TISS research scholar shocked over police treatment

A research scholar from the prestigious Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, who was in the city for collection of data for his research work on terror-related cases was hauled to a police station where the police wanted to photograph him on suspicion.

The research scholar, Sharib Ali, is in Hyderabad to prepare a report on how terror cases are dealt and presented at the lawyer’s level. As part of his research work, Mr. Ali fixed an appointment with Rajvardhan Reddy, a lawyer appearing for the accused in the Mecca Masjid blast case and a Hindu Vahini functionary, on Monday. He was asked to come to the court and later to the house of Mr. Reddy in Malakpet.

Sour experience

However, the visit turned out to be a sour experience with Mr. Reddy calling up the police and some Hindu Vahini activists growing suspicious of Mr. Ali and his friend, Mohd. Ismail Khan, a fourth year law student from Osmania University.

Mr. Ali recalled that Mr. Reddy was polite but expressed his apprehensions about meeting strangers claiming that he was on the hit list of terrorists. However, “his call to the police was unjust as he checked my credentials,” the researcher recounted. He was particularly peeved at the way Mr. Reddy created “an ugly situation” with his suspicion.

The police personnel of Malakpet went to the house, checked his passport, identity card and a letter issued by his institute certifying him to be a researcher collecting data. The police officer, however, insisted that he and his friend, Mr Khan, come to the station. They also wanted him to give photostat copies of his passport and identity card. They were taken to the station and questioned separately.

After the questioning, they were asked to leave the station, but the police officer wanted to shoot Ali’s photograph. “I refused to get myself photographed. I felt humiliated and insulted as they were suspicious of me just because I was a Muslim,” Mr. Ali told The Hindu . He felt the police were taking orders from higher-ups in the department. He, however, said the police officials were polite and cordial.

The Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee has condemned the way the research scholar was treated. “Such acts should be condemned,” said Lateef Mohammed Khan, general secretary of the committee.

When contacted, Malakpet Inspector N. Satyanarayana said that they had gone to the house of Mr. Reddy after he expressed suspicion over the two visitors. “We found that the person in question was a research scholar from Mumbai and let them off after verifying their antecedents,” he said.

Mr. Rajvardhan Reddy could not be reached for his comment.

Lawyer apprehensive about meeting strangers, calls police to check their credentials

Sharib Ali and his friend taken to police station and questioned separately