NEW DELHI (TIP): Union minority affairs minister Rahman Khan wants the government to form an allpowerful taskforce to monitor and review terror cases against Muslims, arguing that it is needed to ensure justice for “innocent Muslim youth” languishing in jails after being framed in terror cases. Khan cited the example of the UK which, he said, has formed a task force under Prime Minister David Cameron to ensure there are no excesses in the crackdown on terror.
“It should be the highest body with powers to review terror cases,” he told TOI, adding it would monitor the progress of cases to sift genuine ones from the trumped up cases. “I am finalizing the proposal and will soon write to the PM and Congress president Sonia Gandhi,” Khan said. Flagging the urgent need for supervision, Khan said many Muslim youth were languishing in jails for extended periods without chargesheets.
“The existence of the panel will deter police from indiscriminate arrests in terror cases while ensuring that those arrested do get justice,” he said. The minister’s push for the allpowerful panel comes in the backdrop of increasing evidence that Muslim youngsters have generally been at the receiving end of police crackdown. The failure of the cops to nail several terror cases and prolonged incarceration of the accused have led to charges of religious persecution.
Khan’s suggestion — he is in the process of finalizing the details — could lead to a push for the PM to head the panel so that the oversight mechanism gets the required political heft. However, it would test Congress’s appetite for bold moves in the run-up to the 2014 campaign, given that BJP will seize upon it to accuse UPA of being “soft on terror” and minority “appeasement”.
Khan said his proposal emanated from complaints his ministry had been received from organizations and parents of terror detainees on a regular basis. “On a visit to London, I raised terror attacks with the UK minister for communities. He explained to me about a task force formed under the PM that comprises various ministers. It is a sort of cabinet subcommittee to review terror cases,” he said. Khan said it was high time the Centre take a close look at terror cases.
“If people are acquitted after prolonged detention, where do they go for justice? Especially, if they are not compensated? The long years in jail disrupt lives of detainees,” he said. The issue of terror detainees, also raised in UPA coordination committee, has been mired in Centre’s lack of jurisdiction on states.