Thursday, August 31, 2006

Blood cells: Life in an unhealthy zone

HIV-related deaths are on the rise at the Arthur Road facility

A rising number of deaths at Arthur Road jail, the latest being the Gateway killer, raises questions about prisoners’ healthcare

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

The death of Uzer Patel, the Gateway killer who was an undertrial at the Arthur Road jail, has triggered a debate on the plight of inmates in the prison. Patel, 27, who was arrested on August 13, 2005 after he attacked and killed a young woman and seriously injured her friend, was found to be HIV positive on the very day he was brought to the jail. Sources said at least 50 undertrials, mainly infected with HIV+, have similarly died at Arthur Road jail or JJ Hospital over the last two years.

Patients and their relatives allege that the frequent deaths are a result of jail authorities’ indifference to the medical needs of prisoners. In an environment where infections spread easily, given the conditions in which inmates are housed, not enough attention is apparently paid to the need for regular check-ups and medication. In Patel’s case, though the post-mortem report is not in, he was diagnosed as suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis, considered the most infectious form of the disease.


Patients like Patel are required to visit JJ Hospital regularly for checkups or to receive medication. Jail authorities claim the visits are arranged as and when needed, but several of the prisoners and their families allege that HIV patients do not get the treatment they need. “They don’t send inmates to JJ hospital regularly because of shortage of manpower and the patient suffers as a result,’’ said the relative of an undertrial.

Deputy inspector general, prisons, (south region), S P Yadav refuted the charge saying the jail was providing Anti-Retro Viral (ART) treatment for
all AIDS patients. “There are around 20 inmates who are HIV positive. They are being treated as per the medical prescription,’’ Yadav said.

However, sources within the jail said there are over 30 inmates suffering from HIV whose health is deteriorating. To top it all, Arthur Road jail has a two-storey hospital without facilities such as an X-ray machine or ECG to examine a patient in an emergency. Even the medicine stock is lim
ited to first-aid material and drugs used to treat minor ailments. For any major illness, the prison is entirely dependent on JJ hospital or relatives of prisoners for medicines.

DIG Yadav said the charges were unfounded considering many inmates who died in the jail or hospital did not belong to this jail. “Undertrials from all jails in Maharashtra are brought to J J Hospital for better treatment and they are kept in our jails.,’’ Yadav said.


The Times of India, August 31, 2006

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

GRP men in dock for extortion

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Three Government Railway Police (GRP) constables have been suspended pending an inquiry after an internal probe found them guilty of extorting Rs 200 from a senior citizen a month after the 7/11 train blasts. The constables allegedly threatened the victim to pay up or face arrest.

Constables Hatankar, Kapse and Khandale were suspended by railway police commissioner Suresh Khopde.

The constables were attached to the Ghatkopar GRP headquarters and were deployed at Andheri station for bandobast duty when the incident took place on August 10. They were suspended last week.

The victim, Govandi resident and unani medicine maker Hakeem Jabbar (65), boarded a Churchgate-bound train from Borivli. At Andheri, he
alighted to transfer to the Harbour Line as he wanted to go to CST.

The bearded Jabbar, who was carrying a small rexine bag containing unani medicines, was stopped by the three GRP constables who frisked him. The constables then asked Jabbar whether he had a licence to manufacture the medicines. He told the policemen that his family had been involved in the business for the past 45 years. The constables then allegedly demanded Rs 1,000 from Jabbar in exchange for not arresting him, but settled for the Rs 200 he had on him.

Meanwhile, the number of cases of Muslims alleging harassment has been on the rise since the 7/11 blasts, though not all are reported.

A member of the Nashik district Raza Academy, who did not wish to be identified, alleged that a policeman destroyed harmless equipment
he was carrying at Andheri station on Friday. “I had come to Mumbai for just a day and, therefore, didn’t want to waste my time sitting in a police station and lodging a complaint,’’ he said.

Regarding the incident, he said, “I have an electronics shop. I was carrying a horn tuner that had several wires. A policeman stopped me on the bridge and asked if it was a bomb. I handed it over to him to examine and he promptly smashed it on the
ground and agreed that it was not a bomb.’’

The tuner costs Rs 100 to Rs 500. Ansari also said the constable wanted money and he happened to be carrying a lot of cash. “I refused to pay the money and after half-anhour the constable let me go.’’ Another man, Ahmed Ansari, said he left a flat after being harassed by a landlord simply because he hailed from Malegaon. “The landlord even asked for my biodata, photographs and other details and asked me not to tell anyone he was doing this. I was so fed up that I left that flat.’’

Ansari, who was staying in central Mumbai, said the landlord would show him clippings of stories related to the arms haul near Auranagabad. Ansari, who holds a master’s in computer science, is now employed with a multinational company in another city.

