Two days after he was sent to jail for one year, the Aurangabad police have defended the invoking of the stringent Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Slumlords, Bootleggers and Drug Offenders Act (MPDA) against All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) corporator Sayyed Mateen, saying he had nine cases against him and that he was a “danger to public order”. The MPDA was invoked against Mateen days after he opposed a resolution to pay tribute to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at an Aurangabad Municipal Corporation meeting on August 17. Then, he was also assaulted allegedly by BJP corporators and was rushed out of the meeting by police.
After the incident, two separate offences were registered against Mateen, including one under Section 153A of the IPC (promoting enmity between different groups). A separate case of vandalism was registered later. Mateen was arrested on August 18 and was kept in custody till August 21, while five BJP corporators were arrested and later released on bail. Minutes after Mateen was granted bail on August 21, he was held again, this time under the MPDA. His family has said that he is a victim of a “political conspiracy” and that they would approach the courts. AIMIM MLA from Aurangabad, Imtiaz Jaleel, said, “We have already clarified that what he said in the corporation meeting on August 17 is not the party’s stand. It was his own action. Having said this, we condemn the brutality against him and also invoking the stringent act. This is police excess. We will not only challenge the bail granted to the BJP corporators but also be looking at legal remedies against the preventive detention.”
Aurangabad Police Commissioner Chiranjeev Prasad said that action against Mateen under the MPDA was not a consequence of the August 17 incident. “There was already a proposal for his externment under process. He has a total of nine offences against him, which include attempt to murder, causing communal disharmony, attacking a public servant, arson and vandalism. These offences are from 2014,” he said.
“Considering his actions and increased involvement in crime, a proposal for his externment from Aurangabad was under consideration. When two more offences were registered against him on August 17, a decision was taken to take action against him under the MPDA considering his criminal activities and danger to public order.”
The police said that the nine cases against Mateen included attempt to murder, which was registered against Mateen during the communal riots in May in Aurangabad. Other offences include vandalism and attacking a public servant were registered against him around the time he became a corporator in 2015. A purported video of the incident on August 17 shows Mateen was beaten up with footwear and even kicked by some corporators present on the floor. The video also shows police rushing Rashid out of the hall. Irshad Fatema, Mateen’s mother, said: “They showed that video repeatedly on TV. Someone even counted how many times he was beaten. And now he being sent to jail for one year. What will happen to his wife and children? This is a conspiracy against my son by some people who did not want him to succeed in politics. He was not even released for Eid.”
According to his father Sayyed Rashid, they plan to approach the courts. “We have been told that we can apply for bail. We are in touch with AIMIM leaders and we will approach the court after taking legal opinion,” he said.