Stop targeting Muslim youth in the name of ISIS
Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee fact finding team visited localities of old city, Hyderabad namely Talabkatta, Chandrayangutta, Hashimabad and Chattabazar and met the families of recently arrested youth in the allegations of connections to ISIS.
All these localities are in and around the historic Charminar of Hyderabad and popularly known as old city; these are densely populated areas dominated by Muslim community. These areas are underdeveloped and backward, the residents belong to the lower and middle classes. Politically these localities are dominated by Majlis e Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) party; Majlis MLAs represent them in state Assembly and Mr. Asaduddin Owaisi is the Member of Parliament who represents them in the Indian Parliament.
All these youth are in the age group of 20-40 years with different professional backgrounds. Their educational qualifications differ from SSC to Engineering graduates. All these youth belong to the breakaway faction of Markaz Jamaitul Ahle-e-Hadees called Subai Jamait Ahle-e-Hadees which was separated due to ongoing dispute on the construction of a Masjid in the Yakutpura area of old city Hyderabad.
The 11 Muslim youth who were arrested and detained are the residents of these densely populated localities. They are: 1) Syed Nayeemullah Hussain, 42 years resident of Moghalpura. 2) Mohammed Ataullah Rehman aged 33 years resident of Bandlaguda. 3) Abdul Khader Mohsin, aged 32 years, resident of Hashimabad. 4) Azhar 22 years, resident of Talabkatta. 5) Mohammed Arbaz Ahmed, 21 years resident of Bandlaguda. 6) Abdul Habeeb Ibrahim aged 32 years, resident of Yousuf Gulshan colony, Hashimabad. 7) Mohammed Ilyas Yazdani, 24 years resident of Talabkatta, Amaan Nagar B. 8) Mohammed Ibrahim Yazdani, 32 years, resident of Chattabazar, Lakkadkot. 9) Habeeb Mohammed, 32 years, resident of Hashimabad, Chandrayangutta. 10) Abdullah Bin Ahmed Al-Amoudi, 31 years, resident of Panchmohalla, Charminar. 11) Muzaffar Hussain Rizwan, 29 years, resident of Talabkatta.
Facts of the case
In the early hours of 29th June 2016 i.e. after morning prayers (Fajr), different teams of NIA and Hyderabad Task Force police barged into the houses of the above said youth, they were in group of 15-20 people in plain clothes, without number plate vehicles. As they forcefully entered into the houses, family members objected to their behavior and those people started beating and abusing them. Without considering even the women members of the family, they directly entered into the rooms. They did not even declare their identity. When some senior member of the family enquired as to who they are, they just said ‘from NIA’; and at some other houses they said they are from Income Tax. They did not show any search warrant nor arrest warrant. After forcefully entering into the houses they separated women and children from men and made them sit in separate rooms with their hands tied at their back. 2-3 people were guarding each family person. If anyone dared to question about their operation and searching of their house, the only reply from the officers was ‘investigation’.
Habeeb Mohammed – his residence is located at Hashimabad at Chandrayangutta. From this house two youth were picked up namely Habeeb Mohammed and Abdul Khader, both of them are married and are having small children. His family belongs to the Arab tribe residing in Barkas area of Hyderabad who derive their family name from their city of origin, Baghdad, thus have their surname as Al Baghdadi, which also played a role in doubling their trouble with security agencies.
We met his mother, grandmother, aunt and uncle. The family members were in shock and much afraid of the sensational reports making rounds in the media. The old aged grandmother has brought up Habeeb Mohammed from childhood. Her straight forward question to us was, “Are we looking like criminals? Can we kill any Hindu?”. While giving us the details they said, on the early hours of 29th June 2016, large number of people suddenly entered into their house, over powered the youth in the house, women were made to sit in separate room and 3-4 officers were guarding each of them.
The family members said when NIA officers entered their house forcefully they went exactly to the room of Habeeb as if they already knew where he was sleeping. Then they took Habeeb Mohammed in a separate room and started beating him. The family was able to listen to his pleadings of not to beat.
NIA started searching the complete house; the family members said NIA officers had come along with some bags and covers. They did not know what was in the bags. But the bags were sealed and packed and the NIA officers asked them to sign on the seizure papers. When they questioned as to what is in the bags as the bags were sealed they said these bags were recovered from their houses. But they did not show them anything. They forced his mother to sign, but his mother said to us that she does not know where the bags came from and what was in the bags. The NIA and local Task Force Policemen went to the Habeeb’s house in the early hours at 5.30 AM and stayed till 2.30PM.
