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Human Rights

Case is indicative of corruption in lower courts, logjam in judiciary

July 20, 2014

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has lauded the landmark Supreme Court judgment acquitting the 11 innocent people accused of having carried out the bomb blasts in Surat (Gujarat) in 1993, while decrying the miscarriage of justice that led to their convictions by the lower courts in Gujarat.

The 11 people, including former Congress minister Mohammed Surti had been convicted in Gujarat under the draconian Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (TADA) Act, and sentenced to jail terms ranging from 10 to 20 years. The real masterminds behind the two Surat blasts, that led to the death of a school girl and injury of several others, continue to remain at large.

The unravelling of the Surat case comes on the heels of the judgement in the Akshardham case, in which the Supreme Court acquitted all six accused, including three that had been sentenced to death by the Gujarat High Court. In the case of the Akshardham accused, justice was served after they had spent 10 years of their lives in prison, for a crime they had not committed.

“The Surat and the Akshardham acquittals are indicative of the misery that befalls Muslims that fall prey to a repressive law enforcement and corrupt state courts. Often they have to spend 10 to 20 years in prison, while the case winds its way through the maze of the Indian judiciary, before having their innocence finally upheld by the apex court,” said Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “In the case of Khalid Mujahid and Mohammed Qateel, even the Supreme Court was unable to save them. Their lives were cruelly snuffed out, while in police custody or serving time in prison,” added Mr. Khan.

At the recent Congressional hearing on “The Plight of Religious Minorities in India,” held on April 4th 2014, organizations with international credibility, such as Human Rights Watch, The Advocates for Human Rights and the USCIRF testified to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on the worsening situation of minorities in regards to human rights and religious freedom.

A major reason why perpetrators of violence against religious minorities enjoy impunity from prosecution is due to the logjam in the Indian judicial system. According to the statement made by Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the Indian Parliament, India has the largest backlog of cases in the world. There are 30 million cases pending in Indian courts, 4 million of which are pending in high courts and 65,000 in the Federal Supreme Court itself. It takes an average of 10 years to adjudicate a case in a court. Once a verdict is given in the lower court, the appeal process to the Supreme Court can take several decades. This makes any remedies to human rights violations such as judicial redress impractical. After 30 years, cases against perpetrators of the 1984 mass killings are still getting adjudicated. With some exceptions, most cases stemming from the 2002 anti-Muslim pogroms in Gujarat have met the same fate. In both cases, the masterminds of the pogroms continue to roam free.

IAMC has called on the civil society institutions to join hands and struggle for reform in both the police and judiciary, in order to uphold Constitutional guarantees of human rights and justice for all, regardless of caste, creed, gender, or ethnic origin.

Indian-American Muslim Council (formerly Indian Muslim Council-USA) is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 13 chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our new website at: http://www.iamc.com/

 

CONTACT:
Ishaq Syed
phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
email: info@iamc.com
address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES

1. Supreme Court Rescues Innocents Jailed For 1993 Surat Blasts Case, Acquits All 11
http://www.thecitizen.in/supreme-court-rescues-innocents-jailed-for-1993-surat-blasts-case-acquits-all-11/

2. Setback for Gujarat govt, SC acquits all accused in 1993 Surat blast cases
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/setback-for-gujarat-govt-sc-acquits-all-accused-in-1993-surat-blast-cases/

3. India has world’s largest backlog of court cases: PM
http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/india-has-world-s-largest-backlog-of-court-cases-pm-7137

4. INDIA: Remedies to human rights violations a mirage, Asia Human Rights Commission, Feb 27, 2014
http://www.humanrights.asia/news/alrc-news/human-rights-council/hrc25/ALRC-CWS-25-14-2014

5. The Plight of Religious Minorities in India, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Hearing, FRIDAY, APRIL 04, 2014, 10:30 AM
http://tlhrc.house.gov/hearing_notice.asp?id=1259

6. ANHAD Report – What It Means to be a Muslim in India Today
http://www.anhadin.net/article122.html

7. Khalid Muhahid – From Abduction to Custodial Killing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cegWbjkCi0

8. Framed, Damned, Acquitted – Dossiers of a Very Special Cell
http://www.jamiajournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/JTSA-Report-Framed-Damned-and-Acquitted-Dossiers-of-a-Very-Special-Cell.pdf

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Indian American Muslim Council ( http://www.iamc.com) an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has called on people of all faiths to come together on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, to renew their commitment to the UN Declaration of Human Rights [1] and to work towards a world where our common humanity is the basis for mutual coexistence and co-operation.

Coming few days after the demise of legendary anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela and the 21st anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid in India, it would be most apt to remember Mandela’s words:

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”  

As Indian Americans, the International Human Rights Day is also an occasion for profound introspection on some of the articles of the UN Declaration which are also enshrined in the Constitution of India.  Article 3 of the Declaration upholds the right of every human being to life, liberty and security of person.  The same rights are echoed in the preamble to the Constitution of India, which seeks to secure for all citizens, justice, liberty and equality. Article 21 of India’s Constitution declares that no deprivation of life and liberty is permitted except according to procedures established by law.

 

Unfortunately, increasing sectarian violence in India, marked by targeted killings of religious minorities and disadvantaged groups and accompanied by brutal forms of sexual violence against women are a stark reminder that the struggle to secure the life and liberty for all of India’s citizens is as relevant and urgent as ever. The horrific violence in Muzaffarnagar earlier this year, that led to the killing of over 60 people and the mass displacement of over 50,000 from their homes and ancestral lands shows that the horrors of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the 2002 Gujarat pogrom,  can and will be repeated, unless we struggle against the hate ideologies that engender such violence. On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, IAMC has released a video titled ” Muzaffarnagar Bleeds: A Reenactment of Gujarat Riots of 2002, [2]” that exposes how the mass violence in Muzaffarnagar was engineered, and the human suffering it has wrought. The victims of Muzaffarnagar continue to suffer, due to the political chicanery and the apathy of those in positions of power. The International Human Rights Day is also a time to commemorate the struggle of the Dalit community and other disadvantaged groups in India, that have endured discrimination and bias for centuries.

