NEW DELHI – A group of organizations led by Students Islamic Organization of India (SIO) planned a nationwide protest on Friday, November 23, to stop illegal detention and arrest of innocent Muslim youth in the name of terrorism.
"We are deeply concerned over the continued chain of detaining and arresting of innocent Muslim youths in the name of counter terrorism across the country since long time," organizers said in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Ummid.com reported.
Planning their protest, Muslim youth expressed anger over police infiltration in Muslim communities, charging innocent people in the name of fighting terrorism.
"Infiltration of communal elements into police and intelligence agencies is responsible for all the agonies faced by innocent people in terror related cases,” organizers added.
Muslim youth also accused police of arresting hundreds of Muslim youth in India and abroad.
“In the past decade, hundreds of Muslim youths arrested under charges of terror plots have been declared as innocents and released from jail,” the statement said.
“In many cases, courts have castigated the police and intelligence agencies for filing false cases and fabrication of evidence.”
"It is reported that many youths working abroad are on the hit list of security agencies. The well-qualified and professional Muslim youths go abroad in search of jobs but there too, the long arms of our security agencies are out to grab them for harassing and ruining their peace by leveling concocted charges", they said.
"On one side, the police and the government agencies arrest innocent Muslim youths under serious charges and on the other side, the media projects them, much before their trial in courts of law, as masterminds and terrorists", they said.
The march to parliament protest, led by SIO, was joined with Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH), Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) and All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM).
Other supporters included Welfare Party of India (WPI), Jamia Students Solidarity Forum (JSSF) and Alliance for Social Justice, Delhi University.
Protesters demanded that fast track courts be set up to try cases of "illegal arrests" so that the victims got speedy justice.
“It is bringing shame to the law enforcement structure of the country while the real culprits of most terrorism related cases roam freely due to the self-deceiving approach of the concerned authorities,” protesters said in their statement.
“There seems to be a tendency among investigative agencies to search and fix some suitable ‘scapegoats’ and declare a case solved, to cover someone else’s crime directly or indirectly and to willfully target educated Muslim youth in terror related cases,” they added.
The activists demanded that the Communal Violence Bill be tabled and passed in the Winter Session of Parliament, hoping that the bill would provide protection to Muslims during communal riots.
“These are enough to show the bid to arrest youths under concocted charges in different parts of the country seems to be part of a planned conspiracy to defame Muslims, tarnish their image before the masses,” the statement added.
There are some 140 million Muslims in Hindu-majority India who have repeatedly complained of being selectively and unfairly targeted by anti-terror police.
They also accuse authorities of feeding stereotypes about their religion.
Indian Muslims complained decades of social and economic neglect and oppression as well as being discriminated against in all walks of life.
Official figures reveal Muslims log lower educational levels and higher unemployment rates than the Hindu majority and other minorities like Christians and Sikhs.
They account for less than seven percent of public service employees, only five percent of railways workers, around four percent of banking employees and there are only 29,000 Muslims in India's 1.3 million-strong military.
A 2006 report, known as the Sachar Committee report, looked into the socio-economic and educational backwardness of Muslims in the country and suggested various remedial measures.
The recommendations included setting up educational facilities, modernization of madrasahs, creation of job opportunities and steps to increase the community's representation in public services.
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