervening in the situations related to communal violence. How does one understand the phenomenon of communalism in Indian society? Why India is plagued with this problem? These must have been the issues dogging his mind when he began his parallel study of Indian history and analysis of contemporary issues.

    While unraveling the Indian history, the communal interpretation of which is major component of communalization of social thinking, he focused on overcoming the communal interpretation of history and presented the view of looking as history of kings as battles for power and wealth. He understands lives of people as an ongoing journey of interaction, some frictions and major synthesizing tendencies resulting in syncretic traditions. His major book on this, Communalism in India (Vikas, 1995) gives a good reflection of his thinking on the issue. He tried to evolve his workshops with different sections of society on these lines. Later he came out with many articles and books on this issue. (List appended)

    In his work the medieval history is presented not as a battle between Hindu and Muslim kings but as battles between kings for power and wealth. He draws heavily from original sources and from the works of national Historians. The issue of temple destructions, Jijia, policies of Muslim kings, spread of Islam and other aspect of social life during that period gives a good reflection of those times and is an effective tool in breaking the myths and misconceptions in peoples mind about it. The traditions of Sufis, Bhakti saints and their emphasis on values of love and amity is brought out effectively. The mixed traditions of society do convey that Hindus and Muslims were good companions and religion was not the cause of discord, the social interests were, and sometime surely these interests did come in the garb of religion. But communalism as a political phenomenon was introduced here after the coming of British rule.

    He takes up the vexed issue of role of Muslim leadership in freedom movement and the role of communalists, Muslims and Hindus both in aggravating the communal violence even in pre-independence India. He handles the issue of partition of the country very delicately to focus that the main responsibility of partition lies on the head of British, while Congress leadership and Jinnah’s obstinate nature added to the issue. He seems to agree more with Maulana Abul Kalam Azad on this point that partition could have been prevented had Maulana’s suggestion of sticking to Cripps Mission proposals been accepted.

    As a part of dispelling myths about Muslim minorities he has written on the ‘Role of Muslims in Freedom struggle’. Fascinated by the approach of Gandhi in politically uniting different communities and emphasizing on non-violence and peace he has also compiled volume on Gandhi and communal harmony. His fascination for Gandhian approach to communal problems is seen in his work all through. His sense of Gender justice is very strong and he has shown how Islam gives equality to women, and highlights how women are the worst victims of communal violence. The list of his contributions and web site gives and ample insight into his concerns and how he has handled them in a humane manner. His regular publication, Secular Perspective has a good circulation and is reproduced in many a websites and newspapers across the globe.

    Secular Intervention:

    It is difficult to decide as to which aspect of Engineer’s work is more important than other. There is a deeper integration in different facets of the work and one can see the deeper connection between different facets of his work.

    His intervention in social issues began with his concern for communal harmony. His urge to study and understand the communal problem began with the tragedy of Jabalpur violence, later his study led him to intervene and undertake the campaigns and awareness work to promote communal harmony work. In Mumbai from late sixties he brought together like minded friends in to groups, Awaz-e-Biradaran. This group started talking about communal problem and raising the awareness about need for harmony through taks in schools and colleges. As Engineer had deep interest in Urdu literature also, he did come in contact with prominent writers who also got involved in helping in the harmony work. With outbreak of Bhivandi riots, 1970, he camped in Bhivandi, along with Balraj Sahni the renowned actor, for two weeks, going to villages and talking to the victims and helping them. His group also involved prominent writers to issue the message of peace through All India Radio.

    In Mumbai he also became part of Indo Pak friendship movement. At the same time he came in contact with the Sampradayikta Virodhi Committee (Committee against Communalism) in which doyens like Subhadra Joshi and D.R. Goyal were associated and Engineer started contributing to their work.

    The response of Muslim leadership to the issue of Ramjanmbhumi disturbed him immensely, he held that Muslim leadership should be in the background, and the issue should primarily be tackled by secular activists and scholars. He also brought to the notice of Muslim leadership that it is important to agitate on the issues of Muslim poverty and backwardness. The Gopal Singh Committee report, which was lying in the cold storage, needs to be implemented. He himself involved many secular activists to issue appeals for peace.

    He took initiative to form EKTA Committee in the wake of Meerut riots in 1987. This became the platform for trade unions and other progressive people of Mumbai to campaign for peace and to oppose the rising tide of communalism.

    I witnessed his work directly mainly from 1992-93. During the Mumbai riots he undertook many a peace marches in troubled areas. The lasting impression in my mind is that of a sincere, honest and committed scholar activist. During the Mumbai violence, his office became a natural place for all the activists to meet and during those meetings over hundred activists used to throng to his office, standing in different corners of the small office, even balcony of the office used to be full to the brim. He used to sit in the middle, on the floor and used to conduct the meting and make the plans for action. Most of the planning’s were peace marches and community work. Behrampada, a area near Bandra was given special attention for work, peace marches. Peace marches were also organized in different part of the city.

    These marches had important effect on the psyche of society and these gave lot of hope to the victims. As a peak of these efforts on 26th January 1993, in the thick of communal violence looming on the horizon, he organized a Peace march into the main areas of Mumbai. These activities were supplemented by the investigation into the Mumbai riots and the report brought out by EKTA Committee was remarkable for its in-depth work. This brought him face to face with the reality that police; the arm of the state to control the violence itself is much communalized. He decided to approach the police authorities for conducting workshops for communal harmony. It will be impossible to count the number of these workshops scattered in different parts of Mumbai, Mahrashtra and all over the country. He was faced with the challenging questions based on the biases against Muslims, their food habits, violence nature, Muslim Kings destroying temples, polygamy and what not. To his credit he has been conducting this difficult workshop with dignity and modesty coupled with deep scholarship of the issues.

    Center for Study of Society and Secularism:

    Meanwhile he took up the task of formalizing the awareness programs and was instrumental in laying the foundation of Center for Study of Society and Secularism, which has emerged as the premier center for spreading awareness about secular issues. The CSSS, as we refer to it in brief, has also undertaken research on the contemporary issues relating to the National Integration. On awareness front CSSS began experimenting with various modules for different sections of community. Its workshops ranged from half a day affair to seven day in depth workshops for serious activists and teachers. These workshops cover the theme starting from History to the contemporary issues, terrorism, Islam and peace, values of freedom movement. I can guess that thousands of activists and others must have benefited from these workshops. CSSS has also set up Institute of Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution to formalize the training of activists into secular values. Plans are also foot to initiate the longer training for activists, teachers and students.

    His own engagement with multiple lectures and accepting infinite invitations from all over the country and globe are another facet of his work. What needs a mention here is his membership of National Integration Council during the UPA regime (2004-2009). He forthrightly raised the issues related to harassment of minorities in the name of terrorism amongst other issues. His interventions, along with the similar one’s from other important members and the efforts of tribunal on the issue, did affect the Government policy. With these interventions the routine pursed by Police authorities to arrest large number of innocent Muslims youth in the wake of blasts anywhere, came to halt.

    He has also been a major part of the process to bring together all the activists working for the cause of secularism. Groups working for communal harmony all over the country have come together as a platform from last few years, All India Secular Forum.

    Touching Moments:

    While one is talking on the social contribution of a person of high stature, there are some anecdotes which have been very touching at personal levels. I have shared lot of meetings and travels together along the course of our work. The interaction during these periods has been another learning and sharing experience for me. One is privy to sharing his thoughts and ideas on most of the issues.

    I cannot help but recount an anecdote, which has left a deep impression on me. One of the mornings we were standing in the Mumbai University campus hall. The seminar was to begin in another 10-15 minutes or so. As we were waiting one of the speakers came in a taxi and we welcomed him. As we were talking to the speaker, the taxi driver got down, did a respectful namaste (greeting) to Engineer and said, Sir please continue your work, your writing, it is a source of peace for the society. I am sure there must be innumerable persons around the globe with similar sentiments


    Ram Puniyani is an author and activist working in the fields of human rights and communal harmony and has been a close associate of Dr Asghar Ali Engineer for years.

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    By Abdul Gani,,

    Guwahati, May 18: The Coordination Committee for Minority Organisations of Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD) has urged upon Assam chief minister to take up several measures towards the uplift of the people who have still been suffering from the trauma of the violence which took place in 2012.

