ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Murder of Qateel Siddiqui

It is extremely surprising that Qateel Siddiqui, one of the main suspects in the German Bakery case, was killed in the high security cell of Yerwada Jail. Qateel was under the custody of the ­Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) since 3 May after being handed over by the Delhi Police. The Delhi Police Special Cell had arrested him on 22 November 2011. His remand was to get over the day he was found murdered in the jail. The police/jail administration have attributed his killing to some dispute with fellow inmates. Given that he was a high security prisoner accused and wanted in bomb blast cases, this story of his murder by two jail inmates seems highly implausible and fabricated.

That there have been and are many cases of Muslim youth being falsely framed in terrorist cases cannot be ignored, the latest case being of Fasih Mehmood whose whereabouts are not known since 13 May when he was allegedly taken away by Indian intelligence agencies in the presence of the Saudi police from his home in Jubail, Saudi Arabia. The Maha­rashtra ATS is known for its notoriety in forging cases and implicating youth from the minority community. Qateel’s murder in custody raises many serious questions about the functioning of the ATS and the vulnerability of political prisoners in custody. In such cases, there is invariably a chain of long periods of detention without being charged which is allowed by laws like UAPA, of multiple cases and shifting remand from one police agency to another, the threat of violence within the jail (torture/violence by other inmates) becomes much greater for those accused of terrorist or unlawful activity. The chances of justice for them and for those implicated by their “confessions” are slim.

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