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Dadri lynching not an accident: NCM


New Delhi: The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has said that the lynching of a Muslim man in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh was “not an accident” as claimed by many people but “pre-meditated planning”.

A three-member team of the NCM, headed by its chairman Naseem Ahmad, had visited the Bishada village near Dadri and interacted with family members of the victim, Mohammed Akhlaq, his neighbors, and the authorities concerned.

“The team feels that a large crowd appearing within minutes of an announcement from the temple’s loudspeaker and at a time when most villagers claimed they were asleep seems to point to some pre-meditated planning.

“The facts as reported to the NCM team point strongly that the whole episode was the result of a plan in which a sacred place like the temple was used for exhorting people of one community to attack a hapless family,” the NCM report said.

The commission, without taking any politician’s name, also dubbed as “disturbing” the comments made by politicians after September 28 incident.

The statements were made by union minister Mahesh Sharma and some other BJP leaders after the lynching of Mohammed Akhlaq over rumors that he consumed cow-meat.

The NCM report states that people were incited by spreading a rumor that a cow had been killed but the police responded instantly and did not allow the situation to escalate.

Family members of the deceased Akhlaq told the commission that there was no tension between them and other villagers before the incident.

“They claimed that the attack was sudden and vicious and that the men were particularly and brutally targeted. Women were also assaulted and injured. They were however all praise for the help provided by the administration,” the report said.

The NCM chairman said that providing security for Muslim families in the village at this time was paramount and “all efforts have to be made to expedite police investigation so that the guilty are brought to book quickly”.

He also emphasized that all assistance to the victim’s family has to be provided- be it legal, material or emotional.

Fifty-year-old Akhlaq was beaten to death and his 22-year-old son Danish was critically injured by a 200-strong mob on September 28 following rumors that the family had consumed and stored beef.

The incident sparked an outrage across the country.



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One Prisoner Dies every 5.5 Hours in Indian Jails, says Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) Report

Muslims and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes are always over-represented in the prison population

Representation image. Flickr

New Delhi, November 8, 2016: A human rights group on Tuesday said one prisoner dies every 5.5 hours in Indian jails and that there are three times more mentally ill and 61 percent more women prisoners in the country compared with the figures 15 years ago.

More than 60 percent of the inmates lodged in Indian jails are awaiting trial, a number less than only 17 countries in the world, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) said here.

The group released two of its reports — Looking into the Haze: A Study on Prison Monitoring in India and Circle of Justice: A National Report on Under Trial Review Committees on Prison Monitoring.

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The reports also said that the Muslims and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes are always over-represented in the prison population, up to two-thirds of the total, and that 70 per cent of the prisoners are either illiterates or under-matriculates.

Citing the latest National Crime Records Bureau report, the CHRI said India’s 1,401 jails held 419,623 prisoners as against their total capacity of 366,781.

The organisation said its analysis revealed that some state prisons housed twice the number of prisoners they could hold, and the number going up to 500 per cent occupancy rate.

The reports were released by Wajahat Habibullah, a former Chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities, followed by a discussion between representatives of the civil society and State Human Rights Commissions (SHRC).

Habibullah, pointing to the dire consequences of unreformed Indian prisons, said many minors arrested during outbreaks of violence in Jammu and Kashmir a decade ago had now emerged as leaders of the ongoing violence in the valley.

He said it was a probable outcome of their incarceration with “hardened criminals”, instead of being lodged in juvenile detention homes as should have happened as per the law.

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Professor Shamim Modi from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, spoke about her experience as an undertrial prisoner in Madhya Pradesh during her activist days in that state.

“In prison, you have to accept the fact that you are not human. They put you in (prison) to set you right,” Modi said. When she complained of rats biting her toes at night, she said, she was told not to expect hotel comforts in jail.

Shailesh Gandhi, former Information Commissioner at the Central Information Commission, pointed out to non-clearance of the huge backlog of pending cases, which, he said, added to the misery of undertrials, who are kept confined without trial.

“The elephant in the room is the judiciary whose accountability is never mentioned,” Gandhi said.

The CHRI said data from 26 states and Union Territories was gathered and analysed for the reports.

One of the states missing from the report was Madhya Pradesh, against which Modi had a few sharp words to say.

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“I know Madhya Pradesh won’t be there in the report. They blatantly tell you ‘we are not going to give you any data. Do whatever you can’,” she said.

John Dayal, a civil rights activist, raised doubts about the role of SHRCs and State Minorities Commissions vis-a-vis proper prison guidelines, calling them of “dubious character”.

“(Indian) Prison is a very porous institution. There are criminals with access to latest phones, but a majority of prisoners, Dalits and other poor, are left wanting for most basic amenities. And then there are Maoists, 95 per cent of whom are innocent. We need to work for them and against a political will which does not want things to change,” he said. (IANS)