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Jaipur blasts: Muslim groups sceptical over arrests

Mohammed Iqbal

JAIPUR: Muslim groups in Rajasthan on Wednesday expressed scepticism over the claim of the State police of having cracked the May 13 Jaipur serial blasts case. They said the investigation followed a “predetermined pattern” and failed to win the people’s confidence.

The Rajasthan Muslim Forum — an apex body of Muslim groups — said the arrestsof prime suspect Shahbaz Hussain from Lucknow and seven alleged conspirators from Kota were based on the confessions made by those held in neighbouring Gujarat. The arrests would fail to stand judicial scrutiny during the trial, it said.

Muslim Forum convener Qari Moinuddin said Director-General of Police K.S. Bains admitted that the police were yet to build a prima facie evidence against the accused. “In this scenario, it is preposterous for the State police to make tall claims of having unearthed the roots of the conspiracy. The case against all the suspects is very week.”

Mr. Moinuddin said there was resentment in Lucknow against Shahbaz’s arrest — as evident by a demonstration held in the city on Wednesday — and the Special Investigation Team had no solid material, except the arrest warrant, to justify his detention.

Similarly, the case against the seven accused belonging to Kota — who were already in the SIT’s detention for several days — was slapped merely on the basis of their acquaintance with Sajid Mansuri who, the Gujarat police say, masterminded the Ahmedabad and Jaipur blasts. “Merely knowing a person does not make anyone a criminal. None of them had any role in carrying out the blasts,” said Mr. Moinuddin.

The accused include an elderly physician, Ishaq Qureshi, and his son, Taufeeq, who is a Unani medicine student in Jaipur. The Muslim Forum felt that targeting professionals like them was a ploy of the police to give credence to its speculation of educated Muslims joining the terror net.

Jamat-e-Islami Hind State president and the Forum’s member Mohammed Salim alleged the police had cooked up the cases to contain the growing resentment against indiscriminate arrests and illegal detention of Muslim youths. “On the pretext of investigation, Muslims were harassed and their constitutional rights were violated by their prolonged detention and torture in custody.”

Mr. Salim said that while the medical students released after detention were finding it difficult to continue their studies, electronics engineer Rashid Hussain and government physician Amanullah Jamali had lost their jobs.

Civil rights groups will stage a demonstration opposite the Collectorate here on Thursday in protest against the harassment of innocent people during investigations. Mr. Salim said the Muslim youths were summoned to police stations, detained beyond 24 hours and their families were not informed about their whereabouts.

“The powerful blast in Kanpur on Sunday, in which two Bajrang Dal activists were killed while making bombs, is a clear testimony to the fact that communal forces are involved in the acts of terror in the country. It is strange that the police are not yet ready to look beyond the prism of SIMI [Students Islamic Movement of India],” said Mr. Salim.

Abdul Latif of the All-India Milli Council said that while empirical pieces of evidence had emerged showing clearly the role of the Bajrang Dal and other Hindutva outfits in the incidents at Malegaon, Nanded, Thane and Kanpur, the State DGP had made a “ridiculous claim” of SIMI organising training camps in the Kota region.

The Muslim Forum also denounced a decision of the Rajasthan High Court Bar Association not to represent any accused in the blasts case in the court and described it as a breach of professional ethics of lawyers.

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