Monday, March 26, 2012

After the storm by Subhradeep Chakravorty

'After the Storm' a documentary by Delhi-based filmmaker Subhradeep Chakravorty highlighting the plight of seven Muslim youngsters falsely implicated by police, was screened at the Deccan College of Engineering auditorium in Darussalam on Friday after the Hyderabad police refused to accord permission to screen it at a public venue.

Exposing the highhandedness of the police, the narrative resonates with tales of torture and inhuman treatment meted out to the victims in police custody even as family members speak of the emotional and financial burden on them. Every experience recounted left the audience with a sinking feeling about the police machinery.

As for Billah, an engineering student, he was taken into custody in 2008 for 'conspiring to spread terror' in the city.

"I was taken in by the police at gun-point when I was on the way to attend a friend's wedding. From the time I was arrested, the police tried to make me confess in the Mecca Masjid bomb blast case. They were not ready to believe me when I told them I had never gone to Mecca Masjid to offer prayers. It was not interrogation but orders to confess," Kaleem narrates in the film. Kaleem's parents were in the dark of his whereabouts until he was produced in court. "When I read the case diary, I came to know that I was accused of supplying SIM cards to the terrorists who carried out the blasts. They also accused my brother, who lives abroad, of handing me 10 kg RDX, which according to them was distributed by meto carry out the blast," he said. However the cases did not stand and Kaleem was acquitted in September 2008 after spending 18 months in prison.

The documentary concludes with each of the seven men voicing their thoughts about the secular fabric and police machinery and ruing how Muslims are picked up and subjected to torture under draconian laws.
A report in Times of India. Here

Team Anna member and Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan castigated Narendra Modi for communalizing the state of Gujarat through his propaganda campaigns. Mr. Bhushan was speaking after a documentary film “After the Storm” directed by noted human rights activist Shubradeep Chakravorty, to mark 10 years from the start of the Gujarat pogrom in 2002.

The documentary depicts the tragic victimization of seven Muslim men who were falsely implicated in terror incidents and continued to face discrimination and hardship long after they were acquitted. “Such documentaries put a human face to such stories and help create empathy in the public for such people,” said Mr. Bhushan.
Two circles Here.

The documentary opens with the story of a 49-year-old Mukhtar Ahmed who was taken into custody by the Central Bureau Of Investigation on 3 September 1993 under POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act). He was accused of being involved in the Chennai RSS regional headquarters blast case. By the time Ahmed was finally acquitted, he had spent a harrowing 14 years in jail and once out on bail is trying to extricate himself from the false charges. Eighteen-year-old Moutasim Billah was wallowing away time in front of his house in old Hyderabad on 5 March, 2008, when he was caught by the police. Though he was released six months later, the jail experience left a significant bearing on his temperament and the life of his family.

The stories that these men tell sound eerily similar — from the manner in which they were picked up and the delay to produce them in courts, to the way they were treated in jail. Most of the time, the date of arrest was falsely given and the delay in producing the accused in courts was to assess whether a successful case could be fabricated.

This similarity is not coincidental, human rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan points out, highlighting the increasing communalisation of the police force as the root cause of the problem. "This is a consistent pattern across the country. In the garb of terror investigations, the police have been systematically framing Muslim youth in terror cases. They fabricate evidence so as to implicate them. Whenever they failed to catch the real culprit, they'd pick up an innocent Muslim," says Bhushan.

He further blamed the media for operating hand in glove with the police. "Media organisations are embedded with the police and play a crucial role in further defaming the accused. Often journalists know that the evidence is fabricated but go ahead nonetheless. Media people have sold their conscience and ethics. A feasible solution to this problem is to make the police force accountable," he says.
A report in Sunday Guardian.Here 

Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan alleged that police across the country systematically frame Muslims in terror investigations when they can't find the culprits

Team Anna member and Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan yesterday claimed that police across the country were "communalised". "Police throughout the country are clearly communalised. Narendra Modi has communalised the entire state through his propaganda campaigns," said Bhushan, speaking after a documentary film show here to mark 10 years of communal riots in Gujarat.
A report in Mid Day. Here

A trailor of the film could be viewed here

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