NCP chief and former Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar raised questions over the way Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) is operating in the state on the perceived threat of ISIS. While addressing a press conference in the NCP headquarter in Mumbai on Tuesday, Pawar said, "28 Muslim organisations met me and submitted a detailed memorandum. They have explained to me the way ATS has been handling the issue."
He said that ATS is breaking laws by arresting Muslim youths rampantly in the name of ISIS threat. Muslim organisations in the Parbhani, Beed and Aurangabad districts of Marathwada, had complained about the ilegal detentions of their youths.
Pawar pointed out, "The law compels police to produce the accused before court within 24 hours of his arrest, but they are being detained and tortured for number of days in illegal detention, without being produced before any court." He noted that the Muslim organisations in Maharashtra, especially those from Marathwada, have openly condemned ISIS as an anti Islamic organisation and that he too had not found any base for the propaganda of the so called 'rising influence and threat of ISIS' in Maharashtra. He said, "I do not know whether the ATS is working with an agenda or on specific instructions from the leaders in the government. But it is very wrong if it is happening so."
He said the NCP will never take sides of the criminal or terrorist organisations but insisted, "The police should produce the arrested within 24 hours, should file the chargesheet as soon as possible and the trial should be conducted in fasttrack courts. Innocents languishing in jails for years together is also very bad and wrong. It destroys the life of the innocent person."
Pawar indicated that he would be taking up this issue on the national level with all secular political parties. He said, "This is a national issue and we will try to raise this up and bring this to the attention of the Prime Minister. We cannot allow the torture of innocents merely on the basis of suspicion without any evidence."