The First Additional Sessions Court in Hubballi, on Thursday acquitted all the seventeen terror suspects arrested by the Karnataka police in 2008 on charges of terrorism and criminal conspiracy, dismissing it as yet another fabricated case by the officials.
The 17 Muslim youths including 13 IT professionals and medical students were accused of being part of the outlawed Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and faced charges of ‘waging war against the country, sedition and manufacture and possession of huge amount of explosives’. The case ran for 7 years recording statements from 360 witnesses; but the youths were released following prosecution’s failure to prove the charges. The arrests of the youth were part of framing innocent Muslim men into fabricated cases using severe laws like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) by the officials for this purpose despite widespread objections. The case of Yahya Kammukutty is an instance. He was one of the 17 persons acquitted and others are still in jail facing charges in several cases. These youths are victims of the harsh laws and public awareness tainted with communal poison.
The police began hunting down the alleged SIMI men in 2008 after they were found using a motorcycle with fake number plate. The case was twisted into a terrorism and criminal conspiracy case by the police using the UAPA accusing the youth to be Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists who had their arms and explosives training in Pakistan. The father of one of the two men arrested in the motorcycle theft case, Haren Pandya, was convicted in a murder case which was dismissed by the Gujarat High Court in 2011 as fabricated and the convicts released. Yahya, an IT professional working in Bangalore was called by the police for inquiry and was arrested and charged with UAPA. Several others were also trapped by the Karnataka police as a result of an alleged larger conspiracy.
The so called Anti-terrorism laws in India like TADA, POTA and the UAPA, are not effective for curbing terrorism. One of the reasons is that the authorities use these black laws as a convenient weapon to trap innocents and not the real culprits. The Makka Masjid and Malegaon incidents are instances. The officials have always approached terrorist attacks with prejudice. These severe laws are often used to establish that a particular case have been solved or as a means to lash out racial hatred. It’s used to commit crime and evade the laws by the authorities. It’s not the first time the UAPA charged cases have been proved false.
The officials committing the crime are never punished for their wrong doings. But it’s the framed victims who have to bear the brunt of such delinquencies. False evidences, extended list of witnesses and prolonging the case compounds the denial of justice and the victims lose the precious years of their life. It’s the government’s responsibility to ensure a reasonable compensation and rehabilitation for the victims. A thorough judicial inquiry should be carried out on all such cases and truth should be brought to light. Legal actions must also be taken against the police officers behind the conspiracy. The draconian laws like UAPA violate all the fundamental and human rights of the individuals and therefore should be repealed.