Abdul Khader brother of Habeeb Mohammed who was released after interrogation told us that NIA detained both of them saying after some interrogation they will be released. He said they were taken to CRPF camp, Ranga Reddy District and was interrogated about his religious learnings. NIA officials questioned him on, why you are a Muslim? What is your opinion on Hindus and Christians? What sect of Islam do you belong to? On that question, when Abdul Khader replied that he is just a common Muslim, NIA officer shot back, ‘No, which sect? Deobandi or Barelvi, which sect? He replied Ahle Hadees, then again they asked Why do you belong to Ahle Hadees sect? Why do you pray at Ahle Hadees mosque? Aren’t all Ahle Hadees followers of terrorists? What do you know about ISIS? These were some of the frequent questions of their interrogators.
One interesting event which should be noted carefully in this whole episode is the second raid of NIA at Habeeb Mohammed’s house on 5th July 2016. According to the family immediately after NIA’s firs raid and arrest of their son, their landlord landed at the house along with some locals and started threatening them with an ultimatum to vacate the house in an hour. The traumatized family under pressure from locals and landlord was about to vacate the house, but suddenly help came from an unexpected quarter. NIA officers who got to know about the situation directed local police to detain the landlord who was creating trouble and asked the family members not to vacate the house under any situation. Abdul Khader even informed the fact finding team that NIA officials called for their rent deed to issue a notice to the landlord. Family has a sigh of relief.
But again as the murky nature of things in terror trails, few days later different guests landed at their door steps, this time it was NIA officers. They brought Habeeb to his house. Gullible family members thought that ‘helpful’ NIA officers have brought Habeeb to meet his family. But their misconception did not last long as NIA officers separated the family members and took Habeeb to some room and announced the discovery of live rounds of bullets. According to section 27 of the Evidence Act, discovery of new evidence is admissible only if the accused leads the police to the place where he has hidden evidence which have been used to commit a crime. From the day one NIA officers were transcripting the scene for the ‘discovery’ of evidence to solidify their case while the gullible and helpless family members were fallen in the trap of ‘helpful’ NIA.
Abdullah Bin Ahmed Al Amoudi Fahad – He is brother in law of above mentioned Habeeb Mohammed. His residence is at Panchmohalla near Charminar. Abdullah has a workshop of Hydrographic Printing. The liquids and paints used for printing were taken away from the workshop and these were later shown as chemicals to make the bombs. The electrical items, the cables and fiber wires were also taken away. Abdullah’s family members denied the charges of NIA and said all the things taken away was material used for their business purpose. Even at Abdullah’s house the family said the NIA brought some bags which were sealed and packed and then told the family members that explosives material was recovered from their house.
Ibrahim Yazdani and Ilyas Yazdani – The fact finding team then visited the house of Yazdani brothers. The police and media are claiming that Ibrahim Yazdani is the group leader. We spoke to Aslam Yazdani and Ishaq Yazdani, brothers of Ibrahim and Ilyas Yazdani. Their narration of events was also similar to the narration of above two families.
Ibrahim Yazdani, 29 years is B.Tech graduate and works for online sales for Flipkart and Amazon. Ilyas Yazdani is Intermediate pass and was working at Mee Seva centre. According to the brothers of Ibrahim and Ilyas, in the early hours of 29th June, 2016, around 50 men in civil dress forcefully entered into the house with hand guns, revolvers, pistols etc. each and every family member of the house was surrounded by 4-5 men. The family went into a state of shock and after some time, Ishaq enquired, “Who are you? How & why you have entered in our House? And why are you behaving like this?”. One person named Jalaj Srivastava, introduced himself as Additional SP, NIA New Delhi and Mr. Rauleta introduced himself as Inspector NIA. Ishaq also said that hundreds of policemen were standing outside their home. They also asked him the whereabouts of his elder brother Mohammed Ibrahim Yazdani. He informed them that he is at his in-laws house at Chatta Bazar, Lakkadkot, Hyderabad which is hardly one kilometer from their residence. When he asked them what is the matter, why they were behaving so cruelly and ruthlessly? They did not reply anything and started searching their house. He said they broke open the almirahs, cupboards, did not even spared children’s toys. He further said that they destroyed each and every thing of their house, torn off pillows available in all the rooms. Even Refrigerator, Washing Machine was checked along with Bathroom, Toilets, and Kitchen. They left no place unsearched in the house and left nothing untouched and unturned. They scattered all the house-hold articles.