“In this backdrop, the virulent opposition to House Resolution H.Res. 417 is a demonstration of the powerful forces arrayed against a change in the status quo, ” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “The resolution praises India’s ‘rich religious diversity and commitment to tolerance and equality,’ while raising concerns over the erosion of religious freedom. It is inspiring to see that the mere introduction of a resolution seeking to safeguard human rights and religious freedom has raised the hackles of those who wish to impose their narrow, sectarian vision over India,” added Mr. Khan [3] [4].

 

Terror attacks, such as the ones in Malegaon (2006 and 2008) and on Samjhauta Express (2007) and random bomb blasts continue to claim the lives of innocent people while also resulting in continued suffering for countless families whose loved ones are detained on flimsy grounds. Article 9 of the UN Declaration pronounces that none shall be “subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile,” a right that continues to be violated in India through the illegal detention of youth from the minorities [5], often on trumped-up charges of terror. The abduction and custodial death of Khalid Mujahid exemplifies the suffering of hundreds of such youth [6] [7].

 

Over six decades after India gained Independence, millions continue to struggle for the right guaranteed by Article 26 of the UN Declaration which says: “Everyone has the right to education,” and “Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality…” and shall ” promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups.” In this context the manipulation of text books to indoctrinate young minds with an inaccurate and distorted version of India’s history is deeply alarming [8] [9].

 

IAMC has called on all those struggling to uphold human rights and justice for all, regardless of caste, creed, gender, or ethnic origin,  to join hands in the struggle to save the soul of India, and to renew their commitment to uphold secularism in our society.

 

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 13 chapters across the nation.

 

For more information please visit our new website at www.iamc.com

Contact:
Indian American Muslim Council
Ishaq Syed

Phone: (800) 839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com

Address:    
6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295
Morton Grove, IL 60053
phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270

References:
Text of the UN Declaration of Human Rights
http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/
Muzaffarnagar Bleeds: A Reenactment of Gujarat Riots of 2002
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUNdgd3We98
Hindu American Foundation reveals its supremacist ideology through smear campaign
http://www.coalitionagainstgenocide.org/press/cag.pr.06dec2013.php
ANHAD Report – What It Means to be a Muslim in India Today
http://www.anhadin.net/article122.html
Khalid Muhahid – From Abduction to Custodial Killing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cegWbjkCi0
In the Name of History – Examples from Hindutva inspired school textbooks in India
http://www.sacw.net/HateEducation/Teesta.html
Muslims masquerade as Hindus for India job

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Custodial death of Khalid Mujahid condemned by Indian Americans as brazen police atrocity

May 22, 2013

Sign the Petition   Indian American Muslim Council (http://iamc.com/) an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos today denounced and strongly condemned the custodial death of Khalid Mujahid, at the hands of the Uttar Pradesh state police. IAMC also condemned the brutal attack on Mr. Mujahid’s counsel, Advocate Mohammed Salim, and the [...]

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Dr. Angana Chatterji’s testimony at the Congressional Hearing organized by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

March 22, 2012

Re.: Hearing on Religious Minorities in India March 21, 2012 The following is the testimony given by Dr. Angana Chatterji at the US Congressional Hearing organized by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on March 21, 2012. Representative Pitts, I thank you and the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for honoring me with an invitation [...]

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Brunch Meeting With Manisha Sethi

September 13, 2011

Extra-judicial Encounters! Instant Justice by Police and Sensational Trial by Media.   When: Saturday, Sep 17th, 2011 Time: 10:00 am- 12:30 pm Where: Islamic Society of Baltimore 6631 Johnnycake Rd Baltimore, MD 21244 RSVP info@iamc.com Dr. Manisha Sethi is the President of Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association (JTSA) and an Asst. Professor at the Centre for [...]

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IAMC Deplores Dr Binayak Sen’s conviction

December 27, 2010

December 27, 2010 Indian American Muslim Council deplores the verdict of life imprisonment handed to Dr. Binayak Sen, and expresses alarm at the judicial process which resulted in his conviction. Dr. Sen, considered as one of the most prominent Human Rights activist in India, was falsely implicated on the basis of evidence allegedly planted by [...]

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IMC Chicago coordinates lecture with Muslim Bar Assocition of Chicago

May 20, 2010

Indian human rights lawyer Mr. Shafeeq Rehman Mahajir spoke to members of the Muslim Bar Association of Chicago at a lunch meeting on Monday, April 19, 2010. Mr. Mahajir spoke to the American Muslim legal community about the rule of law in India and the struggle to safeguard a secular democratic society in a multi-religious [...]

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Leading Human Rights Activist Cautions Capitol Hill Policy Briefing: ‘Idea of India Is Being Attacked’

May 16, 2003

May 17, 2003. Washington D.C. At a policy briefing this morning on Capitol Hill, Mr. Harsh Mander spoke about setbacks and challenges facing India, the world’s largest democracy.

Mr. Mander is the Country Director for Action Aid India, a New Delhi based nonprofit organization. His book Unheard Voices was widely praised for its account of neglected groups in India. He is on a short speaking tour of the US.

The event was organized by the Indian Muslim Council-USA, a Washington based advocacy group working towards safeguarding India’s pluralistic ethos, and was attended by policy makers, Congressional staff members, and leading community activists. Karen Finkler, staff member for Congressman Joe Pitts, welcomed the guests and spoke about the importance of engaging US elected officials on human rights concerns in India.

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