The editorial “Compensating victims” (Sept. 20) has rightly appreciated the Andhra Pradesh High Court for recalling an earlier order that struck down the award of compensation to 70 Muslim young men wrongly arrested in connection with the Mecca Masjid blast case. Exoneration and release are not remedies for the suffering undergone by the innocent men. In such cases, it is only right that victims get compensation. If it is found that police acted irresponsibly, they should be punished.
The government should recover the compensation from the policemen responsible for falsely implicating the Muslim men. The bias against the minorities should be tackled by sensitising the police, from the rank of constables upwards. A concerted effort should also be made to improve the representation of the minorities in the force.
Police arrest Muslim men whenever a blast takes place to show that they have cracked the case. It is an open secret that police use cruel means of torture until the arrested persons ‘confess’ to the crime they are charged with. When the arrested persons are proved innocent, who will compensate for their sufferings? This question was lingering in my mind for quite some time. I feel the National Commission for Minorities has given the answer by recommending that the policemen responsible for implicating innocent people pay the compensation.
The editorial claims that the 2007 Mecca Masjid blasts were “perpetrated by Hindutva sympathisers.” The charge has not been proved till date. Allegations and counter-allegations were made by the government and the Opposition. There were also reports of investigating agencies using coercive tactics to bring out confessions.
Kesav Sundar Patnaik,