Cane mistaken for gangster’s stick,blind man booked

For the last six years,Arsse Alam (27),has been facing proceedings under the Gangster Act and the Gunda Act lodged by the Ambedkar Nagar police. He has even spent two months in jail.

Written by ARSHAD AFZAL KHAN | Faizabad | Published:January 20, 2009 1:55 am

For the last six years,Arsse Alam (27),has been facing proceedings under the Gangster Act and the Gunda Act lodged by the Ambedkar Nagar police. He has even spent two months in jail. Alam’s crime: Blind since birth,he was carrying a cane and was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Gangster Act and the Gunda Act are normally invoked against those who habitually indulge in crimes like robbery,murder and extortion — individually or as part of a group.

“Can you imagine a blind man committing any of the crimes listed in the Act?” asks Alam’s advocate Vipin Tiwari. “It just shows the heartlessness of the police.” The police,he said,had also slapped the National Security Act against him,but it was removed from the chargesheet after a High Court order January 2003. His trial began in February 2003 in a special court,and is still on.

The case goes back to February 2002,when the sub-divisional officer (SDO) of Power Corporation in Tanda lodged a complaint that some people had attacked him at his official residence.

Alam’s elder brother Siraj Ahmad said he and a few others had visited the SDO to complain about irregular power supply,to which the SDO overreacted and called the police.

“My brother was also present. Since he is blind,he always carries a wooden stick. But the police arrested him under the Gangster Act and the Goonda Act along with several other charges,” said Siraj.

In its report to the court,the Tanda Kotwali police said they caught Alam near the spot carrying a stick,and concluded that he was involved in the ruckus. They picked him up and registered an FIR against him. “I heard somebody shouting ‘catch the bearded man in kurta pyjamas’. Some people handcuffed me and took me in a jeep,” recalled Alam. “Later,I came to know that I had been arrested.”

Prosecution Officer Vijay Kumar Varma said the medical examination of the accused will be conducted before the judgment is delivered.

Ram Swarup,Superintendent of Police,Ambedkar Nagar,said: “I was not posted here when this case was registered. Currently,I do not have the details of this case. But slapping the Gangster Act and the Gunda Act against a blind person is a serious matter. I will inquire into the case.”

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