“There are two types of laws in this country. One is for Hindus and the other is for Muslims. The policeman is first a Hindu and then a policeman. The judge is first a Hindu and then a judge and the lawyer is first a Hindu then a lawyer. People who work against the State, indulge in rioting, kill thousands of innocent people, and harass women and children and roam free in this country. They are not punished. I am suffering only because I am a Muslim.” This is the feeling of one of the three thousand Muslim prisoners who are languishing in the various jails in Maharashtra under different allegations for different periods of time. This complain of Muslims is common that the percentage of Muslim prisoners in jails of Maharashtra is much more (about three times more) than their total population in the state, and a large number of them are the victims of mere police bias. Only 30 per cent of these prisoners are convicted and the rest 70 per cent of them are under-trials, most of whom have no one to care for them.
The Report in Brief
To address these complaints, Maharashtra State Minorities Commission got a study done by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and other institutions. The institutions, having interviewed in detail 339 of 3,000 Muslim prisoners in 15 jails of the state, compiled the report, which in short establishes the fact that excesses are indeed being done to Muslims in the state and police personnel are on the forefront in this regard; they do indiscriminate arrests of Muslims, ask them to grease their palms, and throw behind the bars those who are unable to pay. – (The Hindu, June 25) The stories are very painful though not new. The man whose feeling has been reproduced above is an agent in textile export. This man named Murtaza has been arrested under the Official Secrets Act on charges of spying. He has been languishing in jail without any evidence, without his presentation in court and without legal assistance. While the entire TISS report, which can be had from Maharashtra State Minorities Commission, is worth reading and preparing an action plan on its basis, the words of Murtaza are worth contemplating hundred times as they present the pain and suffering of the entire community.
The circle of this mentality is wide
There may be exceptions. No one can deny that there have always been and are even today a considerable number of police officers who are responsible and dutiful. Vibhuti Narain Rai of Uttar Pradesh and Hemant Karkare of Maharashtra were associated with this service. Such outstanding police officers are in thousands but the cumulative character of Indian police force is the same as Murtaza has been experiencing. And this mentality is not confined only to police personnel, lawyers and judges. It is present in almost every field of the collective life of the country; 64 years of independent India stand witness to it. Now the question is why this mentality was created; the answer is that it was created in a well-planned and organised manner. The circle of such efforts has reached from school textbooks to literature and films. Two full generations after independence have grown up in this environment and are at the climax of their performance today. The Muslim leadership demanding reservation and empowerment stands oblivious of this reality. Let this leadership do its work but the new educated generation that is aware of social science, information technology and other modern branches of knowledge must make an arrangement of the study and analysis of this situation so that an action plan may be prepared on its basis.
01// 07/12 khabar-O-Nazar by Parwaaz Rahmani, sehrozaDAWAT, translated by: Abu Yusuf