NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde in a letter to the chief ministers of all states said that many members of Muslim community have been wrongfully detained by police in terror-related cases, CNN IBN reports.
The letter adds that the Home Ministry has received several representations of innocent Muslims being purportedly harassed by law enforcement agencies.
"Some of the minority youth have started feeling that they are deliberately targeted and deprived their basis rights. The government has to ensure that no innocent person is subjected to undue harassment," said Shinde's letter.
Emphasising that the central government remains committed to combat terror, the state governments should also give priority to terror-related cases over other pending cases. Shinde's letter also suggested a few measures to states like constituting special courts in consultation with High Courts for trial in terror-related cases and appointment of special prosecutors in such cases.
Sounding a warning to law enforcement agencies, Shinde said that the state government should take strict action against police officers who wrongfully arrest members of the minorities.
"Strict and prompt action against erring police officers where there is malafide arrests of any member of minority community, wrongfully arrested, person should not only be released immediately but they should be suitably compensated and rehabilitated to join the mainstream, " Shinde's letter said.
In May, the central government has set up the 39 special courts under the NIA Act to take up terror-related cases.
Uproar over Shinde's directive
The Home Minister's letter created uproar in political circles. The principal opposition party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) reacted sharply to Shinde's statement on detention of innocent Muslims, calling it a political statement.
BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu was quoted by NDTV as saying, "The Home Minister must immediately withdraw the order and apologise to the nation. It is against democracy and against secularism."
Communist Party of India leader S Raja said, "We welcome the concern but the timing has to be questioned. This should have come long back, not just before election season. Minorities cannot be wooed by the Congress party in this manner (although) there is empirical data which shows large numbers of young Muslims are put in prison without trial or charge-sheet for years together."