The Times of India, August 30, 2006

GRP men in dock for extortion

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Three Government Railway Police (GRP) constables have been suspended pending an inquiry after an internal probe found them guilty of extorting Rs 200 from a senior citizen a month after the 7/11 train blasts. The constables allegedly threatened the victim to pay up or face arrest.

Constables Hatankar, Kapse and Khandale were suspended by railway police commissioner Suresh Khopde.

The constables were attached to the Ghatkopar GRP headquarters and were deployed at Andheri station for bandobast duty when the incident took place on August 10. They were suspended last week.

The victim, Govandi resident and unani medicine maker Hakeem Jabbar (65), boarded a Churchgate-bound train from Borivli. At Andheri, he
alighted to transfer to the Harbour Line as he wanted to go to CST.

The bearded Jabbar, who was carrying a small rexine bag containing unani medicines, was stopped by the three GRP constables who frisked him. The constables then asked Jabbar whether he had a licence to manufacture the medicines. He told the policemen that his family had been involved in the business for the past 45 years. The constables then allegedly demanded Rs 1,000 from Jabbar in exchange for not arresting him, but settled for the Rs 200 he had on him.

Meanwhile, the number of cases of Muslims alleging harassment has been on the rise since the 7/11 blasts, though not all are reported.

A member of the Nashik district Raza Academy, who did not wish to be identified, alleged that a policeman destroyed harmless equipment
he was carrying at Andheri station on Friday. “I had come to Mumbai for just a day and, therefore, didn’t want to waste my time sitting in a police station and lodging a complaint,’’ he said.

Regarding the incident, he said, “I have an electronics shop. I was carrying a horn tuner that had several wires. A policeman stopped me on the bridge and asked if it was a bomb. I handed it over to him to examine and he promptly smashed it on the
ground and agreed that it was not a bomb.’’

The tuner costs Rs 100 to Rs 500. Ansari also said the constable wanted money and he happened to be carrying a lot of cash. “I refused to pay the money and after half-anhour the constable let me go.’’ Another man, Ahmed Ansari, said he left a flat after being harassed by a landlord simply because he hailed from Malegaon. “The landlord even asked for my biodata, photographs and other details and asked me not to tell anyone he was doing this. I was so fed up that I left that flat.’’

Ansari, who was staying in central Mumbai, said the landlord would show him clippings of stories related to the arms haul near Auranagabad. Ansari, who holds a master’s in computer science, is now employed with a multinational company in another city.

The Times of India, August 30, 2006

Friday, August 25, 2006

Masood Azhar trained 7/11 bombers, says ATS

KNOW HIM? ATS chief Krish Pal Raghuvanshi displays the sketch of the only body that lies unclaimed at Sion hospital after the 7/11 blasts
KNOW HIM? ATS chief Krish Pal Raghuvanshi displays the sketch of the only body that lies unclaimed at Sion hospital after the 7/11 blasts


Mateen
Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Investigators probing the 7/11 train bombing case seem to have identified the terror outfit behind the blasts.

Pakistani national Mohammed Riyaz, who was nabbed from Wadala, has told the police that the blasts were carried out with a special team of militants trained by Maulana Masood Azhar, police sources said.


Azhar, who was released by the Indian government on December 29, 1999 after Indian Airlines flight IC-814 was hijacked, has formed a special team comprising hardcore militants from Pakistan backed organisations Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). “The group was trained in executing sophisticated operations in Mumbai and New Delhi,’’ Riyaz is believed to have told investigators in the ATS.


Riyaz was caught early on Tuesday driving a Maruti 800. The number plate of the car and two other number plates in the car proved to be fake. After nabbing Riyaz, the ATS gunned down his Pakistani associate Mohammed Ali alias Abu Osama in a deserted building at Antop Hill. According to an investigating officer, Riyaz told them that Osama was part of the special group trained by Azhar. The militants were being trained in operating firearms, explosives, bomb making, decision making and selection of places
to execute operations for the last three years.

Krish Pal Raghuvashi, joint commissioner of police (ATS), said Riyaz, a JeM operative, had come to India seven to eight months ago. “He entered the country via Kashmir and went to New Delhi, then Uttaranchal. He promised an unemployed person, Jitendra Singh, a job in a Gulf country and took his documents and identity to land a job as a fit
ter with Discon company at an industrial area in Dehradun. However, he had been missing since June,’’ Raghuvanshi said. The ATS is in touch with the Dehradun police to get more information.

Sources said Riyaz had entered the country along with one Abu Imran. After reaching Kashmir, while Riyaz left for New Delhi, Imran stayed in Kashmir. Imran was killed in an exchange of fire with the Army.


