Shiv Pujan Jha, CNN-IBN, Saturday , March 18, 2006 at 21:08
New Delhi: When two groups confront each other on the frontlines of the law, it is often the case of a Muslim suspect versus the police. As CNN-IBN reports the threat of POTA or being ‘anti-national’ is always a danger with a police still trapped to some extent in stereotypes. Many Muslims feel that the police target them without any rhyme or reason.
“We were picked up from house and tortured and then sent to jail. Our relatives were picked up put in trucks and shot dead, “ resident of Meerut Mohammad Shaheed Ansari says.
That was just a sad recollection of the riots that raged Meerut in April 1997. The residents of Hashimpura and Maliyana still shudder at the thought of it. Some residents are still missing.
Not only riots even in everyday life the minority community in India complain of police harassment and prejudice. A family in Ghaziabad has alleged that they were falsely implicated in a criminal case and three members were picked up by the police without any fault.
Mohammad Guddu a victim of the incident says, “We had gone to take medicine but were arrested by the police.”
The hangover of Muslim sentiments in the police force is a stereotype, which has refused to die with the times. Stereotypes stem from alleged links with Pakistan, the experience of cross border militants in Kashmir. The eventual fallout is however the branding of even those who are not even remotely associated with the terror motives.
Imam Bukhari Shahi Imam, Zama Maszidsays, “Muslims are never regarded as loyal to the country. The needle of suspicion is always against them.”
“By and large these things happen in political pockets and I can assure you this has not been the case in Delhi at all,” said Former joint commissioner Delhi police Maxwell Pereira.
The solution too is not far to seek. Perhaps presence of more Muslim policemen in the force can give it a more secular look.
“The minorities need to major up and become worthy of these force and they should come forward and with merit come into the forces, ” added Pereira.
Police and the Muslims, the relationship is of doubt and suspicion. In fact fingers are pointed at the minority community for their alleged links with the Pakistan and the terror modules and the police is no exception to it.