Since Yogi Adityanath of BJP became Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, there has been a surge in the number of people, mostly poor Muslims and Dalits, being jailed under provisions of the draconian NSA law. Here is a series of stories on such victim families — Editor
LUCKNOW — In the last one year, since Yogi Adityanath became Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, dozens of people, mostly Muslims and Dalits, have been arrested under the National Security Act or NSA following communal or caste clashes. Human rights group Rihai Manch is conducting a fact-finding probe about the incarcerated people and their families. In PART ONE of the series, Caravan Daily published a brief about four such poor Muslim families of Barabanki whose breadwinners are in jail for more than two and half months. The PART TWO here is about five such families of Bahraich district.
Background of Bahraich Case
On 2nd December 2017, following the communal tension during the Eid Milad procession in Nanpara of Bahraich district, several people from the minority community were arrested – five of them were slapped with NSA and thus they are still in the jail. A delegation of Rihai Manch under the leadership of eminent rights activist and its general secretary Rajeev Yadav met their families recently to find out the truth.
“A large number of people from the Muslim community were arrested. They could not get relief from the lower court. They moved the High Court from where most of them got bail. Five people are still in jail under NSA,” said Yadav.
Besides him, the Rihai Manch team had Srijanyogi Adiyogi, Laxman Prasad, Virendra Gupta and Nagendra Yadav and two local journalists Salim Siddiqi and Noor Alam.
They met the families of Noor Hasan, Munna, Aslam, Masood Raza and Mohammad Arshad and their neighbors.
Family of rickshaw-puller Noor Hasan
Wife of rickshaw-puller Noor Hasan recalled the day while holding her two-year-old daughter in the lap. “My daughter was sick. My husband had gone to Dr. Hussain Bakhsh for her medicine, but he could not take medicine due to the tension and clashes. Then a police van came and he was picked. When we asked they said he is being taken to police station for questioning. He has not yet returned,” says Aqueela Bano.
When asked why he is not being released, she says she does not know. She is disturbed that she does not have money enough to meet her husband in jail, leave aside fighting his legal case. She knows her husband is facing NSA, but she does not know what it is.
Brick kiln labourer Munna
Munna’s brother Abdul Khalid says that his brother had just returned from the brick kiln when the Police arrived and took him away. Besides him, his two nephews – Sajan and Rajan – and brother Nasibul were also picked. Later, Munna was slapped with NSA.
Aslam’s wife Shanno says her husband was sitting at his shop of bangles. He was picked by the police from there and has not yet been released. “We are allowed to meet him in jail thrice a week, but I hardly visit him once or twice a month because one meeting costs Rs 150-200,” she says.
She pronounces Rasuka (Hindi abbreviation of राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा कानून (National Security Act) as Asuka. When asked she says she does not know much about it except that it is a big law that is used by the government.
Madrassa teacher Masood Raza
He would earn livelihood by teaching at a private madrassa. His father Khaleel said: “My son had gone to meet her sister. As he was returning home after purchasing some edibles for children, he was picked by the police. His Aadhaar card and mobile were seized.”
“He has two young children. I am unable to walk around and so can’t do much about myself, how can I run his family?”
Student Mohammad Arshad
His mother Shama says he had returned home from Kerala just one day ago. He would study in Kerala and this was his last year. But his implication in the case has ruined his career. “My 19-year-old son is facing NSA”
Arshad’s sister Kaneez Fatima is also worried about his education. About NSA, she says it is like treason. She asks: “What has my brother done that he was slapped with NSA?”
Arshad’s mother informs that her husband Mohammad Shahid and some relatives who had visited home on the occasion of Eid Milad were also arrested. Shahid, his brother Abdul Hameed, brother-in-law Mohammad Khalid and a minor Kaleem were later released.
It’s Communal Conspiracy: activist Rajeev Yadav
Riha Manchi team has visited Barabanki and Bahraich as part of “its campaign against Manuvadi and communal conspiracy in the name of NSA”. In the next leg, the rights group will visit Kanpur, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar and Meerut where it says several Muslims and Dalits have been arrested under NSA.
“By imposing NSA on Dalits and Muslims, the Yogi government is hatching a conspiracy to declare these societies as threat to national security. Under this conspiracy, it has slapped Bhim Army chief Chandrashekar with NSA and now using this law on those who called the Bharat Bandh (on 2nd April 2018),” says Rajeev Yadav.
What is NSA?
NSA or National Security Act is an act of the Parliament promulgated in September, 1980. It empowers the Central Government and State Governments to detain a person to prevent him/her from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of India, the relations of India with foreign countries, the maintenance of public order, or the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community it is necessary so to do. Rights groups have alleged that this act has been grossly misused both for political and non-political reasons.
Eminent rights activist Rajeev Yadav, who is based in Lucknow, can be contacted at 9452800752.