There is an air of shock and dismay Dr Ibrahim Junaid’s home, ever since the Andhra Pradesh high court ordered the state government to recover Rs 3 lakh paid to him as compensation after he was falsely implicated in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blasts
Not that the Unani doctor was worried about money. He and his family, and many others like him, were worried that this new development will open the door of fresh harassment by the police.
“I am afraid that the police will come knocking on the door demanding we return the money,” he said. In fact, Junaid has received calls from many other victims of police atrocities whether they should all get together and returned the money to the government even before they ask.
A division bench of Andhra Pradesh high court has set aside the orders of the state government to pay compensation to the youth who were wrongly implicated in terror cases after the blast in Mecca Masjid on May 18, 2007.
National Minorities Commission made the recommendation for compensation after they were acquitted by the court and the Central bureau of Inbvestigation investigations revealed that the blast was handiwork of some Hindu terrorist organisations.
Junaid, Shujauddin, Karim, Mohammed Rayees and many others were among nearly 100 local Muslim youths who were picked up by the police after the blast and subjected to third degree torture. While most of them were released, 26 were booked in a conspiracy case.
“It is laughable to say that we were the accused of Mecca Masjid blast. Our names were linked to the blast in the media at police’s behest. But on paper and in court we were charged with conspiracy and possessing jihadi literature and even that was thrown out by the court,” said Junaid.
On the other hand, Mohammed Rayeesuddin, another victim of police torture and harassment was also depressed because he was not given the promised compensation of Rs 3 lakh in December 2011.
“They said it would be given, because my name figure in another case. It is a lie. My name figures in case of Gujarat police firing in Hyderabad as a witness. My friend was killed in the firing. They have made it an excuse to deny me the compensation. Now after the high court order I have lost the hope of ever getting this compensation.”
Rayeesuddin was working at a jewelry shop in 2007 when he was picked up by the police. After seven days of torture in a secret cell, his arrest was shown.
“They tortured me and many other youths like me demanding that we should confess our involvement in the blast,” Rayeesuddin said.
Though he was later release on bail and court also acquitted him, the stigma of terror charge stuck on him and he could never get a job again. It forced him to join his brother’s electrical shop in Malakpet.
But here also he face constant harassment as police and intelligence men keep visiting him. “The life could never become normal”, he said.
Recovering from initial shock, Junaid and many others like him were talking to lawyers exploring the possibility of appealing against the high court.
“This is all state government’s fault. I am not surprised that a lawyer who belongs to the BJP challenged compensation to us. But the Congress government has never shown any sincerity in countering his petition in the court,” he said.
The victims of the police atrocities were getting support from various quarters. Major SGM Quadri, who was instrumental in moving National Commissioner for Minorities to help these youths said that he will move the Supreme Court against the high court orders.
“I am in touch with the NCM Chairman Wajahat Habibullah and briefed him about the situation”, he said. The state government has also come under pressure to file an appeal in the Supreme Court.