Updated: January 23, 2017 10:50:01 am
Observing that the actions of the state authorities took away “14 prime and precious years” of a man’s life, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has recommended that the Delhi government pay Rs 5 lakh as interim relief to Mohammed Amir Khan — incarcerated since he was 18 — who was acquitted in cases of terror.
In an order dated November 8, 2016, the commission noted that the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Vigilance, had forwarded an inquiry report to the commission, stating that Khan was arrested in cases related to a series of bomb blasts in Delhi and its adjoining states in 1996-1997. The DCP said Khan was convicted in two cases and appeals against his acquittal in two other cases were pending before the Delhi HC.
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“The reply to the showcause notice is not based on merits. The notice was issued on the point of acquittal of the victim in 18 cases by the courts and long incarceration of the victim in prison. The commission is not concerned with appeals pending in two cases. The fact is the victim had to spend 14 years in prison for no reason, violating his rights. The commission finds no merits in the report of the DCP, Vigilance, and recommends that Rs 5,00,000 as interim relief be paid to him,” the NHRC order said.
“The victim has been acquitted in 18 of 20 cases by astonishing acknowledgement of lack of evidence,” the NHRC noted.
Khan, who has been trying to stitch his life together since his release in 2012, said if the NHRC’s recommendation is implemented, this would be the first time that he will receive financial assistance from the government.
“I welcome the decision. Financial assistance would help rebuild my life. But what I need more is a job to support my family. A job will restore my dignity and respect in society. I once dreamt of being a pilot but I could not complete my studies,” Khan told The Indian Express.
“Implicating innocent persons would not only go against justice and the rule of law, but also lead to culprits’ escape. During incarceration, the victim suffered the death of his father. His mother became paralysed due to shock and trauma and later died,” the commission observed. It also took note of the conduct certificate Khan was given by the jailor, District Jail, Ghaziabad.
Khan, who married a year after his release and has a two-year-old daughter, works with NGOs to support his family.
Commission officials said the Delhi government was asked to submit proof of payment in six weeks. The six weeks were over on December 29, 2016. “We will send a reminder to the government. The matter is likely to come up again this month,” an NHRC official said.
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