New Delhi: Arrest of innocent Muslims in "false" terror cases across the country led to noisy scenes in Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament), which saw two adjournments during pre-lunch sitting on Tuesday.
Soon after the House met for the day, Samajwadi Party (SP) stalled the Question Hour demanding release of "innocent" Muslim youth arrested on false terror charges across the country.
Soon after the House mourned the death of 110 people in a fire at a garment factory in Bangladesh last month, SP leader Naresh Agrawal stood up to say he has given a notice for suspension of Question Hour to discuss the issue of terror arrests.
Chairman Hamid Ansari said the issue can be raised after Question Hour but SP members were unrelenting and started raising slogans. As Ansari did not permit them to raise the matter, they rushed into the Well chanting slogans, “Nirdosh Muslim ladko ko riha karo, riha karo (release innocent Muslim youths).” This shoting led to adjournment of the House till noon.
A delegation of all-party members met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday, asking him to make statement over the issue.
As per Samajwadi Party's election manifesto, the Akhilesh Yadav-led government is considering to withdraw cases against the accused named in four terror strikes, which include the serial blasts in Varanasi in 2006, the court blasts of 2007, the Gorakhpur blasts in 2007 and the attack on the CRPF camp in Rampur on New Year’s eve in 2008.
During the election campaign, SP had promised to withdraw “false terror cases” lodged against Muslim youths.
The government's move to withdraw cases against the accused attracted sharp criticism from different groups and opposition parties. Two social activists from Varanasi had filed a PIL in the Allahabad High Court challenging the move.
The High Court lashed out at the government and expressed displeasure at the move on November 23. The court asked how does the government decide whether an individual can be accused of terrorism or not. The court said, "Who will decide if a person is a terrorist or not? Since the cases in question are pending before the court, it should be left for the courts to decide."
The court directed the government to file a detailed reply and posted the matter for further hearing on November 29.
The state government on November 29 informed the court that it was still in the process of gathering information, and had not formed any opinion regarding withdrawal of prosecution against the accused in terror-related cases.
The court fixed December 17 as the next date of hearing, as more time was sought by Advocate General S P Gupta, who appeared on behalf of the state government.