    The coordination committee representatives who also submitted a memorandum to the CM requested the state government so that the victims and the survivors get their due justice.

    “We appreciate different measures undertaken by the government under your guidance to rehabilitate the displaced and to bring back peaceful law and order situation in BTAD. However, there are still more than 6 thousand families still waiting adequate rehabilitation and compensation. Among these more than 3000 landless Muslims are suffering the worst and they are not rehabilitated till today,” said Mukhlesur Rahman, an advocate who is a representative of the committee.

    BTAD has been frequently affected by worst kind armed violence since 1993 and violence in last June-July 2012 killed more than hundred people and left more than 4 lakh were displaced, one of the largest displacement of human being since independence.

    These landless Muslims have been residing in government land and forest land for more than 50/60 years now denied any ownership over their land. Hence, they face harassment from various corners for not having lands and losing their hope for survival.

    According to media reports on April 24 this year it was decided in a meeting of Group of Ministers and BTAD administration that an amount of Rs.50,000 will be given to these landless Muslims who are living in government land and forest land with a condition that they will submit an affidavit that they will not build home in any government land again.

    “As you know, in BTAD landless Muslims are not allowed to purchase land, therefore if they are not provided with government land or special permission to purchase lands in BTAD they will have no other option but leave BTAD and will increase the number of internally displaced population in the country which leads to other consequences in the society and community. Hence, we request and demand that these landless Muslims should be given special permission to purchase land in BTAD or provide them land under Minimum Needs Programme (MNP) alongwith rehabilitation with proper compensation,” he added.

    According to figures given by the coordination committee more than 20,000 FIR have been lodged with the police regarding June-July 2012 violence but only 5000 FIR(approx) ot of these have been registered so far. Even in those registered cases investigation is either very slow or no investigation at all. Therefore, they also demand a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for fair and speedy disposal of justice to the survivors.

    Besides, they sought the right to education to be guaranteed by the state government. “As you know that numbers of schools were burned down during the violence, these schools should be rebuilt so that students can resume their studies and becomes better decision makers in future and follows the path of peace and non-violence,” said another member of the committee.

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    By IANS,

    Hyderabad: Police tightened security in Hyderabad Saturday for the sixth anniversary of the bomb blast at the historic Mecca Masjid, officials said.

    Additional police forces including the personnel from the paramilitary Rapid Action Force (RAF) have been deployed in the old city, especially around the mosque and the Charminar, the symbol of Hyderabad.

    Nine people were killed and 58 injured in the bomb blast during Friday prayers May 18, 2007 at the 17th century mosque, one of the biggest mosques in India. Minutes later, five more people were killed when the police opened fire on a mob staging a protest near the mosque.

    A police officer said armed pickets were posted in sensitive areas, as a precautionary measure, in view of the incidents that took place in the past. Patrolling and vehicle checking were intensified since Friday.

    Terror suspect Vikaruddin and his gang had targeted policemen on the blast anniversaries in 2009 and 2010, killing a home guard and a police constable.

    Since then the police were deploying only armed men at vulnerable points. Vikaruddin, who was arrested later, allegedly confessed to killing the policemen to avenge the death of protestors in police firing.

    Immediately after the blast, police had blamed Pakistan and Bangladesh based terror groups and rounded up dozens of local Muslim youth.

    The arrested youth were allegedly kept in illegal detention and were tortured. All of them were later acquitted by courts.

    On the recommendation of National Minorities Commission, the Andhra Pradesh government in 2011 paid compensation of Rs.300,000 each to 15 victims of police torture and Rs.20,000 each to 46 others who were let off by police after questioning.

    Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy had apologised in the assembly for harassment and torture of innocent youth.

    The National Investigating Agency (NIA), which took over the investigations from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), cracked the case with the arrest of six activists of the right-wing Hindu groups during last two years.

    Lokesh Sharma and Devender Gupta, former members of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), were the first to be arrested in the case.

    Swamy Aseemanand, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai, Tejaram and Rajender Choudhary alias Samundar are the other accused in judicial custody.

    Two others, Sandeep V. Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra, are absconding. According to the investigators another key accused Sunil Joshi was gunned down by his associates in December 2007 following some differences.

    The accused are also allegedly involved in Malegaon, Ajmer dargah and Samjhauta Express blasts.

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    By Mohammed Saleem,

    Karnataka voters voted on the basis of merit. They showed great vision, wisdom and strategy and gave absolute majority to form the government with a message that a government that does not deliver, is not going to be re-elected and BJP lost the election on the basis of its bad governance.

    Karnataka results has a clear message to all political parties and MLAs that non performing parties and MLAs will be rejected by the people, a very clear and sound lesson is given through voting that, if you did not deliver on ground you will lose elections and made it clear that aam aadmi should not be taken for granted. Perform and get elected. And if you don’t perform, public will show you exit-door.

    Congress has secured a vote share of 36.87 per cent, the BJP 20.48 per cent , the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) 20.23 per cent, the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) 9.9 per cent and the (BSR) Congress 2.7 per cent.

    110 of the 222 candidates of the BJP lost their deposits. Janata Dal (Secular) candidates had lost deposit in 111 constituencies, contested in 221 seats. B S Yeddyurappa which had fielded 203 candidates could win only 6 seats and its candidates lost deposit in 146 constituencies. The Congress, winning 121 seats, had contested in all the 223 seats and only 24 of its candidates lost deposit.

    The 2013 Assembly elections in the State saw the Congress achieving an important milestone crossing the one crore mark in votes secured. Of the 3.12 crore votes polled, the Congress secured 1.14 crore votes, which no other political party has achieved so far. In this election all sections of the society voted for Congress and more than 75% Muslims voted for Congress Party, and because of Muslims united votes, Congress emerged as single largest party and formed the government.

    Everyone thought that Congress will take longer time in deciding on CM, Congress High Command surprised everyone, the Central team landed in the morning in Bangalore and same day at 5.00 pm announced the CM name, Mr. Sidramayya. Quick decision on the CM has certainly sent a positive signal among the people.

    People of Karnataka voted Congress with very good hopes and expectations that this government will be people friendly, will provide good governance, with transparency, free from corruption, maintain law and order will be a progressive and accountable. Mr. Sidramayya and his entire team and administration should fulfill the aspirations of the people of Karnataka. High Command has issued a good parameter in choosing ministers, and directed that only those MLAs will be made Ministers who have positive image and good track record. This is a very good opportunity for the Congress party to provide a clean and efficient government and if Karnataka Government gives good governance, then it can send maximum numbers of MPs to Delhi in 2014 General Election

    Government should work only on one point agenda of development.CM should give a very clear message to his entire team (MLAs and Ministers) that there is a zero tolerance for corruption, and wrong does will be severely punished irrespective of position.

    Mr. Sidramayya is an experienced politician having a clean image and has handled several portfolios’ during the last 25 years. He submitted Karnataka budget more than 6 times, and was Dy. Chief Minister twice. We have good hopes that CM will fight corruption with determination and will put all efforts to eradicate corruption from the public and private sectors, and will bring development to each and every district. Whatever policies and schemes of previous government are good, and are in the interest of people, should be continued, and also should present a separate agriculture budget for the farmers, as did by Mr. Yadurappa. I think agriculture budget was first time presented in the history of India by any state.

    Government should form a high power committee in each district to monitor the usage of the allocated budget for a particular constituency.

    For Karnataka to achieve higher rate of growth should be first priority, it is important to develop infrastructure, investors should look at Karnataka. The present government should understand the importance of infrastructure development. Roads/ bridges and other public buildings should be constructed with international standard and contract should be allocated to only reputed companies who can use quality materials in constructing quality roads, bridges and other public projects.

    People should raise their voice against any injustice and should not encourage by giving bribe to get the things done.

    Hyderabad Karnataka region has now got special status, immediately policies to be formulated so that the youths of this area should get benefited from this article and get jobs and reservations should be made in the educational institutions. This area is remained backward from last 5 decades, now we want government should count each and every single day to bring a number of projects to this region and development should be visible to masses.

    Out of 13 seats, Congress has won 10 seats from Gulbarga and Yadgir districts.