Riyaz told the police that he did not know Osama very well. Osama was killed in an encounter on August 22 at Antop Hill. The police had also recovered a world map, a map of Maharashtra and of Mumbai from Osama. The Mumbai map was marked at five places—the western line, Bandra, Byculla, SW (the police presume it’s Siddhivinayak temple) and Anushakti Nagar where Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) is located.


“Riyaz told us that he and Osama were waiting for instructions for further action,’’ police sources said.

The Times of India, August 25, 2006

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Following a pattern: After blasts comes the encounter

Police investigate at Antop Hill


Mateen
Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Tuesday’s encounter at Antop Hill seemed to follow a familiar pattern. After every bomb blast in the city, the Mumbai police gun down an ‘LeT operative’ and recover arms and ammunition from a Maruti 800 car. This time it was no different.

While the dead “terrorist’’ Abu Osama’s associate Mohammed Riyaz, also a Pakistani national, has been arrested, the police expressed its inability to disclose why the two accused were carrying firearms and ammunition. The police said the duo entered the country separately from Bangladesh.


“We are interrogating Riyaz to find out if he knew the two suspected Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) operatives caught by the BSF in Kolkata last week,’’ an officer from the anti terrorism squad (ATS) said. A government servant who stays near building number 115, where the encounter took place, said he had seen an Indica parked outside the building for the last three days.


Police sources said after the
three bomb blasts in the city in 2002-03, the Andheri crime intelligence unit (CIU) officers led by Pradip Sharma had gunned down three alleged terrorists near Goregaon flyover on March 29, 2003. Those killed were identified as Abu Sultan who, Sharma said, was Lashkar-e-Taiba’s southern India commander. The two others were Iqbal Vani, a Srinagar resident and Abu Javed. Sultan and Javed were residents of Lahore in Pakistan. The police seized an AK-56, Rs five lakh in cash, timers, switches, detonators and the Maruti 800 car they were travelling in. The police had said they had been behind the two Ghatkopar blasts and the Vile Parle blast.

The police are now trying to determine whether Riyaz has any links with JeM militants Mohammed Zubair and Mohammed Sohail, who were arrested by the BSF on August 12 while trying to cross the Icchamati river in a boat. Zubair had allegedly told the investigators that he was supposed to meet a person in Sealdah to collect air tickets to go to Mumbai.
The police is also yet to establish any link between Osama and those arrested in the 7/11 train bombing case.

Inspector Dilip Patil said after the Zaveri Bazaar and the Gateway of India bomb blasts which killed around 58 people, the crime branch had shot down two persons—Hasan Ahmed, a Hyderabad resident and Nisar alias Nasir—while they were travelling in a Maruti 800. Nasir’s father was a Yemeni national and Nasir was said to be an LeT operative. The police seized dozens of gelatin sticks, explosive, firearms from the duo’s Mira Road residence.

The Times of India, August 23, 2006

Monday, August 21, 2006

Versova money bag foxes cops



Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: An unclaimed bag, found on the terrace of a Versova building and believed to contain Rs 20-50 lakh in cash, has set investigators in Mumbai police working overtime.

The bag hidden under a water tank was found last month by a sweeper working in Godavari Co-operative
Housing Society, which houses several wellknown individuals. Pradeepkumar Ramesh was sweeping the terrace of the 11-storey building on July 23 when he chanced upon the bag. He informed the building’s secretary Sanjay Arora, who took possession of the money along with two other residents. That was the last time anyone heard about it until the Versova police station received a tip-off about the incident on August 17.

Following a two-day investigation, police have now arrested three office-bearers of Godavari society and recovered Rs 3.70
lakh in cash. But they believe that this is a small portion of the money found in the bag handed over by the sweeper. The police are now working on several angles, including the theory that the bag may have been dumped by a hawala operator trying to evade detection.

The Godavari building, which has 55 flats, is known for its celebrity residents who include film producer Tulsi Ramsay, actress Reema Sen, a senior vice-pres
ident of a private news channel and a retired principal of Bhavan’s college. Singer Sonu Nigam and TV anchor Shekhar Suman have also stayed in this building in the past. The police are likely to summon several residents of the building for questioning.
Sources from Versova police station said Pradeepkumar, 25, had informed the building secretary, Arora, immediately on finding the unattended bag.


Office-bearers may have shared spoils, say police

Mumbai: Sweeper Pradeepkumar Ramesh, 25, had informed the Godavari building secretary Sanjay Arora immediately on finding the unattended bag. “Arora told Ramesh to bring it to his office. Ramesh was afraid that it may contain a bomb or some other explosive, so he was escorted by security supervisor Darshan Yadav when he delivered the bag,’’ said inspector Arun Borude of Versova police station.


