More than four years after they were "falsely implicated" in criminal cases in the aftermath of the bomb blast in Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad, 70 Muslim youth will now get a sum of Rs 70 lakh from the Andhra Pradesh government as "compensation" in line with the recommendations of the National Commission for Minorities.
The Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, an ally of the ruling Congress which stood by the government against the no- confidence motion in the Andhra Pradesh assembly, succeeded in its prolonged efforts and made Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy honour the promise he made in the House in December last.
The chief minister, who enjoys good rapport with top MIM leaders Asaduddin and Akbaruddin Owaisi, announced during a government programme in the Old City on February 2 his year that the cases registered against Muslim youths after the
Mecca Masjid blast would be withdrawn and a compensation package given for their rehabilitation.
National Minorities Commission chief Wajahat Habibullah had asked the state government in August to implement the commission's recommendations and pay the compensation by deducting the amount from the salaries of policemen who were responsible for implicating the youths in criminal cases.
Accordingly, the Minorities Welfare Department of the state government now issued an order according administrative sanction for a sum of Rs 70 lakh "towards expenditure to be incurred in connection with Confidence Building Measures and compensation" for 20 cases affected in Mecca Masjid bomb blasts in 2007.
Of the 70 youths, 20 will get Rs 3 lakh each while the rest will get Rs 20,000 each, according to official sources.
"The Hyderabad police booked a record 38 cases and picked up as many as 107 Muslim youth, mostly from poor families, kept them in illegal custody at different police stations and tortured them for days in a bid to force them to own up the bomb blast at the mosque," MIM floor leader in the assembly,
Akbaruddin Owaisi pointed out.
Akbaruddin said that 410 youths, including 150 students, were facing criminal cases in connection with the communal riots in the old city and also in the aftermath of the Mecca Masjid blasts.
"A sum of Rs 42 lakh has been spent to secure bail for 220 of them. The future of these hapless youths is at stake and the government should immediately withdraw the cases against them," Akbaruddin said.