The Jamia Millia Islamia’s decision to offer legal aid to its two students who have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the Delhi serial blasts is laudable. Governments are under pressure to show quick results and any suspect is presumed guilty if the case pertains to ‘terror.’ In this atmosphere, care must be taken to ensure that the accused get a chance to defend themselves and a fair trial. The BJP’s demand that the Vice Chancellor be sacked for making the offer is along expected lines. The party is known for supporting and implementing laws which ride roughshod over principles of natural justice.
The recent spate of bomb blasts in Delhi and other parts of the country is unfortunate. The practice of picking up Muslim youths after every blast has become routine. But what is causing great concern is the way the entire community has been linked to terrorism. When the Gujarat riots took place in 2002, the vast majority was pained and even apologetic. But today, victimisation of Muslims hardly generates any sympathy. The situation is fast turning into state versus Muslims, in which most common people seem to be sympathising with the police, thanks to the overdrive of the electronic media. In the last five years, in some seven instances, persons making, carrying, planting or getting killed while making bombs turned out to be RSS affiliates. Yet after a bomb blast, Muslim sounding names start flashing on television screens in no time.
The Indian police have proved that they do not lag behind anyone in their task. When India was worried at the increasing attacks and the stop-us-if-you-can challenge thrown by terrorists, we find that the police have cracked down on suspected terrorists of the Indian Mujahideen. The Mumbai police deserve all praise for the latest arrests. Let us stand united and strengthen their hands without any reservations.