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Shahid Azmi (1977-2010)

Shahid Azmi is no more. He led a turbulent and rebellious life. When he was in his mid-teens, he saw his co-religionist slaughtered in the 1992-93 anti-Muslim carnage in Mumbai. He left Mumbai, went to Kashmir and joined the militants there, but did not last very long over there and soon returned home to his family. Upon his return to Mumbai, he was falsely i mplicated, arrested for the attempted assassination of a political leader, prosecuted, convicted and sent to Tihar jail, where he spent the remaining part of his teenage years. In appeal, the Supreme Court acquitted Shahid. When he was in jail, he pursued his studies with the a ctive encouragement and assistance of Kiran Bedi. After his release from Tihar, he began practising law in Mumbai, took up many criminal cases and raised important legal issues before the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court. What most distressed him, and formed a bulk of his professional work, was the way in which the Muslim youth were targeted by the state and falsely implicated in criminal cases, as he was as a boy of 15 years. Shahid was passionate about justice, and used the courts to seek redress of injustices of any kind. This quest for justice led him to join the Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights, Mumbai and the Indian Association of People’s Lawyers, of which he was an a ctive member.

Some sinister and evil process has e nded his life. There are conspiracies and plots behind his murder. There must be a j udicial inquiry into the murder of Shahid Azmi and the circumstances which led to his assassination, and the guilty be brought to justice. We mourn the death of our colleague and friend.

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