Torture trails in Uttar Pradesh

By Humra Quraishi. Dated: 5/22/2013 10:35:21 PM

We seem to be overlooking what's been happening in the State of Uttar Pradesh. Sheer anarchy and killings. This week's killing of Khalid Mujahid, by the Uttar Pradesh cops has come as a shocker. He was falsely implicated, arrested under one of those terror charges. In fact, even proven innocent, but before he could be released from that caged stage, he was killed. And few hours later the lawyers defending him were targeted and attacked by Samajwadi Party workers along with Hindutva brigades. All this under the watchful eyes of the UP Police. Mind you, this is not just one of those rare cases, but an ongoing pattern, a series of such barbaric killings on in Uttar Pradesh.
And chief minister Akhilesh Yadav seems no good at camouflaging, throwing shoddy cover-ups. Even in this murder of Khalid Mujahid by his own cops. Instead of dismissing or kicking away those killer cops, he threw up a well guarded statement that Khalid Mujahid died due to illness. If only chief minister Akhilesh yadav had placed his spectacles on his nose, and taken out a couple of minutes to see or gaze at those photographs of the murdered Khalid Mujahid.. Those cut marks and gaping wounds, blood on the very face and neck and head of Khalid Mujahid, tell tales of torture and abuse and much more.
Perhaps, like the rest of the political creatures, Akhilesh Yadav has become thick - skinned and doesn't give a damn. Not bothered of what we think of him or of his poor governing tactics, where cops are turning killers.
In fact, the minute he threw away that bicycle - which he'd used whilst going begging for votes - and jumped into that big -bodied vehicle taking him towards the chief minister's seat, it was an indicator that the man's changed. Downgraded himself by hopping from the simple bicycle, into that gaudy four -wheeler !
And what explanation will he give about his party goons together with the other political goons attacking lawyers defending hapless prisoners who sit languishing in the jails of Uttar Pradesh.
I have seen those photographs of Khalid Mujahid's dead form and his lawyers' injured foreheads and faces, with blood trickling out …Sheer anarchy is on and if the chief minister pays little head to this, there could be further turbulence.
Though I had met scholar - academic Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer several times in New Delhi and also in Srinagar, but had met him just once in Mumbai. In fact, in all my life I have been just once to Mumbai and was determined to meet him during that visit.. This was in the winter of 2006 -January 2006. And from Colaba, as I'd reached Asghar Ali Engineer 's Santa Cruz office it was lunch time. We spoke over lunch. He told me that the lunch was home cooked, prepared by his daughter - in -law who is a Maharashtrain. It was a simple spread. No, none of the proverbial qormas or kababs or biryani coming forth. Instead, two plain rotis, curd -curry, aloo gobhi subzi and some khichri.
And he spoke on some of the present day realities - "Today there are two important issues - the government has to prioritize justice and security. I must emphasis that no Muslim group or individual wants to take revenge even after the Gujarat pogrom. I have been talking to people and everyone realizes and knows that confrontation policies do not work, only healthy co- existence does …I have been going to Gujarat and the talking to the Muslims. And have been saying all that they want is security, so that they can live in peace and that justice be given. Yes, they' re worried about their lives, livelihood, children..."
He'd also said, "Also, our focus should be on how to clear those myths about Muslims. I'm trying my best to clear those myths about Muslims, by holding workshops for the police, for college and school students. It's through dialogue many misconceptions about Muslims can be cleared, ought to be cleared."
He had some done excellent research on the communal riots and that afternoon as he detailed and traced the very history and potential of communal politics; it seemed more apparent that it had peaked during the aftermath of the Babri Masjid.
He was one of those men who spoke out with facts and spoke out in a calm and gentle way and with that he could reach out to the masses. I had heard him at several interactive meets and his rationale held sway. He could argue like a gentleman and never lost his cool or raised his voice. He was a scholar and a gentleman.
With focus on Sanjay Dutt, I have been reading this essay by Khushwant Singh on Nargis Dutt. Quoting Khushwant from this essay:-
" Nargis Dutt was introduced to me through the then editor of Femina, Gulshan Ewing. I'd seen her film Mother India …I think when she met me when they - the Dutts- were not doing too well and she had almost retired from films. She told me that two of her children were studying at the Sanawar School, not far from my home in Kasauli and with that she asked ifshe could stay at my Kasauli cottage during the Sanawar Founders' week.. With that I'd quipped - ' Only one condition and the condition is that I have your permission to tell everyone that Nargis slept in my bed!'
She had a great sense of humour and laughed heartily hearing this. And years later, when we were both nominated to the Rajya Sabha and given seats next to each other and whenever anyone tried to introduce us, she would say - 'You don't have to introduce us. I have slept in his bed !'
…One thing that intrigued me was her (Nargis Dutt's) faith. Was she a Muslim or Hindu or both or nothing? She wore a bindi on her forehead, married a Brahmin, gave her children Hindu names and was often seen at Swami Muktanand's ashram at Ganeshpuri. Nevertheless she was buried with Muslim rites in a Muslim graveyard with her husband reciting the fateha. I can't think of any Indian family which better exemplified the principle of Sarva Dharma Samabhav."
Whenever tall claims are made by certain politicians inching their way towards New Delhi, those words of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya - the patron saint of Delhi - hold out, 'Hinooz Dilli Door Ast' (Delhi is a long way away).
*(Humra Quraishi is a freelance columnist based in Delhi and is currently a visiting Professor in the Academy of Third World Studies in Jamia Milia University).



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