The arrest of 5 youth in Hyderabad on charges of “terrorism”, on June 29, during the holy month of Ramzan, has left the community shocked and the families of the youth shattered. It is being alleged by the police that they are sympathizers of the ISIS. However, local residents have pointed out that such arrests are part of a regular pattern of police picking up youth on flimsy grounds and putting them behind bars for years, with no actual evidence to implicate them in any crime.
Ayub Ali Khan, a journalist from the area, pointed out that “Whenever there is a terror attack, the Hyderabadi Muslim is a vulnerable target.”
As is well known, following any bomb blast or suspected terrorist attack in any public place, the police and intelligence agencies regularly pick up youth without a shred of evidence, torture them and lock them up in jail, often for years together. In most such cases, as the charges against them could not be proved, the arrested youth have later been released, having lost many vital years of their lives and suffered much persecution and social ostracization.
The Indian state systematically targets people of the Muslim community, through the worst forms of confinement and torture, “encounter killings”, custodial deaths and disappearances. The monopoly capitalist controlled electronic media builds up a huge hysteria, spewing venom against Muslims and branding them as “terrorists” and “anti-nationals”. The worst kind of communal frenzy is sought to be whipped up, each time there is a hint of a bomb blast or terrorist attack.
In the first week of July the NIA arrested a 25 year old from West Bengal’s Burdwan railway station. On July 12, two men were arrested in Hyderabad, on charges of trying to organise terrorist attacks in that city. The media has been spreading the story that in Kerala, at least several people reported “missing” from the state are suspected to have gone to Syria to join ISIS. And on July 14, Maharashtra’s anti-terrorism squad arrested a 31-year-old on suspicion of being an ISIS recruit. These are but a few of the reported cases of people being arrested as “terrorists”. The jails of our country are filled with thousands of youth who have been locked up as “terrorists”, “separatists”, “maoists” etc.
In Hyderabad’s old city itself, following the 2007 Mecca Masjid blasts, police took hundreds of Muslim men into custody and named 21 in a charge sheet, keeping them in jail for 18 months. All were acquitted in 2009. The same year, police arrested more than 50 Muslim men from the old city after twin blasts at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat. But the charges against them could not be proved and they were subsequently released. Again, after the February 2013 bomb blasts at Dilsukhnagar, police and the NIA picked up local Muslim youth but released them later for want of evidence. In May this year, several persons arrested in connection with the Malegaon blasts in Maharashtra in 2006 were discharged as innocent after 10 years in jail.
Local residents are afraid that the youth arrested on June 29 may meet a similar fate.
Latif Mohammad Khan, president of the Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee, fighting against the targeting of Muslim youth, said “Earlier, police used to link these youth to outfits such as Students’ Islamic Movement of India, ISI, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Indian Mujahideen. Now, they take the IS name to arrest Muslim youth. This is atrocious,”. “I am sure police will not be able to establish cases but the youth may be in jail for four or five years. Who will give back their lost life?”
The Communist Ghadar party condemns the brutal state terrorism unleashed by the Indian state under the guise of “preventing terrorism”. Far from being an instrument to defend the people of our country from terrorism, this state is a terrorist state. We must wage the struggle against state terrorism with the perspective of establishing a new state in our country which will actually uphold human rights, defend the unity and solidarity of our people, and ensure prosperity and security for all.