Policemen who torture must now pay the price

Four years after the Andhra Pradesh police picked up 21 Muslim boys and wrongly accused them of involvement in the Mecca Masjid bomb blast, there is finally some hope that they can resume normal life without the stigma of terrorism.

The hope comes via the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), which recently made four key recommendations to the State government. A compensation of Rs. 3 lakh each to be paid to the 21 boys; action under the law against the policemen who tortured and framed the boys; recovery of the compensation amounts from the salaries of the guilty policemen and award of character certificates to the boys to enable them to “return to normal life, free from the suspicion of being criminally inclined.”

Letter to Chief Minister

In a letter dated August 2 to Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, NCM chairperson Wajahat Habibullah said the compensation was in line with the recommendations of the Communal Violence Prevention Bill, 2011 “for mental harassment, depression and psychological harm to the victims of communal violence since the targeting of youths belonging to a particular community was purely on communal grounds.”

Besides, Mr. Habibullah noted, “the accused policemen had proved incompetent in even building a plausible case before the court, causing avoidable financial loss to government.”

This is the third letter from Mr. Habibullah and the NCM to Mr. Reddy. The State government has so far taken the line that nine of the victimised boys were compensated by way of loans from the Andhra Pradesh Minorities Finance Corporation. However, the NCM, which took up the case on a complaint from a retired Major, S.G.M. Quadri, argued that advancing a loan was not the same as compensation.

Talking to The Hindu, Major Quadri said: “This is absurd. Is it the State government's policy that you have to be implicated in a terrorism case to get a loan? Besides, it is our information that the loan amounts have not reached even the nine boys.”

Mr. Habibullah said: “Compensation means acknowledging the injustice. The careers of the boys have been destroyed and they cannot get married. The policemen responsible for this must pay for it.”

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 2:33:54 AM |

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