Ishaq Yazdani said NIA even interrogated family members on basic household items. The NIA officers objected and questioned family members as to why they are freezing ice in the refrigerator? Why a separate slipper pair is used for the toilets? Why the acid, toilet cleaner and phenyl etc is used in the house? While leaving NIA also seized those ‘objectionable’ materials. Later Yazdani family saw in the news that those toilet cleaners, acid, and frozen ice was shown as explosive preparing materials. They took photographs of each and everything. They took away all the phones and laptops by saying that by evening those items will be returned. They stayed for two hours. They took away left over electric cable bundle and an old voltage tester of his father, who was an electrician, and later it was shown in the news channels that all of it was used for making bombs.
Ishaq further said that while leaving their house, officers forcibly took the signatures of all the family members on various papers, including blank papers and the search list, details of property alleged to have been seized under Section 100 (6) or 165 of Criminal Procedure Code. Later, they got to know through electronic media that NIA have not just raided their house but also Ibrahim’s in laws house where he was staying at exact same time, so the pressure doubled when the news was broken that not only NIA arrested his younger brother Mohammed Ilyas Yazdani but also arrested his elder brother Mohammed Ibrahim Yazdani, from Chatta Bazar.
According to the statement of Mohammed Ibrahim Yazdani’s wife Nadera Parveen she, her husband and children went to their parent’s house on Iftar party one day before i.e on 28th June 2016 and the next morning the same episode happened at her parents’ house as well. On enquiring about the sudden raid one officer responded and introduced himself as Vikram Khalate, IPS, SP from NIA, Mumbai. They searched the complete house and they took out rupees 14,99,500 from her father’s Almirah and seized the same, when her father objected saying that amount is for his business purpose, the policemen insisted saying that the amount is of Ibrahim Yazdani. She further said that her father has all the proof including documentary evidence of the cash which belongs to her father. Later in television channels they saw NIA sources claiming that fifteen lakhs were recovered which was generated from Hawala, supposed to be used for terrorist activities. They took away all the mobiles of the family members, one Bajaj Pulsor bike, personal computer of her father and many other house hold electronic and non-electronic items. They took her signature on many plain and printed papers.
Muzaffar Hussain Rizwan – He is 29 years old, resident of Talabkatta who resides along with his small family in the rented accommodation of Yazdani family house. He is SSC failed works as salesman in a footwear showroom. He got married just two months back.
His elder brother Mudassir Hussain who works as graphics designer was hesitant and scared to speak with anyone. He said police officers from different departments is visiting his house and interrogating entirely family on one pretext or the other. Mudassir said he has grown suspicious to strangers and shared one incident when some individuals claiming they to be Task Force officers barged into his house and started interrogating on every minute detail of his family members and took mugshot images of the family members, later on his family got to know that those task force officers were in reality local Telugu Media journalists digging personal details of the family members to create another round of sensational and fabricated news items.
Mudassir narrating the events of his younger brother’s arrest said at his two room house some 15-20 officers in civil dress raided and stormed the room where Rizwan was asleep along with his wife. Officers started the search and took videos and photographs of very item in the room. He said NIA also seized his Personal Computer, One New External Hard Disk, Three Old Hard Disks, One Pen Drive, and one Graphic Card, mobile phone and tab of Rizwan, and two other mobile phones of his newly wedded wife Mrs. Ayesha Begum, was also seized. NIA also took away some old house hold accounts books of their family. Before taking Rizwan into custody they took his brother’s signatures on several blank and printed papers and then left. His brother said NIA told them that they would release Rizwan in 3-4 hours after some interrogation.
The next day they found out that Rizwan has been made A5 in the case by NIA. Mudassir said they have heard wild stories making round in news papers quoting NIA sources. Especially he gave reference to his brother’s visit to Anantapur district. Mudassir said Rizwan made the visit to Anantapur district just a week before his arrest by NIA. The purpose of his visit Mudassir said, Rizwan wanted to start a Papaya trade business in Hyderabad by purchasing fruit at cheaper rates in Anantapur. Then he stopped speaking for a while and said with a tearful eyes will all this even matter now my brother has now already been declared a terrorist.
