Don't arrest innocent Muslims, Shinde tells CMs; BJP attacks

New Delhi, Sep 30 (IANS) Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde Monday asked all chief ministers to ensure that no innocent Muslim is arrested in the name of fighting terror, as the BJP termed this against secularism and demanded he be "sacked".

But the ruling Congress maintained Shinde's letter was not an appeasement of the minority community.

In a letter to chief ministers, the home minister said strict and prompt action should be taken against erring police officers when malafide arrests are made of any member of a minority community.

"Some of the minority youth have started feeling that they are deliberately targeted and deprived their basis rights," he wrote in his letter that was made public.

"Government has to ensure that no innocent person is subjected to undue harassment," he said.

The home minister said a person wrongfully arrested should be released immediately and suitably compensated and rehabilitated to join the mainstream.

Shinde said the central government has been receiving representations about alleged harassment of innocent Muslim youth.

He called upon the state governments to constitute special courts for trial of terror-related cases and give priority to terror cases over other pending cases.

The home minister said law enforcement agencies should be satisfied about communal and social harmony while ensuring zero tolerance for terrorism.

Minority Affairs Minister K. Rahman Khan is among the Congress leaders who expressed concern over wrongful arrests of Muslim youths in terror cases.

But the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the order should be "withdrawn" as it against secularism.

BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu demanded that Shinde should immediately withdraw the order and apologise to the nation. "It is against democracy and against secularism," he said.

BJP's Rajiv Pratap Rudy said Shinde should be "sacked".

"The home minister has given direction to chief ministers not to harass any innocent Muslim youth. We believe if he had not referred to a community and said innocent Indian of any religion should not be harassed, it would have been better," Rudy said.

"We believe ministers who use such expressions should be dismissed for partiality and dividing the nation. So, we demand sacking of the home minister," he said.

Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi, however, denied there was any move at appeasement.

"If the home minister has issued such a direction, I appreciate it. It is not an appeasement at all," said Alvi.

Shinde's move comes in the backdrop of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) accepting that there was no evidence against nine Muslim men who spent five years in jail after they were accused of bomb blasts in Malegaon in Maharashtra in which nearly 40 people were killed in 2006.

Communist Party of India's D. Raja said they welcome the concern but the timing has to

be questioned.

"This should have come long back, not just before election season," said Raja, adding "minorities cannot be wooed by the Congress party in this manner."

Raja pointed out that "there is empirical data which shows large number of young Muslims are put in prison without trial or charge-sheet for years together."

The minority affairs minister had earlier written to Shinde expressing concern over "wrong arrests" of Muslim youngsters in different parts of the country in terror cases.

He had apprised the home ministry of the concerns expressed by various Muslim bodies that laws can be misused against minorities and urged that courts be set up to ensure speedy trial of all terror cases.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Delhi vs Kolkata

On Now: Delhi vs Kolkata

Karthik fifty sets up close finish to Delhi chase. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as England coach

Moores gets second stint as England coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »