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Voters feel Muslims are ‘implicated’ in terror cases

Prashant Jha
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41 per cent of respondents, including Hindus, either ‘fully’ or ‘somewhat’ agreed with the assertion

In a stinging rebuke to Indian’s security establishment, a dominant section of Indian voters feel that Muslims are ‘falsely implicated’ and framed in terror cases.

This is a key finding of CNN-IBN- The Hindu Election Tracker Survey, conducted by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), across 18 States.

Asked whether Muslim youths were being ‘falsely implicated in terror cases,’ 41 per cent of voters either ‘fully’ or ‘somewhat’ agreed with the assertion. Among them, 40 per cent of Hindus and 56 per cent of Muslims believed that this was happening. When the Muslim demographics were broken down further, 53 per cent rural Muslims and 62 per cent urban Muslims said the young of their community were being wrongly framed.

One-fourth of the respondents, however, disagreed with the statement. Twenty-five per cent of Hindus and 24 per cent of the Muslim respondents did not think Muslim youths were being implicated wrongly.

Twenty-six per cent rural Muslims and 21 per cent urban Muslims disagreed, confirming a pattern in which more urban Muslims appeared to feel that individuals from the community were framed wrongly.

Over one-third of the total respondents, 34 per cent, did not offer an opinion.

The findings add credibility to allegations of human rights organisations that in an increasing number of cases, young Muslims are picked up right after an incident of terrorism, arrested without sufficient evidence and charged. They suffer long years of imprisonment as under-trials before they are acquitted. Analysts have often said this contributed to alienation among a section of the community.

Responding to the findings, National Commission for Minorities chairperson Wajahat Habibullah said: “The commission has been very concerned about this and has taken up the matter on several occasions. It is good to have the figures in black and white, and this will make our work of getting justice for those who have not got justice easier.” As proof of this trend, he cited the Mecca-Masjid bombing case, in which 22 persons were jailed on fabricated confessions, and the Malegaon case, in which nine persons were imprisoned for six years before being acquitted.

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