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Rediff.com  » News » Mecca Masjid blast: Rs 3 lakh compensation for acquitted youths

Mecca Masjid blast: Rs 3 lakh compensation for acquitted youths

January 05, 2012 19:53 IST
Almost five years after they were arrested, tortured and falsely implicated in terror-related cases, Rayees Ahmad, Dr Ibrahim Junaid and 14 other youths from Hyderabad will get compensation from the same government machinery which had labelled him as "anti-national".

At a formal official function to be held on Friday in Jubilee Hall, the Minister for Minority Welfare Syed Mohammed Ahamadullah will hand over a cheque of Rs 3 lakh to each of the 16 youths acquitted by the courts.

Present along with them will be their parents and other family members who also had a harrowing time, as their wards were stigmatised by the police and the media who projected them as the main culprits in the Mecca Masjid blast.

Apart from these 16 youths, the minister will also give a cheque of Rs 20,000 each to the 50 youths who were also taken in to custody by the Hyderabad police and tortured. But they were released and no cases were booked against them. The minister will also present the youth a certificate of good character so they don't face any more social boycott or harassment in the society or discrimination while securing jobs.

Originally, the government had decided to pay compensation of Rs 3 lakh each to 20 youths but four of them were still facing cases in the court. Officials said they will get the compensation after the cases come to an end.

Paying compensation was one of the several major recommendations made by the National Commission of Minorities to the state government to undo the injustices done to these youths. However, the government is yet to act upon the other important recommendations like taking action against the police officials and men responsible for victimising the innocent youths and recovering the amount of compensation from these officials.

It is first time in the country that a state government has openly admitted wrong doing by the police in implicating the Muslim youths in terror cases.

Welcoming the government's decision to pay compensation, Syed Rayess Ahmad one of the victims said that it will give some solace to him. "But this is no compensation for all the physical and mental torture me and many others have undergone. We will be happy only when the guilty officials were punished".

The 16 youths who will get the cheques of Rs 3 lakh each include Dr Syed Ibraheem Junaid, Mohamemd Abdul Sattar, Mohammed Abdul Kareen, Arshad Khan, Mohammed Naseeruddin, Mohammed Abdul Raheem, Syed Abdul Quader, Shaikh Mohammed Fareed, Abdul Wajed, Abdul Wasey, Mohammed Rayeesuddin , Mohammed Mustafa Ali, Mohammed Fasihuddin, Mohammed Shajeeuddin, Mohammed Suhail and Syed Abdul Kareem.

Soon after the blast in Mecca Masjid during Friday congregation in Hyderabad on May 18, 2007, the police had started linking the incident to Pakistan and Bangladesh-based terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, Hizbul Mujahideen and Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami. They started picking up local youths and accused them of helping the perpetrators. Nine peopled had died in the blast and another six were killed in the police firing outside mosque.

The police had also held Shahed Bilal, a fugitive from Hyderabad, for the incident. Later the Union Home Minister P Chidambram had said that all the leads in the case had gone cold as the main suspect Shahed was killed in Karachi, Pakistan in a shootout.

Only after the Central Bureau of Investigation started investigating the case the involvement of Hindu militants in the blasts in Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Dargah came to light. Presently, the National Investigations Agency is probing the blasts. Several Hindu extremists linked to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh have been arrested in the case. They include Devender Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Swamy Aseemanad and Bharat Lal.

Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad