A number of Muslim youths were illegally detained by the AP State Police and tortured to make them confess to the bombings in Hyderabad in 2007. Later courts have released all youths for lack of evidence but the police officers who harassed and tortured these youth have not been punished. AP State Minorities Commission appointed advocate L Ravi Chander to investigate the claims that Muslim youth were illegally detained and tortured by the police. The report found allegations to be true and documented enough evidence to implicate the police for its extra-judicial working. This is probably the first time that a report by a statutory body has documented the illegal working of the Indian police. The content of the report is damaging to the Andhra Pradesh government and therefore it pressured the AP State Minorities Commission not to act upon it and also not to get it released.
What the report says
All the youth arrested told the Commission of “arrest without warrant, arrest without informing kith & kin, being taken away to unknown places, torture, etc.” Physical evidence of torture was visible on their bodies.
Investigating Commission found that none of the youth illegally detained and tortured for alleged involvement with the blasts were ever mentioned in the FIR filed about the blasts.
Still many spent days and months before they could be released. With allegation of terrorism prominently reported by the media, their lives are in tatters with very bleak prospects for the future.
Full report of the investigation, after meeting 20 detainees, was submitted to the AP Minorities Commission by Advocate L Ravi Chander in October 2008. The report recommends that the Commission examine the records with the investigating agencies to find out how police failed to follow procedures when arresting and handling suspects. It also calls for “corrective action against erring police officers.”
Mr. Ravi Chander, who is a practicing advocate in the Andhra Pradesh High Court, also recommended that affected youths, all have been released since, and their families be rehabilitated and a committee be set up to supervise arrests.
The final report stands by its interim report, which put the state government in a very embarrassing position. The report charged the police with anti-Muslim bias. It found evidence of deliberate targeting, torture, and victimization of Muslim youth.
Action and inaction
The role of AP State Minorities Commission has been puzzling. Though it had ordered the investigation, it failed to officially submit the final report to the state government. When contacted by TwoCircles.net, Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Yusuf Quraishi refused to talk on this subject on the phone.
Though Hyderabad is seeing an interesting battle for the Lok Sabha seat with incumbent MP Asaduddin Owaisi and Siasat’s editor Zahid Ali Khan fighting it out, the police torture issue and Ravi Chander report is not the topic of the debate.
Some of the Muslim organizations seem to be so much out of the loop that they are not even aware of this damaging report out there. United Muslim Forum, comprising of several Muslim religious and social organization of Andhra Pradesh, made the demand from all the political parties that a judicial commission should be constituted to inquire the blasts and torture by the police, little realizing that this has already be done and government should be forced to act on the Ravi Chander report.
The news about the report did move the Hyderabadis living overseas and prompted Indian Muslim Council (IMC-USA) to organize a week-long signature campaign. Thousands of Indian Muslims from eight states of the United States signed petitions, called, faxed, and emailed various Indian leaders and officials demanding implementation of the recommendations of the Ravi Chander report.
TwoCircles.net is releasing the full report in the public interest so a debate can take place on it, victims rehabilitated, and guilty police officers investigated.
Download the full report here in pdf format:
Kashif-ul-Huda, TwoCircles.net, 9 April 2009