New Delhi, Nov 18 (UNI) A fact-finding team of Janhastakshep and PUDR today alleged that security agencies and their media-projections deliberately painted Azamgarh as the "nursery of terrorism" in the aftermath of Delhi's Jamia Nagar 'encounter' on September 19 to ''justify their mode of extracting custodial confessions, use of force on innocent people and branding a community as fountainhead of terrorism".
The team after making an on-the-spot-study alleged, "Branding of Azamgarh, a backward district of Uttar Pradesh which has Hindu-Muslim population in equal proportion as a 'hub of terrorism' and targeting the youths of a community only clearly fits in the poltical strategy of the BJP as one of its MPs from Gorakhpur had already attempted to rake up the issue on the similar lines".
Dr N Bhattacharya, spokesperson of Janhastakshep (a People's Intervention Group) at a press conference here released a report by the team which visited Azamgarh and surrounding villages, interviewed several people including the parents of the arrested youths.
It asserted there were clear indications that investigating police officials extracted custodial confessions "through torture" from some youths bearing popular name of the minority community.
The exercise was aimed at serving two purposes--- pursuing a 'planned line of investigation' and also to serve the political party and Hindutva forces which have been demanding the return of POTA as to make 'custodial confessions' as admissible 'evidence' in the court. Now the custodial confessions are not admissible as 'evidence' in the court, a PUDR representative A Dhawan alleged.
After the media-hype and police raids on many places in Azamgarh, a large number of fear-stricken parents from a minority community 'withdrew their wards studying in Jamia Millia University, Delhi and other institutes,' the report claimed.
The report also opposed the tagging of acts of terrorism to a minority community and use of force for custodial confessions by the investigation officials.
Both organisations demanded a judicial inquiry into the Jamia Nagar 'encounter by a sitting Supreme Court judge, stop harassing and targetting the minority people of Azamgarh.
They sought the investigating agencies to follow well-laid norms of probe approved by the National Human Right Commission (NHRC) and should not conduct Narco test which is a mode of coercion.
UNI JSS RP AS1922