A report probing the arrest of suspected Al Qaeda militants in Murshidabad in West Bengal by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) reveals family members of the suspects being forced to sign blank papers and empty poly packets, vandalisation and physical assault by the NIA team during the arrests and false media propaganda post-arrest.
The report is a joint effort of various rights organisations including the Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) and Bondi Mukti Committee. The team visited different districts of Murshidabad on September 27th to investigate the arrests of 10 youths made by NIA on suspicion of being Al Qaeda operatives.
APCR National leader, Adv. Shoeb K Inamdar said that all sort of legal support has been sought on behalf of APCR.
The report findings include accounts of the accused and in some places, their children being beaten during the arrest. White papers, PP (poly pack in which the confiscated items are kept) or empty poly packets were being signed by family members. Forces climbed over the walls and in some cases broke the door and entered the house. The report states that family members were not given any documents regarding the arrest and the reason for the arrest was not informed, they were not shown or told what items were confiscated.
“NCR has become a hotbed for such incidents owing to complete failure of law enforcement agencies. The written complaints to the NHRC and National Minority Commission will soon be forwarded to demand immediate actions to curb such incidents in the future,” Adv Shoeb asserted.
NIA officers, including a large number of BSF jawans and local police with civic police, raided the houses in the middle of the night with a force of about 50-60 people and arrested the youths over suspicion of them being al Qaeda militants. One of them was questioned about why he had a beard.
Nazmus Shakib, a 2nd-year student of Domkal Basantapur College was among those arrested. Nazmus’ older brother was forced to sign three empty poly packets. Arabic books for praying at home were procured and falsely promoted as “Jihadi pamphlets” in the media.
Liue Yean Ahmed was a casual worker in the electrical department of Domkal Basantapur College. The NIA forcibly entered his house, picked him up and beat him, his mother narrated. His sister said that her brother used to work as an electrician and his electric tools were falsely shown as bomb-making tools. “The media is spreading lies about him, saying that a revolver was found in his toolbox but Lieu Year’s bike had no toolbox,” the report added.
Abu Sufian worked as a tailor, he also did carpentry and brick making. During his arrest, he and his children were beaten with iron rods, his wife reported. She said that the propaganda of sending lakhs of rupees to his bank account is a complete lie. She added that the propaganda in the media about building a tunnel at home is actually a hole made for the purpose of building a toilet chamber. Many people in this area have this type of toilet chamber in their house. Neighbours also said that the news that a weapons factory had been set up in Sufian’s house was completely false. There is no environment in his house to build an arms factory.
Al Mamun Kamal worked as a tailor and taught Arabic to some children by building a small shed near his house. He used to collect donations from time to time to turn it into a madrasa. The NIA team raided their house around 4 AM, beat him and arrested him. Yakub Biswas worked in a restaurant in Kerala, he is married and has a 1-year-old daughter. His family affirmed that there were no suspicious transactions in his account. Samim Ansari’s family said that the media is spreading false propaganda about him. Atiur Rahman and Mosharraf Hossain, two brothers, were arrested.
The NIA team broke down the main door of their house, searched for more than 30 minutes and destroyed all the books. Murshid Hasan’s father said the police did not tell the family anything about his arrest. “We found out by watching the news on TV,” he added.
The fact-finding team Facts visited the families on 27th, 2th8 and 29th of September. On the first day, a joint delegation of 18 people visited the area. Over the next two days, a three-member delegation from the APCR gathered detailed information. Video interviews with family members and neighbours of the arrested youths have also been collected.