Union minority affairs minister Rahman Khan wants the government to form an all-powerful task force to monitor and review terror cases against Muslims, arguing that it is needed to ensure justice for “innocent Muslim youth” languishing in jails after being framed in terror cases. He has cited the example of the UK which has formed a task force under prime minister David Cameron to ensure no excesses in the crackdown on terror. “I am finalising the proposal and will soon write to the PM and Congress president Sonia Gandhi,” Khan is reported to have told mediapersons.
While there can be no objection to a mechanism to check police and other agencies misusing their powers, setting up a high-powered body to protest excesses against members of a particular community not only militates against the constitutional guarantee of equality before law but it is also bound to tie the hands of security agencies. It is yet another unabashed attempt to give a communal twist to terrorism in pursuit of divisive vote bank politics and should be stoutly resisted. If some people strongly feel about injustice being done to minority youths there are others who are convinced that there is an attempt to keep those connected with saffron terror behind bars without trial for years.
Instead of categorising terror suspects by their religion, caste and creed, the government should tone up the process of investigation and trial. The investigation should be carried out in an unbiased manner and supervised by higher authority to foil misuse of power by lower-level staff. The government must also set up an inclusive mechanism for trial of all those apprehended in terror crimes, irrespective of their ethnic identity. Investigation and trial must be conducted within stipulated time periods and fast track courts must be set up to dispose of cases through day-to-day hearing. This would facilitate speedy punishment for those involved in terror crimes and also ensure that innocent persons are not deprived of liberty unnecessarily.