Minorities panel to probe harassment of Muslim inmates’ in Bijnor jail

SHAFAQNA – According to Indian Express reported that ” Taking cognizance of reports about alleged assault on some Muslim prisoners inside Bijnor district jail preventing them from offering Namaz, the Uttar Pradesh Minorities Commission has decided to send a fact finding team to the district.

Meanwhile, district administration claimed that Furqan, who is lodged in jail on charges of helping six SIMI men who escaped after an explosion in Bijnor last year, is fabricating such allegations and there is no truth behind it.

On the other hand, the Commission claims that it had sent a letter to the district administration seeking report into the allegations.

“We had sent a letter to District Magistrate of Bijnor seeking details of the incident within a week, but there has been no response yet,” Shafi Azmi, member and spokesperson of the Commission, told The Indian Express. He said the Commission is sending a fact finding team to Bijnor next week for probing into the matter.

The Commission took cognizance of reports in local newspapers carried last month, which alleged that several Muslim prisoners had informed their relatives who further conveyed to some local clerics that they were being harassed by the jail staff and some prisoners. They alleged that on April 9, there was an attempt to stop them from offering namaz. They also claimed that they face objectionable comments on their religion and go through physical assaults for being Muslims.

The commission sent a letter to Bijnor DM seeking report over the alleged incident by April 20. “As no reply came, we called up Bijnor DM and apprised him about the matter. He assured us that the matter will be probed. Since then we are awaiting for a reply,” Azmi claimed.

A group of local clerics also met the DM and alleged that when Muslim inmates offer namaz, the TV is switched on in full volume and they are harassed if they raise voice in this regard. “We got a primary inquiry conducted into the allegations and it appeared true so we sent the notice to the DM,” Azmi said.

When inquired, Bijnor DM Bhupendra S Choudhary said, an inquiry has been conducted by the ADM (administration). He denied about the harassment to Muslim prisoners on religious grounds. “Only one particular prisoner has some problem, rest everything is normal,” he said.

ADM (administration) Vinod Kumar, who conducted the inquiry, too, said that only one prisoner is spoiling the atmosphere. “Furqan, who is lodged in jail for allegedly providing shelter and logistic help to the SIMI men, spreads rumours like this to vitiate the atmosphere. Other prisoners are afraid of him. There is no tension in jail and no issue of stopping anyone from offering namaz,” he added.

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