    (Mohammed Saleem is from Gulbarga, Karnataka, and currently working in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He holds a Masters degree in political Science from Karnataka University, Dharward and and can be reached on the following email


    Karnataka 2013

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    By Special Correspondent,

    Lucknow: Khalid Mujahid who was arrested on charges of serial blasts in 2007 died while he was returning from Faizabad to Lucknow jail on Saturday. Khalid fainted on way at Barabanki, according to police. He was taken to District Hospital, Barabanki where he was declared brought dead by the doctors. Khalid was under police custody when he died.

    Khalid's death has been confirmed by Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Arun Kumar at Lucknow on Saturday. He also informed that District Jail administration of Lucknow where Khalid Mujahid was kept had requested for a magisterial probe in the whole incident.

    Khalid along with Tariq Qasmi was arrested by Special Task Force (STF) on 20 December 2007 from Barabanki. Huge explosives were also shown as recovered from his possession. STF claimed that he was involved in the serial blasts which occurred in Gorakhpur, Faizabad and Lucknow. Later, Nimesh Commission was constituted headed by Justice R D Nimesh who in its report raised fingers over STF's claim about the place of arrest.

    L-R: Hakeem Tarique Qasmi and Khalid Mujahid (TCN Archive).

    Later, Samajwadi Party government headed by CM Akhilesh Yadav as per their poll promise had moved a plea to revoke the terror charges but they were turned down by local court in Barabanki. Process was however going on for withdrawing his case from other districts.

    Chairman of the Rihai Manch (Forum for the Release of Innocent Muslims imprisoned in the name of Terrorism), Mohamamd Shoaib told, that he met Khalid in court today and was with him till 3.15 pm. He added that Khalid was normal at that time.

    Unofficial reports stated that Khalid was not suffering from any disease still he fainted. He was taken to Faizabad under police custody for attending court proceedings in the district. After attending it, he was being escorted back and the police party had reached Barabanki while on their way to Lucknow jail, when he fainted. No official cause of the death has been given by the state government as he was brought dead by the policemen at the hospital.

    Rajeev Yadav of PUCL, who is a member of the Rihai Manch has alleged foul play on the part of the government. He told TCN that in their meeting with the jail minister they had warned how Muslim youths arrested on dubious grounds in terror cases have been attacked in jail and hence steps should be taken for their security.

    Rihai Manch has demanded a CBI enquiry in the mysterious death of Khalid, and urged actions against public prosecutors, ATS, police officials, etc involved.

    Meanwhile CM Akhilesh Yadav has ordered enquiry in the death of Khalid Mujahid. The probe will be done by a committee comprising Secretary, Home Department and ADG or IG rank offcer.

    As per official press communique, Khalid Mujahid was accused in the bomb blast which occurred on 23 November 2007 at District Court, Faizabad. He was being taken for court hearing along with his other associates. They were returning to Lucknow and his condition deteriorated near Ram Sanehi Ghat in Barabanki. He died while he was being taken to hospital.

    Nimesh Commission report

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    By TCN News,

    Aligarh: Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Zameer Uddin Shah, who completed one year in office on May 17, 2013, talked to the media persons to highlight his future plans and his vision for the University.

    He said that we have not been static and tried to make changes for improvement of AMU, so obviously there were resistance to changes, but he expressed his confidence that efforts for students, teachers and non-teaching community will bear fruits soon.
    Lt. Gen. Shah reiterated his mission is to “take the University to number one position among the institutions of higher studies in the country and restoring its past glory by bringing excellence in academics and research and reviving its traditional values.”

    AMU VC Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Zameer Uddin Shah addressing the media persons.

    In recent past there have been allegations of favoritism and regionalism in appointments. AMU VC said, “Let my actions speak for themselves,” adding, “I have no political or regional affiliation and would like to liberate AMU from narrow vested interests.”

    Sharing his experiences about a year in office Lt. Gen. Shah said, “My first year was spent on stabilizing AMU, restoring discipline, ensuring unhindered academic activity, holding examinations on time, achieving maximum campus placements and improving the living conditions of my students. I have not been fully successful and I will spell out the efforts we are making.”

    On the minority status of the university, he added, “We have not spared any effort to regain the “Minority Status” of AMU. The case is subjudice before the Supreme Court. We are ready with our case and Insha Allah our legal team will win.”

    He highlighted how he encouraged modifying syllabi to cater for the requirement of industry.”

    He also elaborated on the ambitious plan of setting up a new Faculty of International Studies with multiple Centres and various choices of programmes. “The ambit of Faculty of International Studies (FIS) will encompass International Relations, Geo-Strategy, Security, key Foreign Languages and high quality research work,” he said.

    The basic courses will be BA (Hons.), MA, PG Diploma(s) and M.Phil./PhD programmes. The Faculty of International Studies will have eight major departments of studies including the Department of Foreign Languages specially focusing on the teaching of Chinese, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish.

    Media persons at AMU

    He also announced that MHRD has sanctioned about 213 Crores for AMU Centre including 105 Crore for Malappuram Centre in Kerala and 108 Crores for Murshidabad Centre in West Bengal for their further development.

    There is plan of starting school level education at the two centres.

    AMU also plans to establish a Central Museum in the University for Advanced Research and studies in Museology and conserving the artefacts scattered in different locations.
    Further to make unvieristy stay for comforting hostel and mess facilities are being upgraded.

    Lt. Gen. Shah also declared about understanding amongst Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Jamia Hamdard in principle to jointly provide students an opportunity to study at each other’s campuses. Under this arrangement, 15 AMU students will be trained in the Jamia Millia Islamia’s Mass Communication Research Centre. Jamia Hamdard will provide training to AMU students for Civil Services and AMU will train the students of all the three universities for National Defence Academy and other defence services.

    He also stressed upon the need to “to improve self confidence and need to improve communication skills” of the AMU students.

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    By TCN News,

    Hyderabad: Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee (CLMC), on the occasion of completion of six years of Makkah Masjid bomb blast and subsequent police firing, reminded that the investigation in the case is going at the “snail pace” and hence criminals are roaming free.

    On 18 May 2007 during the time of Friday prayers terrorists attacked Makkah Masjid and police fired at the people who were trying to help the blast victims. Then immediately after this a section of police officers blamed the Muslim community with the help of media agencies for these blasts.

    CLMC alleges, “This blast is a unique type of terror attack where only one community has been targeted. And thus the Muslim community is the target of bomb terror, police terror, media terror, and mob terror. This is a greater conspiracy against the Muslim community to suppress them at every level and the investigative agencies have utterly failed to carry investigation in free and fair manner, expose the real faces of terrorists and bring the criminals to justice.”

    It added, “It is very alarming that the Indian intelligence agencies have been wontedly ignoring the nexus of the right wing organizations with Hindutva agents present in almost all the departments including Police, press etc.”

    On this occasion CLMC reminded that immediately after the bomb blast and police firing, police targeted hundreds and hundreds of innocent Muslim youth on the name of investigation and they were illegally detained, tortured and put behind bars thus making their lives miserable. After so many struggles these innocent youth were able to get acquittal from the courts, then the government tendered half hearted apology and gave the compensation for the name sake. But still justice has not been done to the victims of these blasts, police firing and police atrocities, a press statement by CLMC added.

    Even after the completion of six years of Makkah Masjid bomb blast the criminals are still free and the investigation is going on snail pace and the victims of the Makkah Masjid blasts are waiting for the justice, it added.

    They have also questioned the performance of National Investigative Agency in investigating and bringing out the facts before people. It is a matter of highly condemnable that NIA is still dependent on notorious investigative agencies of the AP state to solve the blast cases even while knowing the facts that these agencies are responsible to target the Muslim youths, Lateef Mohammed Khan, general secretary of CLMC said.

    They also wanted to know why so far there has been no action against any police officers who were involved in framing Muslim youth in terror charges and no implementation of the recommendations of the National Minority Commission report which were submitted to the central government.

    This committee believes that 18th May 2007 Makkah Masjid bomb blast is a blot on secular fabric of India and hence demanded that the government of India as well as government of Andhra Pradesh to take necessary actions.

    CLMC urged that the Advocate Ravichander report on torture and Bhaskar Rao commission report on police firing should be presented in the coming Assembly session.

    They also urged for proper compensation, rehabilitation to the victims of bomb blast, police firing and police torture.

