Monday, August 8, 2011

Behind Bars

Illegal Police Action and Arrests of Innocent Citizens
New Delhi | August 4, 2011

During the last five years or so there are a number of events of organized killings, which no sensible Indian citizen will like their recurrence. Some events have become spectacular due to police firing and associated killings as well. In the following is an indicative list of such events since 2006.
1. 8 September 2006 | Malegaon
2. 19 February 2007 | Samjhota Exp:
3. May 18, 2007 | Makkah Masjid: Hyderabad
4. 23 November 2007 | Lucknow, Varanasi and Faizabad
5. 11 October 2007 | The Ajmir Dargah
6. 19 September 2008 | Batla House, Delhi
7. 29 September 2008 | Malegaon
8. 29 September 2008 | Gujarat
9. Multiple Dates |Ahmadabad
10. Multiple Dates | Bombay
11. 17 April 2010 | Bangalore

It is also important to state that on all the above cited situations, and also on any similar occasion, the police normally rounds-off and arrest a large number of men / boys from the Muslim neighbourhood and on some occasions from all over the state. Often the boys arrested are minors or less than 20 years of age. Such arrests occur almost instantaneously after the episode, with hardly any direct evidence that the boys / men were involved in organized crime.

Further, the problem becomes severe as most of those arrested generally belong to poor and marginalized households and on most of the occasions they cannot arrange for surety and costs to secure a ‘police bail’ or a ‘court bail’. Under such circumstances a large number those arrested are still languishing in jails all over India. But most important point to make is that practically all those arrested have also found not guilty during the police enquiry but still they are not granted bail, as getting bail in India is not easy and costs money.

However, this note is prepared to request the citizens and patriots of India that there is a need to:

1. Restrain arrests of people as a routine, with no direct evidence of involvement in heinous and organized crimes, such as those listed above.

2. That there should be a mechanism to grating of bails within a reasonable time after such arrests and such bails should be free of cost.

3. To promote police - people interaction, build mutual trust and support; as a regular feature in all parts of India, but especially in the hot spots so that the real perpetrators of organized crime are brought to books and the innocent citizens are left alone.

There is therefore an urgent need to collect and collate information surrounding the above listed events. There is need to prepare state wise lists of all those arrested in the aftermath of organized crimes, and those who are still languishing in lockups and jails, those who qualify for bails by still not released due to want of surety and unaffordability to bear the costs of bails. Information thus collected can be used to highlight the size and severity, and pain and anguish faced by such people and respective families and dependents.

This proposal is to undertake the following tasks:

1. Demand to constitute a ‘commission of enquiry’ by the national government.

2. File Public Interest Litigation with the Supreme Court of India.

3. Motivate the Human Rights Activists to initiate appropriate activities in the local areas.

4. Motivate lawyers, legal community and civil society to lend an ear for such issues in future.

The immediate task is to collect the necessary information and data base so as to put forth a PIL in the Supreme Court. Dedicated persons in each of the concerned states / cities will facilitate collecting and collating of required information to build up our case to seek the reliefs listed above. Once the needed data and information is with us, it will be used to put-up a case through the help of some committed layers in Delhi and file a Public Interest Litigation. We can also reach out to the highest level political decision makers to press for the constitution of a ‘commission of enquiry’ by the national government so as to get into the roots of the issues enunciated above.

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