Muslim groups in Rajasthan have demanded stringent action against the Jaipur Central Jail officials guilty of assaulting more than a dozen accused in the May 2008 serial blasts here on the day of Id-ul-Fitr and charged the Congress-led government with carrying forward the BJP regime’s “communal agenda.”
About 16 persons accused of carrying out the blasts, languishing in the Central Jail here for more than a year, were assaulted after being dragged out of their cells on Monday when they sought permission to offer Id prayers, along with other prisoners, in the jail compound.
Director-General of Prisons Omendra Bharadwaj has ordered a departmental inquiry and transferred jailer Ashok Gaur to Ajmer and deputy jailer Bhairon Singh to Udaipur.
At a press conference here on Saturday, representatives of the Rajasthan Muslim Forum, an apex body of Muslim groups, said this “perfunctory action” of shunting out the officials was inadequate and demanded immediate suspension of the guilty and the institution of a judicial inquiry.
“The cruel torture of the accused, who are in judicial custody and awaiting trial, is not only a violation of the Rajasthan Prison Rules, 1961, but also a serious infringement of their legal rights. It calls for urgent initiation of criminal proceedings,” Muslim Forum member and Jamat-e-Islami Hind State president Mohammed Salim said.
The Forum said the departmental inquiry, a routine procedure, was unlikely to bring out the truth; only a judicial probe could fix the responsibility for the crime and reveal the “inhuman conditions” in which the accused were lodged.
It intends to file a complaint in the court seeking registration of criminal cases against the jailer, the deputy jailer and others and send a fact-finding report to the National Human Rights Commission, seeking its intervention.
Mr. Salim said a written complaint by two of the accused made a mention of the “daily torture” of all of them for 15 continuous days in October last year, when they were blindfolded and mercilessly beaten up. “It was more serious this time, as the prison officials desecrated religious scriptures on the pretext of search of the cells.”
The Forum regretted that the ruling Congress was “blindly” following the brief given to the investigating agencies by the BJP regime and continuing to target innocent Muslim youths under the pretext of investigating the blasts. “The real culprits have gone scot-free, while innocents are being tortured in the jail,” convenor Qari Moinuddin said.
While Saif-ur-Rehman and Mohammed Sarvar from Azamgarh and Shahbaz Ahmed from Lucknow have been charged with carrying out the blasts that claimed 70 lives, there are 13 accused from Kota, Baran and Jodhpur facing the charges of involvement in the conspiracy and taking part in the activities of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India.
Paikar Farooq, lawyer for two of the accused, questioned the prosecution delaying the trial, arguing that some of the accused were still at large. “There is no legal bar on the trial against a set of accused if others are not captured. It is strange that the court has not yet even framed the charges.”