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    By IANS,

    Lucknow: Khalid Mujahid, an accused in the serial blasts at Uttar Pradesh's Faizabad in 2007, died of 'heat stroke' Saturday when he was being taken back to the Lucknow prison after a hearing at a Faizabad court, police said. A probe has been ordered.

    Confirming the death, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Faizabad, Dharmendra Singh Yadav told IANS that Mujahid apparently died of heat while in transit.

    "Prima facie this appears to be a death owing to the heat wave, however the autopsy would reveal the exact reason," he said. He added that Mujahid's condition suddenly deteriorated near the Ram Snehi Ghat in Faizabad and he fainted. He was taken to the district hospital where he was declared dead.

    For every hearing, Mujahid, along with other accused - Tariq Qazmi, Mohammad Akhtar and Sajjad ur Rehman - were taken to the Faizabad court under high security from Lucknow prison. He was one of the accused for whom the state government had recommended withdrawal of cases, a move which was quashed by a Barabanki court earlier this week.

    Meanwhile, an embarrassed state government ordered a high level probe into the death.

    A late night communique from the chief minister's office said a committee comprising the home secretary, an additional director general of police (ADG) and an inspector general of police (IG) has been set up for the purpose.

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    By Farzana Versey,

    Let not the fact that they buried him in the Sunni graveyard, where his Leftist friends are interred, mislead anyone into believing that Asghar Ali Engineer was a Communist. It was a pragmatic wish upon which the decision was taken. He died on May 14. The Dawoodi Bohra
    community to which he belonged would not have accepted his last remains, much as they did not acknowledge him in life. He was excommunicated. However, he was much more than a nemesis of the Syedna, the spiritual head of the community.

    Engineer did not become as much of a name as he deserved to be simply because he was not a prototype moderate Muslim. The tag of “Islamic scholar” sat lightly on him. He was a believer who questioned many of the belief’s practices; a secularist who prayed regularly; a rationalist who did not lose touch with his emotions; an outcaste who did not suffer from the arrogance of an outsider, although he had every reason to. For speaking out against the stranglehold of the priesthood within his sect, he was abused, beaten up, his house and office were broken into and destroyed. Every utterance by him was used against him.

    Asghar Ali Engineer

    How would a person in this position feel? Following is a collation of excerpts from some of my interviews with him:

    FV: What does a lonely hunter contribute to society?

    AE: “History is full of instances of people who challenged the mighty forces of evil and they were not only fighting a lonely battle but were left alone to die. If somebody asked me about achievement I would have to talk qualitatively because my forces have depleted. So what? People who were swearing by my values finally succumbed. I have been ex-communicated.”

    FV: What does that mean?

    AE: “You are declared a non-Bohra, you are not allowed to meet your parents, your children, your marriage gets dissolved, you cannot meet your friends, relatives, you cannot take part in any community activity, or enter any holy shrine, I lose all those rights. But my family has stood by me”.

    FV: But technically your marriage is invalid, your children illegitimate?

    AE: “Yes.”

    FV: Yet you believe in god?

    AE: “Yes, because atheists blame religion when priests do wrong. Anything can be misused, whether it is nuclear power or a matchstick. So, how can I blame religion? Patriotism too can be misused, by misinforming others and eliminating people, so do we start hating the country? Religion helps you relate with the universe. Buddha was indifferent to the concept of god yet he gave us values.”

    FV: When you were fighting the dogmas were you aware of the consequences?

    AE: “Not to the extent that it could lead to such consequences. I was vaguely aware that I was going against the grain. I thought I would get people to respond because I was fighting for the truth, but people don’t respond just because you are fighting for the truth. They take their interests into account. I did not know I would suffer so much. But then I did not care.”

    FV: What was the real suffering…being beaten up?

    AE: “Not only that. You can bear such attacks because physical wounds heal, but those on the soul are difficult to heal. Weapons are less harmful than words. The psychological torture that I suffer is terrible. The kind of loose talk among the orthodox that I have sold myself, that I am an agent, that I am trying to destroy the community, I am an enemy of religion and the way some of my closest friends and relatives turned their faces away, that is more hurting.”

    FV: Then did you not want to question yourself when those you loved moved away, did you not wonder whether your truth was what you thought it to be?

    AE: “Self-examination goes on. I would not have continued had I not been convinced; it wasn’t just my ego.”

    FV: What role does individualism play when it gives an identity but can take away from commitment to society?

    AE: “I am not an individualist in the Western sense. Collectivism can become oppressive when it tries to dictate; the rights of the two should not clash. The individual cannot exist on his/her own and the collectivism should respect freedom of conscience, that is why the fight with the Bohra community. I do not deny its importance. My struggle is about the freedom of thought.”

    FV: You talk about Islam in a modernist light. How valid is it to tamper with a whole body of work that has come through generations?

    AE: “I am not taking away the historical legacy, but it should not become a burden. In a context it served a purpose at one time but times change and we should change and grow, and yet be proud of our legacy.”

    FV: If you want religion to be dynamic you have to rationalise it. That can become dangerous.

    AE: “What is religion? I want to remove the chaff from the grain. For me it is not what it is for the common people. If you take away certain social customs, they think you have taken away religion. For me it means purifying it. For example, women’s position includes so many pre-Islamic customs that have become an integral part of the Shariat. I am fighting that. Triple talaq is not mentioned in the Quran. Of course, there is a controversy; some maintain that the Prophet approved of it. Even if he did, maybe he had social constraints.”

    FV: What about jihad?

    AE: “Jihad is misused by fundamentalists. The Quranic meaning is not meant for war at all, in the sense of killing. Jihad is nothing but making efforts to realise goodness in life.”

    FV: Who, then, is a kafir?

    AE: “It is not one who believes in this form or that. Real ‘imaan’ is faith in humanity, so those who deny goodness are kafirs.”

    FV: Islam has this macho image. I suspect it is because there is no idol worship. Without something tangible to submit to, can the gun not become a potent idol for some?

    AE: “I would not agree with you at all. Those who take to guns could do so due to deprivation, suppression, or historical legacy. The Afghans have lived through violence for centuries, by the Mughals, the Russians, their own people, so they have always had to fight for freedom…we cannot take away the context. But they legitimised it by using jihad, a religious sanction, so they could be seen as mujahids, fighting for Allah. And you cannot say there is nothing concrete. Muslims going to mausoleums have created a concrete concept. An abstract god may be difficult so they found alternatives. My personal belief is we should not bow to any object. But Islam was aware of this human weakness and fulfilled that need through Haj to kiss a stone. A stone is a stone but the vacuum was filled and it became the holiest object. I have performed Haj and seen the devotion of people braving stampedes only to kiss that stone.”

    FV: Then why is there a mental barrier against others practising idol worship?

    AE: “It is not as much religious as political and cultural. That is because they have been taught. Quran says do not abuse others’ gods, they will abuse Allah. But most people do not believe in this…they feel their way is the only right one. This is to maintain religious hegemony.”

    FV: But when maulvis were invited to perform ‘namaaz’ at a Ganpati pandal, some people said the place was desecrated.

    AE: “That is narrow-minded people; you can pray where you want. You do not worship that idol there. Even here there are differences of opinion. The Sufi saint Mazhar Jaan Jana of 18th century Delhi believed that the Quran condemns bowing before deities because in pre-Islamic idol worship stones were considered god. But Hindus pray to god through that idol, which is a reflection of god. In Vedas god is nirguna and nirankara, that is, he has no attributes and no shape, that is the real belief of Hindus. As Muslims visit graves, so Hindus worship idols…”

    FV: I don’t agree with that Sufi saint. Ganesha and Lakshmi and the rest do represent something.

    AE: “We are talking about beliefs, not how people do it.”

    FV: How people do it is what religion becomes. Culturally, what is the role of the minorities in a majority state where they have to retain their identity and yet be part of the mainstream?

    AE: “This demand to merge in the mainstream is fascistic. Who will define what the mainstream is? Will the RSS chief define it or the people of India? If it is left to the people then all are part of the mainstream. To protect one’s identity is a Constitutional right.”

    FV: Then why do Muslims form ghettoes – is it just insecurity?

    AE: “If the communal riots had not taken place there would not be this ghetto feeling.”

    FV: But Bhendi Bazaar and Chandni Chowk have always existed.

