The government on Tuesday stated that terrorism has no colour or religion and if any case of prolonged incarceration of any individual belonging to any community without any charge sheet against him is brought to light, it will take appropriate action to ensure justice.
The issue was raised by Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) in Lok Sabha during the Question Hour who alleged that there were many youths from the Muslim community who were languishing in jails for 10-15 years. A section of them were released as they were found to be innocent, he said.
In his reply, Minister of State for Home Affairs R P N Singh said, "Law does not discriminate on basis of colour or religion." It is extremely unfortunate if some youths were in jail without any charge sheet against them, he said.
Singh assured the House that if specific cases were brought to the notice of the government it would take appropriate action. He denied that no relief and rehabilitation had been provided to those found innocent after being kept in jails for long.
Several members alleged that the government's claims were wrong and Muslim youths had been in jails for years without any charge sheet against them. Acharia wanted to know if the government had taken any action against investigating agencies which had "falsely implicated" innocent youths from the minority community.
The minister said that Section 211 of IPC gave a person the right to seek compensation in case he had been falsely implicated in a case. He said under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act if a charge sheet is not filed within 180 days against an arrested person, he is entitled to bail.
Yashwant Sinha (BJP) asked as to how many of those arrested in criminal cases were from other religions. He also referred to comments made by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and his predecessor P Chidambaram.
The minister said the National Investigation Agency, established in 2009, is handling 52 cases of terrorism and extremism.
Chargesheets have been filed in 29 cases and 334 persons arrested so far by the agency, he said.
"In one of the cases assigned to the NIA- the Malegaon bomb blast case of 2006- thirteen persons were chargesheeted by the state police, out of which 9 were arrested and 4 are absconding," Singh said, adding that no evidence had been found against the 9 arrested and they were released on bail.
"Acquittal from charges cannot be considered to prove that innocent civilians are being wrongly framed," he said.
Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP) claimed that in cases where no witness had come forward and no charge sheet had been filed, the Uttar Pradesh government had promptly released those arrested.
Defending the central government, Singh said, "Bail is a judicial process. Bail is given by a court."
Some of the members mentioned specific cases and claimed that individuals booked were innocent but still they were languishing in jails.
Saugata Ray (TMC) alleged that UAPA is a draconian Act just as TADA was earlier and it is being misused.
He asked the government about the Batla House encounter case, saying even a Congress general secretary had visited the village of those allegedly involved in the case.
The minister said, "The case has been settled by the courts. No strictures were passed by the courts against the Delhi Police.... They (courts) have said it was not a false encounter."
Ray accused the government of speaking in two voices.
Lalu Prasad (RJD) maintained that UAPA is a more dangerous law than POTA.
The minister also informed the House that the government does not maintain data like religion of the individuals under arrest.
Members demanded a separate discussion on the issue in the House and Speaker Meira Kumar said she was open to the suggestion and MPs should give a notice for it.