It’s a big slap on biased police and security officials, says Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind chief Arshad Madani
ABDUL BARI MASOUD | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI — The Delhi Police Special Cell once again had to face embarrassment when a Delhi court on Tuesday absolved Bangalore-based well-known Islamic preacher Maulana Anzar Shah Qasmi of all terror charges. Qasmi was arrested by the Special Cell alleging that he had links to an “Al-Qaeda Indian Subcontinent module (AQIS)”.
While dismissing all the charges against 51-year-old Qasmi, the Patiala House District court directed that charges on the other three accused should be framed and they should be put on the trail.
While delivering the judgment, NIA special judge Siddhartha Sharma observed that the prosecution failed to produce any evidence against the accused (Maulana Anzar Shah), who had never visited Pakistan. Therefore, the court absolved him all the charges and freed him as innocent, he said. The judge also observed that from the speeches of Maulana Anzar Shah Qasmi, the court did not find any objectionable material that would have incited the youth or created social tension in the society.
Defence lawyer S M Khan argued before the court that his client Maulana Anzar Shah Qasmi has no connection with any terror groups or Al-Qaeda and the investigative team did not recover any objectionable things from his client. He further argued that Qasmi did not give any confessional statement to the police and the official witness, whose testimony was used against him, has also turned hostile.
The Special Cell had allegedly “cooked up” the story that “it had busted the AQIS module in Odisha in December 2015 that unearthed the link of Qasmi with the other accused Maulana Abdul Rahman, one of the persons arrested in the case for attempting to recruit people for the AQIS headed by Asim Umar”.
It had also alleged that Rahman’s brother Talha Rahman, an accused in the 2001 US consulate attack in Kolkata have spent several days with Qasmi in Bangalore just days prior to his arrest.
The Special Cell had arrested Maulana Anzar Shah Qasmi in January 2006 from the airport, when he had landed in Delhi from Bangalore. The Delhi Police had levelled several terror charges against him but the Patiala court dropped all the charges and ruled that no case can be filed against him. The police also dubbed him as a “polarising force among Muslims”, who used to give “rabid bayans” causing unease among security agencies.
However, the court directed that other accused can be booked under terror charges.
Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, which fought his case, hailed the court verdict terming it is a victory for truth and justice. JUH president Maulana Syed Arshad Madani said it is a big slap on the “biased and communal officers” who frame innocent Muslim youths in false terror charges. Coming down heavily on former Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Madani said it was Patil who had first launched the witch-hunt drive against Muslim youths in the name fighting terror that ruined the lives of hundreds of educated Muslim youth.
“While acquitting Qasmi, the court has made several serious observations against the investigative agencies and said that it should be an eye-opener for the government,” he added. Until and unless, the guilty police officers are booked and tried for framing innocent persons under terror laws, the police and investigative agencies will not deter from such actions as they feel impunity, Maulana Madani said.
Lauding the role of the judiciary, the JUH chief said the verdict would instil confidence in the minority community and enhance the credibility of the judiciary. He also expressed the hope that the other accused would too get absolved from the terror charges.
Maulana Gulzar Azmi, the chief of Jamiat’s legal cell, informed that the court has ordered to frame charges against Maulana Abdul Rehman, Mufti Abdul Samee and Mohammad Asif, who are the other accused in the case. After getting the copy of the judgment, the Jamiat will consult its legal team for the next course of action, Maulana Azmi said.