    AE: “That is true, but it was not exclusivist with Muslims running away from Hindu areas, Hindus running away from Muslim areas. So Bhendi Bazaar is only a community living in one area. It is different from refusing to open out to others, which is real ghettoism. At the level of feeling, it did not exist before the riots.”

    FV: Could it make them less assertive, maybe even stop believing in themselves as important elements of society?

    AE: “Potency does not mean being unnecessarily aggressive; one has to be wise. I believe the minorities need to have a strategy of survival because needless aggression when you cannot change the situation does not help. Wisdom is more important than saving some cultural symbol.”

    FV: Would that qualify then as some sort of intellectual slavery?

    AE: “No, I am clear that the demolition was a violation of law and of a religious community. But if I cannot save it physically, it does not mean I have intellectually surrendered. We can assert that it was a condemnable act, but cannot come out on the roads and throw stones.”

    FV: How can we expect one community to be wise in the face of an emotional onslaught from the other side?

    AE: “It is very difficult. But somebody has to be restrained, that is also important. There should be someone to warn them of the perils of their behaviour. On Dec 7, 1993, it became a leaderless mob, no leader to provoke or restrain them…so the young people took to the streets, and had to suffer.”

    FV: Have there been attempts to co-opt you by other religious forces?

    AE: “Many people asked me to convert. I said my religious convictions remain. I am fighting the wrongs within my own community. And if I decide to convert I will lose the right to fight.”

    On one of my visits to his house, his wife had seen me to the door. She said, “It is not easy,” referring to the isolation from the community. That one sentence uttered with a fading smile conveyed all the hidden battle scars of a man who fought silently.


    Farzana Versey is a Mumbai-based writer, she blogs at

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    By TCN News,

    Hyderabad: Majlis Bachao Tahreek (MBT) has demanded that Andhra Pradesh State Government should provide justice to the victims of Mecca Masjid Bomb Blast and police firing.

    Addressing a protest public meeting at Dharna Chowk, Indira Park on the sixth anniversary of Mecca Masjid blast, MBT leader Amjed Ullah Khan (Corporator) said that State Government has denied compensation to the victims of bomb blast at Mecca Masjid and Police firing.

    MBT leader Amjedullah Khan adressing protest meeting

    While 8 people died in the bomb attack on the spot on May 18, 2007, nearly 22 more people succumbed to the injuries and other infections later years. However, their death was not treated as a casualty in the terror attack. Amjed Ullah Khan (Corporator) said that the State Government did not provide promised jobs to the families of the victims. Further, nothing was done for those who got permanently disabled due to the blast.

    Speaking about the 173 innocent Muslim youth who were wrongly arrested after the blast, MBT leader said that despite being acquitted by the court, the Hyderabad Police continued its harassment and they are being shown as absconding in two other cases. He said National Investigation Agency (NIA) has proved that the members of Abhinav Bharat were responsible for the bomb blast at Mecca Masjid, however innocent Muslim youth are still facing discrimination and harassment by the police and other authorities. Demanding that all cases booked after Bomb Blast attack which are pending against the innocent Muslim youth should be closed, he said the youth and their relatives were finding it impossible to find a suitable job or even get a match for the marriage.

    Amjed Ullah Khan (Corporator) also slammed a section of media for trying to link Muslim community with terrorism. He said immediately after every terror attack, some journalists get active in linking the same with the Muslims without having a base. Stating that several individuals with Rashtra Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) mindset have infiltrated in the media, he called upon the managements to take action against such reporters who are resorting to biased and baseless reporting. He said wrong reporting would eventually tarnish the image of the media houses and the society would not appreciate their biased and factually incorrect approach.

    MBT leader also demanded setting up of a Special Court to try the Mecca Masjid blast case against the activists of Abhinav Bharat.

    Addressing the gathering Mr. Veda Kumar (Vice President) Telangana Praja Front alleged that educated Muslim youth in Telangana region were being subjected to injustice and harassment by the Seema Andhra rulers. He also observed that the bomb blasts started taking place after the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992; demanding an enquiry, he alleged that bomb blasts were primarily aimed at targeting the educated Muslim youth.

    In the protest meeting newly elected Telangana Rashtriya Samithi MLC Mehmood Ali condemned the inaction of the State Government in giving relief to the families of the blast victims and police firing. He said that then TRS MLA Nayani Narasimha Reddy was the first legislator to raise the issue of illegal arrests of Muslim youth in the blast cases on the floor of the State Legislative Assembly. He also demanded that Police stop harassing the innocent Muslim youth.

    Mrs. Vimalakka (revolutionary poet), Hamed Mohammad Khan (President) Movement for Peace and Justice, Maulana Naseeruddin, Father David, Shebaz Ali Khan (Old City Telangana JAC), Mujahid Hashmi and other leaders participated in the protest meeting.

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    By TCN News,

    Hyderabad: Popular Front of India has demanded government employment and additional adequate compensation for Makkah Masjid Blast case victims and withdrawal of all the false cases against the innocent Muslim youth who were released under conditional bail in this case.

    The demands that we have made were the recommendations of the National Minorities Commission, noted a press statement by PFI.

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    His uncle files FIR against erring police officials. UP Govt. seek CBI probe.

    By Special Correspondent,

    Lucknow: Suspicion of torture and murder of Khalid Mujahid is getting stronger with each passing hour. Eye witness claims his body had ‘torture marks’ and that perhaps he had bleeding from his ears and mouth before his death.

    Khalid Mujahid who was arrested on charges of serial blasts in 2007 died while he was returning from Faizabad to Lucknow jail on Saturday. Khalid fainted on way at Barabanki, according to police. He was taken to District Hospital, Barabanki where he was declared brought dead by the doctors. Khalid was under police custody when he died.

    Khalid Mujahid

    Speaking to, Advocate Mohammad Shoaib, chairman of the Rihai Manch (Forum for the Release of Innocent Muslims imprisoned in the name of Terrorism), had confirmed that he, along with his lawyer Randhir Singh Suman, had met Khalid at the Faizabad court and was with him till 3.15 pm. The interesting thing they pointing to now is that he was wearing Kurta-payjama as usual in court. However, the dead body of Khalid was spotted in a tee-shirt and lower.

    Jail superintendent has already gone on record, saying Khalid’s health was normal. Early statement by the UP government said that he might have died due to heat stroke.

    Rajeev Yadav of Rihai Manch added that the bone of his neck appears to have been broken, and he had several other injury marks on the body.

    Speaking to TCN, his 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.

    Zahid’s uncle filed an FIR against 42 erring police officials, including former DGP Vikram Singh, IPS Manoj Kumar, Chiranjeev Lal Sinha, S. Anand as well as against the unknown Intelligence Bureau personnel, in the wee hours of the morning for conspiracy and murder.

    When asked if any representative of the UP Government tried to contact the family and expressed sorrow, Falahi said that no one from the government has contacted them. was the first to break the story of the death of Khalid Mujahid, raising doubts of extra-judicial murder.

    Speaking to TCN, Rajeev Yadav of Rihai Manch reiterated the demand of CBI enquiry, persecution of erring police officials, including the escort of Khalid Mujahid, as well demanded proper compensation to the family.

    L-R: Hakeem Tarique Qasmi and Khalid Mujahid

    Meanwhile, on Sunday under pressure from all quarters, UP government has sought a CBI enquiry into the death of Khalid Mujahid.

    Khalid along with Tariq Qasmi was arrested by Special Task Force (STF) on 20 December 2007 from Barabanki. Huge explosives were also shown as recovered from his possession. STF claimed that he was involved in the serial blasts which occurred in Gorakhpur, Faizabad and Lucknow. Later, Nimesh Commission was constituted headed by Justice R D Nimesh who in its report raised fingers over STF's claim about the place of arrest.

    Later, Samajwadi Party government headed by CM Akhilesh Yadav as per their poll promise had moved a plea to revoke the terror charges but they were turned down by local court in Barabanki. Process was however going on for withdrawing his case from other districts.

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    By IANS,

    Agra : Rohilkhand University Vice Chancellor (VC) Mohammad Muzammil has been directed by the Uttar Pradesh governor to take additional charge of Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar University (formerly Agra University) here.

    D.N. Johar, erstwhile vice chancellor of the university, had submitted his resignation to Governor B.L. Joshi in the state capital Lucknow Saturday afternoon.

