New Delhi: Protesting "targeting and persecution" of several Muslim youths in terror-related cases, CPI(M) on Saturday demanded compensation and rehabilitation of the victims and action against those responsible for harassing the innocent.
A CPI(M) delegation, led by General Secretary Prakash Karat, met President Pranab Mukherjee and submitted a memorandum detailing several cases in which charges against many were withdrawn and the youths finally acquitted after spending several years in prison.
"While no quarter can be given to any individual or group responsible for dastardly terror attacks, the arrest of innocent Muslim youth has reached serious dimensions which requires immediate attention," the memorandum said.
"It is a blot on the principles of secular democracy. At the same time, the arrest of innocent people means that the actual culprits go free," the CPI(M) memorandum pointed out.
Major demands included compensation and rehabilitation for the innocent persons implicated in such cases, provision of special courts to settle cases within a year with time- bound procedures and removal of "draconian" provisions in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The party also sought action against those responsible in cases where the courts have held that evidence has been concocted or misrepresented by the investigating agencies to implicate innocents.
Drawing the President`s attention to "grave miscarriage of justice to scores of Muslim youth who were and are being wrongly arrested and charged" in various terror cases, it claimed that court judgements themselves have "strongly indicted the investigation agencies for biased mentality against the Muslim youth and in several cases, manipulation and presentation of concocted evidence against innocent young men."
Besides Karat, the delegation included party leader Subhashini Ali, Jammu and Kashmir CPI(M) legislator Mohd Yusuf Tarigami and three such youths who spent up to 14 years in jail before they were acquitted.
Maintaining that Muslim youths were "the most vulnerable targets today", the memorandum said the "draconian" provisions of the UAPA were being "used to deny the normal processes of justice, while there is no time bound procedure for the judicial processes. There is a growing feeling of fear and apprehension" about innocents being implicated.
The major Left party said it had warned of consequences of keeping such provisions on the Statute book akin to TADA and POTA when the UAPA bill was being passed in Parliament.
"Experience has shown the legitimacy of the apprehensions expressed at that time," it added.