According to a newspaper report on May 3, a youth from Kanpur has accused the Anti-Terrorist Squad and National Investigation Agency officers of torturing him, trying to falsely implicate him in terrorism cases and link him to a suspected terrorist who was killed in an “encounter” during the Uttar Pradesh elections earlier this year.
Mohammad Atif, a 26 year old embroidery factory worker has written to the Chief Justice of India, the Union home minister and the director-general of Uttar Pradesh police alleging that the two investigative agencies of the state were summoning him to their offices every alternate day, thrashing him and mounting pressure on him to “own up to” involvement in terrorist activities along with Mohammad Saifullah, the suspected terrorist shot dead by the ATS a day before the last phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh in March.
It may be recalled that during that 11 hour “encounter”, the police had given hourly media briefings on TV, declaring the person they killed to be dreaded terrorist, even before any investigations were carried out.
At a press conference in Lucknow, Atif accused the ATS and the NIA of making him sign on blank papers. “The agencies have also taken my Facebook password. I am receiving phone calls from dubious persons from Calcutta and Chennai. ATS and NIA sleuths call me in the middle of the night and ask me to go to their office in Lucknow at 9:30 in the morning. They interrogate me frequently and threaten to kill my wife and newborn daughter if I didn’t say I had links with Saifullah,” alleged Atif.
This is another example of the state and its agencies intimidating and terrorising people of the Muslim community and dividing people along communal lines. Innocent Muslim youth in various parts of the country are systematically targeted, picked up from their homes or places of work, jailed, tortured and killed in fake “encounters”, and declared to be “dreaded terrorists” by the state and its police and investigating agencies. In many cases, such youth have been jailed for 10-20 years without trial, and then found to be innocent of any of the crimes that were attributed to them and released. By then they have lost the best years of their life and are physically and mentally devastated.
Terrorising innocent people by the state and its investigating agencies, in the name of “fighting terror” needs to be exposed and condemned.