    As the news of Muzammil taking over the university reached here late Saturday, employees and students heaved a sigh of relief, a university official told IANS Sunday.

    "The VC's (Johar) days were anyway numbered after the resignation of Pawan Kumar Bansal as union railway minister. Johar was believed to be close to Bansal's nephew Vijay Singla and many decisions were taken to please him," the official said.

    Singla has been arrested for allegedly accepting Rs.90 lakh for fixing appointment in the powerful Railway Board.

    Manoj Srivastav, a teachers' union leader, said: "Johar did not listen to anyone. Students were harassed. He shunted out so many teachers."

    "People had big hopes from him (Johar) but now he leaves in utter disgrace. The university is in complete shambles," said a retired teacher Bhagwan Sharma.

    Johar, who has a legal background, was appointed vice chancellor of Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar University on Jan 11, 2011.

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    They are now worried about the high cost of higher studies.

    By Zaidul Haque,,

    Kolkata: A number of students hailing from poor families have out performed exceptionally well in the West Bengal High Madrasa Examintion (Secondary) 2013.

    Masud Reza, son of a farmer, is the first rank holder, while the second rank holder is the son of a tailor. Roshnara Khatun has come third, while Sainjoy Bhuiyan, a non-Muslim has stood 11th in this year’s High Madrasa Examinations.

    Roshnara Khatun, overall rank 3in WB High Madrasa examinations, with her parent in her house.

    Muzammel Hossain and Abul Kalam Sardar are the first rank holders in Alim and Fazil examinations.

    The results of High Madrasa Examinations were declared on 17 May, 2013 conducted by the West Bengal Board of High Madrasa Education, Government of West Bengal. This year a total of 40992 students appeared in the High Madrasa examinations, of which 13750 were boys and 27242 were girls.

    The pass percentage this year was 77.80% of total students. The pass percentage of boys decreased marginally this year compared to last year. This year 83.35% boys passed against last year’s 84.10%. Girls, however, showed slight improvement. This year 74.69% girls passed against last year’s 74.50%.

    The President of West Bengal Board of Madrasa Education, Fazle Rabbi held a press conference on 17 May 2013 and declared High Madrasa, Alim and Fazil examinations’ result. He also gave a list of top 100 students’ name of three streams.

    Muzammel Hossain with his parent in his hous. He stood first in Alim Examination 2013 of West Bengal Madrasa Board.

    High Madrasa and Alim are equivalent to Secondary standard and Fazil is held equivalent to Senior Secondary standard (10+2).

    Masud Reza, this year’s High Madrasa topper, was a student of Belpukur High Madrasa in Village Sihol in the district South Dinajpur. His father Afsar Ali is a farmer and mother Zonefa Begum is a housewife. They are not even matriculate, and are hence even happier at their son’s feat.

    Masud has secured 91.62% with total marks of 733.

    Elder brother of Masud, Zahedul Islam told TCN over phone that while they are elated at the Maasud’s performance, they are also worried for his future as the family’s financial condition might not allow them to support his higher education.

    Although elder brother too could not complete secondary education, he has made sure that his two sisters’ study further; they are studying bachelors’ in arts. Islam, however, appealed to the community leaders to come out and support his younger brother since he wants to study in the science stream and do engineering it would be difficult for family to support his education.

    Masud Reza wants to become a Computer Engineer, although he has not even touched the system ever.

    Yakub Ali, Head Master of Masud Reza’s Madrasa Belpukur High Madrasa, told TCN that they have just installed computers in the Madrasa for the students, for the next session.

    Masud Reza’s favorite subject in school was Physics.

    The good news is that a leading Muslim educational residential institution has already offered him admission, with some special concessions. He would still require some finaincial assistance to bear the burden of other costs, books, stationary, coaching, etc.

    2nd rank holder Syed Ramiz Ali is from Hinchaberia Village under the Bhagawanpur police station of the East Midnapur district. He studied at Al Faqiha Academy at Contai rural town of East Midnapur, but gave exams through Gimageria Welfare High Madrasa.

    Son of a tailor, Ramiz Ali wants to become a doctor, but he too is worried about the finance. Youngest uncle of Ramiz Syed Ahia told TCN over telephone that Al Fiqah Academy, from where he studied for High Madrasa exams have assured him to bare a portion of the higher education cost.

    Head master of Gimageria Welfare High Madrasa Ahmed Hossain told TCN that, form class five onwards Ramiz has come first in his class.

    Syed Masud Reza (Rank: 1), Syed Ramiz Ali (Rank: 2), Roshnara Khatun (Rank: 3) and Habiba Siddiqua (Rank: 6) of High Madrasa Examination 2013.

    Roshnara Khatun, best performer amongst the girl’s students of High Madrasa, wants to become a Professor.

    She is the daughter of a retired school teacher of Battala Adarsha High Madrasa of Bhadu, under the Ratua Block of Malda district, where she studied.

    Her father Golam Rasul told TCN that, they are living in a remote village and have to sacrifice a lot to support his daughter’s education. Roshanara has secured 728 out of 800 marks.

    Muzammel Hossain stood rank first in Alim Examination in this year. Muzammel’s father, Golam Mustafa is a small grocery shopkeeper in his village East Simla of Baduria of the district North 24 Parganas, where he too support his father in free time. He wants to be teacher and likely to be in Madrasa also.

    Abul Kalam Sardar stood rank first in Fazil Examination. He studied from Swarupnagar Wasia Senior Madrasa of North 24 Parganas and residing at Kharubala village of Haroa block of the same district. His father Abdul Latif is a daily wage labour and mother is deaf and dumb. But she works of Zari (Hand Embroidery) on sarees to earn some extra money. Abul Kalam too wants to be a teacher in future.

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    By Syed Ali Mujtaba,

    I may not ever forgive myself, if I don’t pen an obituary on revered Islamic scholar Asghar Ali Engineer who passed away recently in Mumbai. He was a reformist-writer and activist and internationally known for his work on liberation theology in Islam. He led the Progressive Dawoodi Bohra movement. The focus of his work was on communal and ethnic violence in India. He was an advocate of a culture of peace, non-violence and communal harmony.

    I first met him at the Aligarh Muslim University in early eighties where I was an undergraduate student of History there. He was lecturing at the Kennedy Hall and some friends told me about this event. My knowledge about Islamic history was zero and I just curiously went to hear him. He was quoting from the Islamic literature and his speech was so learned that it bounced over my head. Nonetheless I am indebted to him as he opened the horizons of my knowledge.

    Asghar Ali Engineer

    I remember vividly how he described about his Bohra community’s politics. The diktat of the spiritual head of the Bohra community Maulana Syedna, how he was attacked inside the mosque when he resisted his fatwas. I owe all this knowledge to late Asghar Ali Engineer.

    That conversation continued much after the lecture. This event happened more than 30 years ago, but the memories are still fresh.

    After that I started reading him mainly his write-ups in Mainstream then edited by Nikhil Chakravartty, and also in Seminar edited by Romesh Thapar. Those were the days I was preparing for Civil Services examinations in JNU. I was as well researching on the theme The Demand for Partition of India. My thesis is now in a book.

    It was also those turbulent years of the late eighties and early 90’s. Ayodhya - Babri Masjid controversy was boiling, all around riots were happening in the country. A sequel of communal politics was happening in India, with first the demolition of Babari Masjid, the Mumbai riots, and then the s writings Mumbai bomb blasts. All this had put the secularist in a corner while the communalist held sway.

    It was at this moment of time Asghar Ali Engineer was not only chronicling those events but also through his writing resisting the politics of hate and revenge that ruled the roost. He upheld the secular values at time when communalism was making an onslaught. This is his greatest contribution to Indian society.

    I remained deeply engrossed reading his ideas on communalism and secularism as they were so profound. He is the first person in this country to highlight the menace of communal riots. He use to visit those places where the communal riots took place and his fact finding reports published in the media exposed the saffron biases against the Muslims.

    It’s only when his fact finding mission reports gained publicity the so called national media which early use to parrot the police version of the riots or cooked up its own stories, to blame the Muslims, were forced to take a balanced view of such events.

    Asghar Ali Engineer was not simply an armed chaired theoretician but also a grassroots worker who actually saw the developments on the ground and made his observations and comments. This makes his position much above the ranks and files of the scholars who have made their own distinct contributions.

