HYDERABAD: Money cannot buy you love nor can it bring back the time lost, nor for that matter, compensate for the humiliation suffered. That summed up the mood of the youth who were wrongfully imprisoned following the blast at the Mecca Masjid in 2007.
In a belated move, the State government on Friday distributed cheques ranging from Rs 20,000 to Rs 3,00,000 to such youngsters at a function in the Jubilee Hall. In a first step of its kind, the government also gave them Character Certificates to remove the social stigma that comes with being an accused in a terror case.
A total of Rs 54.20 lakh was handed over to 61 people who were picked up by the police in the immediate aftermath of the terror strike. “The eight months were a torture. I plan to use this money to expand my business,” said Sijauddin, one of the 15 people who received a compensation of Rs 3 lakh each for being remanded in custody for more than a month. A sum of Rs 20,000 each was given to those who were let off by the police after interrogation. Five more undertrials will also be considered for payment of compensation after additional cases pending against them are resolved. Addressing the gathering, Majlis-e-Ittehadul-Muslimeen MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi demanded that all the names of the innocent youth included in the chargesheet be dropped immediately. “Including names of those who have absconded,” he said and wanted the government to try police officers responsible for harassing the youngsters. “Let the guilty police officers be brought to book,” he said. The MLA also demanded that cases booked against undertrials be overlooked for allotting the compensation.
Minister for Minorities Welfare Syed Mohammad Ahmedullah lauded the ‘bold’ step taken by the state government's attempt at undoing the ‘mistake’ it had committed.
“It is a precedent set by the chief minister in apologizing for the false charges pressed against innocent youth,” said the minister. The event was also the first for the newly elected mayor of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Mohammad Majid Hussain. Others present at the event included the Hyderabad district collector Natarajan Gulzar and secretary of the Minorities Welfare department, Mohammad Raffath Ali.