English and Telugu print and electronic media are publishing and telecasting the terror stories by giving NIA source. As per the routine practice media is conducting its own trial and it has already declared these youth as terrorists. The gravity of unfair media reporting can be imagined by this news that these youth were planning to plant beef in religious places. Telugu and English media is in competition, in making, creating and publishing false and sensational stories. It shows that in the eyes of these media, Muslims are terrorists; the anti-Muslim mindset is dominated upon them and through their mediums they are trying maximum to defame and target Muslim community.
NIA has registered a case vide no. RC-01/2016/NIA/HYD, based on credible information that some youths hailing from Hyderabad and their accomplices have entered into criminal conspiracy to wage war against the Government of India by collecting weapons and explosive materials to commit terrorist acts by targeting public places including religious sites, sensitive government buildings etc. in various parts of the country.
Fabricating case using Informers net
During the course of fact finding visits and meetings this committee found out from different reliable sources that local police informers played a crucial role for the development and shaping of the case.
Family members of the arrested and other youth who were detained and let off after interrogation informed that NIA officers showed pictures of them from different locations and places as if NIA was keeping tab on each and every minute detail of those youths from long time. Pictures taken secretly from past two months were shown during interrogation. One very intriguing incident during this whole episode which needs to be mentioned here is, one person a close companion of those 11 detained youth, whose name is withheld here, and who is nephew of a local body elected member was detained by NIA way back on June 5th but was released after five days of interrogation in their custody. That person did not make an issue out of it and acted in his group of friends as if nothing has happened. Exactly 25 days later NIA raids occurred and most of his companion friends from breakaway faction of Ahle Hadees were picked up but he was untouched.
1) This committee by going through the facts, reports from the different sources and after consulting with the family, community and civil society members came to the conclusion that Muslim community is once more under attack and the community is terrorized by the police, media and Hindutva organizations. Because of this terror atmosphere created by the state sponsored agencies there is a threat to the life of Muslim youth; and their human rights and civil liberties is on stake.
2) Earlier Muslims in Hyderabad were targeted in the name of ‘ISI’ now they are getting targeted in the name of ‘ISIS’. There is a long drawn practice of security agencies in Hyderabad to target and label Muslim community as per the current international scenario and hot selling terror terminology available in the international market.
3) The Joint operation of NIA and notorious task force of Hyderabad police is nothing but a part of greater conspiracy to defame the Muslim community and to spoil the future of their youth. Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee finds the direction of investigation by NIA on the basis of concocted stories and arresting of Muslim youth and then spreading false stories through media and conducting the media trial by declaring these youth as terrorists as despicable.
4) There is no doubt that Hyderabad police is notorious in making false stories and implicating the Muslim youth in the fabricated cases with the false allegations. But the matter of concern here is that this time NIA’s role is also not beyond suspicion. NIA is following the ruling political party policy to suppress the Muslims and also to give free hands to Hindutva elements by providing them a clean chit in blast cases as it has happened in the case of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur who is an accused in Malegaon bomb blast.
5) With this act of NIA it is clearly proved that RSS ideology is dominating the national investigating agency; and now it seems that they are getting instructions from the Nagpur head quarters of RSS. NIA and Hyderabad police together who have spun the stories are unimaginable and unbelievable.
6) It is largely believed that the recent NIAs operation can be seen by keeping in view the administration of present Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who is working under the collaboration of BJP government at the centre. On the instructions of central government he appointed anti-Muslim officers in the ministry of Home Affairs and the operation done by NIA is on the directions of such officers.
7) A kind of fear complex has developed among the Muslim community about the safety and security of their youth. The community also strongly believes that they are under the target of police terror and for the sake of awards, rewards and promotions, police may arrest more youth as it has earlier happened after the twin blasts in the year 2007. Police is repeating the same kind of tactics and spreading the same type of stories to defame and isolate Muslim youth from the mainstream. We are still receiving information about the arrests of Muslim youth from different parts of Hyderabad old city. No one knows when this chain of arrests will end and with how many arrests of Muslim youth will satisfy the quench of NIA.
1. Stop targeting Muslim youth
2. Stop media trial
3. Conduct high level inquiry on NIAs claim on the arrest of
4. Protect the life and liberty of Muslim youth and stop the
5. Remove the anti-Muslim police officers who are working on the
tunes of Hindutva
6. The anti-Muslim officers who are appointed in the Ministry of
Home of Telangana government on the instructions of central
government should be immediately removed.
7. We demand media houses to stop defaming and targeting Muslim
community. Fair reporting and journalistic values should be
Lateef Mohammed Khan