    Engineer served as head of the Institute of Islamic Studies and the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, both of which he founded in 1980 and 1993 respectively. He also made contributions to The God Contention, a website comparing and contrasting various worldviews.

    Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer’s autobiography “A Living Faith: My Quest for Peace, Harmony and Social Change” was released by Vice President Hamid Ansari on 20 July 2011, in New Delhi.

    My next encounter with him was in Chennai in 98-99, when I went to interview him as a reporter of a local daily. He was talking at the Anna University, after which I had an opportunity to interview him on the subject of communalism in this country.

    My interview centered on the perils of communalism and his prognosis how to uphold the secular values in multi religious country like India. I found him to be convinced about the idea that secularism alone can be guiding principal of nation building.

    He said communalists are like frogs that may come during rainy season and vanish. Secularists are those who can brave all weathers and stand like a rock to combat the divisive forces in the society. I must pay him my deep respect and sincere gratitude for imparting me a few piece of wisdom.

    Even though he is no more among us, but his writings would continue to inspire millions of people in the country. He was bacon of light serving the humanity with utmost conviction. All those who have read and heard Asghar Ali Engineer will never forget him and he will live in their hearts as long they are alive.

    There can be no one like Asghar Ali Engineer but I am sure his words and action will be a source of aspiration to many in the country who may like to tread the path that was laid by him. I have no doubt in saying that he was of the finest human beings with whom I had the privilege to meet, interact and shake am hands. I really feel proud for having such an opportunity.

    I like to quote William Shakespeare and his famous lines in Julius Caesar as my concluding remarks in praise of late Asghar Ali Engineer – His life was gentle; and the elements so mixed in him, that Nature might stand up and say to the entire world, THIS WAS A MAN!


    Syed Ali Mujtaba is journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at

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    By TCN news,

    New Delhi: In a joint statement signed by several eminent personalities and civil rights activists, including Teesta Setalavad (activist, Mumbai); Shabnam Hashmi (ANHAD), Kavita Srivastava (PUCL); Ahmed Sohaib (JTSA); Mansi Sharma (activist, Delhi); Mahtab Alam (activist, Delhi); Manisha Sethi (JTSA), Mukul Kesavan (Historian), and Swami Agnivesh among others have condemned the 'custodial killing' of Khalid Mujahid and demanded time bound CBI enquiry and arrest the guilty Police officers without delay.

    Full text:

    Khalid Mujahid, proclaimed by the police as one of the executors of the serial blasts that rocked UP courts in November 2007, died in police custody yesterday (18th May 2013). This young man, with no past medical record, the police claim died of sudden medical complications, on his way back to Lucknow prison, having made his appearance in court in Barabanki in connection with the serial blasts case. In 2011, a report, Torture in India, had documented how custodial killings were rampantly passed off as sudden medical complications and natural deaths (ACHR, p. 8).

    Foul Play Obvious:

    - The DIG, Faizabad, Dharmendra Singh Yadav, first announced that his death had been caused by ‘heat wave’ and then the story quickly changed to ‘heart attack’.
    - His lawyer, Md. Shoaib, who met Khalid in the court, and in fact was with him till 3 in the afternoon, had found him to be normal, healthy and in high spirits. Eyewitnesses who saw the body before it was sent for autopsy found signs of bleeding from his mouth and ear.

    - Moreover, Advocate Md. Shoaib has pointed out that whilst he was wearing a kurta pyajama in the court appearance earlier in the day, the dead body wore lowers and T-shirt, clearly indicating foul play.

    - Why was the inquest conducted in such a hurried manner without the presence of Mujahid’s family and lawyer? Indeed, had it not been for the large public mobilization, the police and local administration were planning to conduct the autopsy quickly and secretively.

    It may be recalled that while the UP STF had claimed to have arrested Mujahid and Qasmi from the Lucknow Charbagh railway station 22 December 2007, the two has actually been picked up days before in full public view, triggering fears of abduction. There had been demonstrations at the local administration demanding for their release as well as filing of a missing persons complaint before the sensational press conference by the STF announcing their arrests.

    The long struggle by the democratic forces in UP against the blatant framing of Khalid Mujahid and Tariq Qasmi in the serial court blasts case, which led to the institution of R.D. Nimesh Commission, and the subsequent dismissal of the police claims about the timing and place of arrest of Mujahid and Qasmi, had made the police establishment in UP very nervous. It was obvious that the public pressure was not simply to release the duo but also to seek the prosecution of those policemen, then in the STF, who had falsely framed them.
    In these circumstances the ‘heart attack’ theory looks implausible and a brazen attempt to hide a blatant case of custodial killing.

    We reject the UP Chief Minister’s announcement of a High powered enquiry committee packed with senior bureaucrats and high ranking UP police officers.

    We demand that:

    - Khalid Mujahid’s death be treated as a case of custodial killing and a case of murder be booked against those police officers escorting him;
    - Those policemen named in the FIR filed by Khalid Mujahid’s family in the early hours today, should be arrested without delay

    - The CBI enquiry be made time-bound;

    - The post mortem report and the videography of the postmortem be made public;
    The Chief Minister should assure the safety and protection of Tariq Qasmi and other accused in the case;

    - The Chief Minister should immediately order compensation to the family of Khalid Mujahid.


    Teesta Setalavad (activist, Mumbai); Shabnam Hashmi (ANHAD), Kavita Srivastava (PUCL); Ahmed Sohaib (JTSA); Mansi Sharma (activist, Delhi); Mahtab Alam (activist, Delhi); Manisha Sethi (JTSA), Sangahmitra Misra (JTSA), Mukul Kesavan (writer and historian, Delhi), Ajit Sahi (journalist, Delhi), Prof. Harbans Mukhia (Academic, Delhi), Prof. Shohini Ghosh (filmmaker and academic, Delhi), Harsh Kapoor (, Delhi), S R Darapur (Retired IPS), Saba Naqvi (journalist, Delhi), Panini Anand (journalist, Delhi), Pervez Bari (journalist, Bhopal), Trideep Pais (lawyer, Delhi), Mayur Suresh (Lawyer), Dr Zafarul Islam Khan (Senior Journalist, Delhi), Asad Zaidi (writer and publisher, Delhi), Sukla Sen (Ekta, Mumbai), Prof. Anuradha Chenoy (Academic, Delhi), Prof. Kamal Mitra Chenoy (Academic, Delhi), Prof. Mohan Rao (Academic, Delhi), Anuradha Bhasin (Senior Journalist, Jammu), Dr. Lubna Sawarth (Hyderabad Aman Manch, Hyderabad), Iqbal Ahmed (journalist, Delhi), Zafarullah Khan, Kamayani Bali Mahabal (Lawyer, Mumbai), Wilfred D’Costa (Insaf, Delhi), Subhash Gatade (New Socialist Initiative); Himadri Mistry (Delhi School of Economics); BRP Bhaskar (senior journalist), Arundhati Dhuru (NAPM), Aijaz Zaka Syed, (Columnist and Writer), Dr. Sandeep Pandey (Magsaysay Awardee), Areeb Rizvi (Student, Jamia), Uma V Chandru (WSS and PUCL-Bangalore), Md Shadab Ansari (lawyer, Jharkhand), Gauhar Iqbal (Activist, Delhi) Atanu De, Faizullah, (Academician, TISS Mumbai), Himanshu Bhagat ( Freelance journalist), Syed Hassan Kazim (Journalist , New Delhi), Kumar Sundaram, (Researcher and Activist, Delhi), Madhumita Dutta (activist, Chennai, Tamilnadu), Musab Iqbal (Journalist, Bangalore), Amalendu Upadhyaya, (Senior Journalist, Ghaziabad, UP),Arshad Ajmal (Activist, Patna), Abu Zafar (journalist, Delhi),Kundan Panday (Journalist), Salar Khan (lawyer, Delhi), Swami Agniwesh (Activist, Delhi), AarizMohammed (Muslim Empowerment Movement, Hyderabad), M Siddiqui (United Kingdom), Ovais Sultan (activist, Delhi) and many others.

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    By Staff Reporter,

    New Delhi: Several Muslim originations and rights bodies have condemned the ‘custodial murder’ of Khalid Mujhaid and demanded fair CBI probe.

    All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (AIMMM), the umbrella body of Indian Muslim organizations and eminent personalities, in a press statement condemned the “custodial murder of the terror-accused Khalid Mujahid who had been exonerated by the Nimesh Commission but Uttar Pradesh government was playing politics about the release of the falsely accused in the case of the U.P. courts blasts.”

    President of the AIMMM and editor of The Milli Gazette, Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan said that the police story about Khalid Mujahid’s death is doubtful as it is not plausible that a young and healthy person would die of heart attack. He demanded the immediate suspension of all officers and policemen involved in this custodial murder, adequate compensation to the family of the murdered detainee and the immediate release of the Nimesh Commission report with an action taken report.

    Jamaat e Islami Hind too condemned the attack, calling it “murder in judicial custody” that has been conducted in a “planned way” to save certain police personnel, who falsely implicated innocent Muslim youths in terror case.

    Meanwhile, a joint statement signed by several eminent personalities and civil rights activists, including Teesta Setalavad (activist, Mumbai); Shabnam Hashmi (ANHAD), Kavita Srivastava (PUCL); Ahmed Sohaib (JTSA); Mansi Sharma (activist, Delhi); Mahtab Alam (activist, Delhi); Manisha Sethi (JTSA), Mukul Kesavan (Historian), and Swami Agnivesh among others too have condemned the custodial killing, pointing to the ‘foul play’ and demanded time bound CBI enquiry and arrest the guilty Police officers without delay.

    Faisal Khan of Khudai Khidmatgar said, "We strongly condemn the custodial murder of Khalid Mujahid and demand justice."

    In a press statement, Jamiat Ulama-i- Hind (JUeH) general secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani, while expressing shock, warned the centre and state governments that such nefarious conspiracies against innocent Muslims will not be tolerated at all. “Taking a lesson from this horrified incident the government should release the Nimesh Commission Report in which the duo has been exonerated,” asserted JUH general secretary.

    Maulana Madani said that the death of Khalid under such circumstances raises serious questions on existing police system and loophole in investigative agencies. Terming the state government’s move to book 42 persons including a retired top UP police officer and a senior serving cop for alleged conspiracy in 2007 in connection with the death of serial blasts accused Khalid Mujahid under sections 120 B and 302 of the IPC, a right step but insufficient.

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    Zaidul Haque,,

    Kolkata: Several Muslim organizations have opposed the timing of the Panchayet elections in West Bengal as it may fall in the holy month of Ramzan.

    The government has proposed the dates for the coming local bodies’ election on July 2 and 6 and 10. However, Ramzan is expected to begin from July 9 or 10 this year.

    Muslim organizations have hence written a letter to the State Election Commission demanding to shift particularly the last phase of the election to some earlier date. They have also urged the chief minister Mamata Banerjee to look into the matter.

    State Jamiat Ulama e Hind leader Maulana Siddiqullah Chowdhury also held a press conference in this regard. He told TCN, that the Hindu festival of Rathyatra and Ramzan may fall on July 10 and hence should be changed or postponed to be held after Ramzan.

    He also said that the State Election Commissioner mentioned about very sensitive booths, mostly located in Muslim dominated areas, and hence one should avoid such bloodshed in the holy month.

    State Jamat e Islami Hind President Md Nuruddin told TCN that the government should respect the religious sentiments of both Muslims and Hindus.

    Al India Minority Youth federation Secretary Md Kamruzzaman told TCN today that State Government should remember the order of Supreme Court where it clearly says that during Ramzan Muslim workers should get relaxation in their duty hours and they should get leave by 3.0 pm; adding that there are several Muslim staffs who would be employed for the elections’ duty.

    Secretary of the All India Muslim Think Tank Association Md Sahalam too reiterated the same demand.

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    By IANS,

    Nashik : People here trooped out Sunday on the streets to welcome and offer chilled soft drinks to over 1,000 Muslims who embarked on a 300-km Gandhian march to Mumbai demanding reservations in job, an official said.

    The protestors started from the sensitive power-loom town of Malegaon after the Friday prayers for Mumbai's Azad Maidan as their destination, which they hope to cover by May 26, according to Muslim Reservation Federation (MRF) spokesperson and social activist Aleem Faizi.

    "As we pass through small towns and villages, more and more Muslims are joining the 'padyatra' to express support for the cause of 20 percent job and other reservations for the community people," Faizi told IANS.

    The protestors are carrying the national flag, banners and placards espousing the cause and march briskly, braving the rising mercury in the hinterland from dawn to dusk.

    Faizi said the MRF is an umbrella organisation of over a dozen major Muslim organisations from the state, all working towards a common goal of reservations for Muslims.

    Traversing through Chandwad, Wadalibhoi, Pimpalgaon, Ojhar, Wadiwarhe, Ghoti, Igatpuri, Kasara, Shahapur, Bhiwandi, Thane and finally onto Mumbai, the march is expected to swell to over 20,000 people, Faizi said.

    Besides Nashik, Muslims have joined the "long march" from districts like Pune, Nanded, Dhule, Satara, Beed and other cities in the state.

    According to Faizi, the "long march" was envisaged six months ago to seek 20 percent reservations for the community across the country.

    MRF founder Asif Shaikh Rasheed, who is leading the march, said that the Sachar Committee had recommended reservations as one of the remedies to remove the backwardness and alienation of the country's largest minority community.

    "Five years since the report, nothing has moved ahead and the ground realities have worsened, compelling us to undertake a strong action," Rasheed said.

    Rasheed said that providing reservations in government jobs is one way to empower the Muslim community, counted among the most backward in the country.

    "We are not satisfied with the government's move to concede the demands before 2014, we want it now," he declared.

    Speaking to media persons en route, Maharashtra Jamiat-ul-Ulema chief Hafiz Nadeem Siddiqui said that if the government does not consider the demand on top priority, the agitation would be intensified.

    While Muslims from Andhra Pradesh have already been given reservations, he alleged, "Maharashtra appears to be ruled by the RSS."

    Kul Jamaat Tanzeem chief Abdul H. Azhari, which is also participating in the "long march", said that the development of any nation is directly linked with the evolution of alienated, backward and downtrodden communities.

    "Look at Maharashtra, not a single Muslim was elected in the Lok Sabha despite the state Muslims accounting for over 10 percent of the total population," Azhari pointed out.

    All India Muslim Personal Law Board member Hafiz Umrain said that the community is aware of its vote power.

    "If the government fails to grant Muslim reservations, then it must be prepared to face the consequences in the next elections," Umrain warned.

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: Jamiat Ulama-i- Hind (JUeH), the largest Muslim organization has strongly condemned the mysterious death of terror accused Khalid Mujahid.

    In a press statement, JUH general secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani while expressing shock warned the centre and state governments that such nefarious conspiracies against innocent Muslims will not be tolerated at all.

    Being Skeptical about the police version of story, Maulana Madani sought thorough enquiry into the death and asked the UP government to immediately table Nimesh Commission Report in the Assembly with action take report and ensure release and safety of the co- accused Tariq Qasmi. “Taking a lesson from this horrified incident the government should release the Nimesh Commission Report in which the duo has been exonerated,” asserted JUH general secretary.

    Terming the state government’s move to book 42 persons including a retired top UP police officer and a senior serving cop for alleged conspiracy in 2007 in connection with the death of serial blasts accused Khalid Mujahid under sections 120 B and 302 of the IPC, a right step but insufficient, Maulana Mahmood Madani demanded that the circle police officer Snajeev Tayagi and 8 other policemen who were escorting the accused to Lucknow be arrested and interrogated severely. He also demanded the governed forthwith announce adequate compensation to Khalid's family.

    Maulana Madani said that the death of Khalid under such circumstances raises serious questions on existing police system and loophole in investigative agencies. We are firm that this incident would have been averted If UP government had acted on time on the recommendations of Nimesh Commission report.

    He further said it is beyond reasoning that a report which is clearly exonerating Khalid Mujahid and Tariq Qasmi with recommending action against named police officers who framed and fabricated evidence to implicate them is not yet submitted into the assembly.

    He feared that such conspiracy can be extended to other detained whom they police agencies find to be key witness to their mischievous intentions. Giving instances of Qateel Siddiqi, Faiz Usmani and Javed He demanded provision of proper security for all the terror- accused in the custody so that further incident could be prevented.

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