Ramesh has told the police that when the three of them opened up the bag in the society’s office, they were shocked to find so much cash. Arora then instructed the other two to leave the bag with Rupeshkumar Choksi who is the society’s treasurer. “Ramesh kept telling Arora to inform the police. But Arora didn’t listen to him,’’ Borude said. The police suspect that Arora and Choksi met the chairman of the society, Amrit Kunder, the same night and distributed
the money among themselves.

Two days later, Yadav was sacked by the trio. But no effort was subsequently made to trace the owner of the bag. Following the tip-off, Arora, Choksi and Kunder were brought to the police station for questioning. The sweeper was also summoned to corroborate the facts. Subsequently, the three accused produced Rs 3.70 lakh in cash.

“The police then arrested the trio and booked them under sections 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence or giving false information to screen offenders), 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust) and 34 (common intention in an act of crime) of the Indian Penal Code,’’ said additional commissioner of police (west region) Bipin Bihari. The trio were subsequently released on bail of Rs 10,000 each.


However, the police have still not recovered the original bag. Of the three, Arora runs two chemical factories in Daman and Diu, Choksi owns a pharma unit and Kunder has a construction business under the banner Malkam Constructions Pvt Ltd. In an effort to track down the owner of the bag, the police are now checking if any tenants quit the building in the recent past under shady circumstances. “Earlier, terrorists usedcongested localities but now the scenario has changed. Many of them come from a strong background and stay in posh buildings to avoid suspicion,’’ an officer said.


The Times of India, August 21, 2006

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

ISI was wary of me: 7/11 suspect

Kamal Ahmed

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Zameer Shaikh, one of the six people arrested in the July 11 train blasts case, had asked his arms trainers in a Bhulwara camp in Pakistan why they were targeting innocent people, according to a crime branch officer who had questioned Shaikh.

On becoming suspicious due to Shaikh’s queries, the trainers reported him to Pakistan’s ISI agents, who grilled him about whether he was an Indian intelligence agent sent to infiltrate a LeT training camp. Shaikh reportedly made these admissions to a crime branch officer who had questioned him before his arrest.

Shaikh said he had gone to Pakistan via Iran to attend a 21-day camp. “He said he was grilled by top Pakistan intelligence officers for three days after he asked about why militants targeted innocent people. He was grilled about any connection with Indian intelligence agencies or police,’’ a crime branch officer said.

Police said Shaikh was al
lowed to return to the camp, but a strict watch was kept on him after that.

Meanwhile, the interrogation of alleged SIMI members Shabbir Ahmed (36) and Nafees Ahmed (29) has revealed that
Nafees went to Bangalore to do surveillance. “Shabbir and Nafees were trained in Pakistan in June 2003. After they returned, Nafees, a Govandi resident, received word that a Shivaji Nagar resident, Aziz, who arranged their Pakistan trip, had been picked up by the police. Nafees was instructed to leave for Bangalore till matters cooled down,’’ senior inspector Udaysingh Rathore told TOI.

“On the instructions of a man known as Sufi in Dubai, Nafees then collected information about Silicon city and Vidhan Bhavan (Bangalore). Nafees arranged maps, descriptions of sites, information on entry and exit points and security systems. He sent this to Sufi via the internet,’’ said Rathore.

A Std X dropout from a Malegaon school, Shabbir has a black belt in martial arts and worked in Saudi Arabia for three years in the ‘90s. Later, he opened Ghazal store and Marshal Battery shop in Malegaon.

On Monday, his elder brother, Jameel Ahmed, met the Ghatkopar crime branch. Jameel, who runs a powerloom, said his brother has a wife and four children. “I don’t know . what to . I don’t think Shab bir was involved in all this. He would collect money for the poor and help them get medical treatment,’’ Jameel added.

Black powder seized from accused is RDX: Cops
The black powder seized from Kamal Ahmed, a suspect in the 7/11 blasts, is high intensity RDX, a report submitted by the state forensic science laboratory revealed. The Bihar police and the Maharashtra ATS personnel had on July 20 arrested Ahmed and his associate, Khalid Shaikh, from Basupatti village in Madhubani district, Bihar. The police had seized 500 gm of black powder kept in a polythene bag from them. It was sent to the forensic science laboratory for analysis. “We received the report on August 10. The black powder is RDX,’’ said ATS chief KP Raghuvanshi.

The Times of India, August 16, 2006

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

We bribed BSF jawan: LeT suspects

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The two alleged Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) members who were arrested on Friday have reportedly told interrogators that three years ago they had been intercepted at the Indo-Nepal border while returning to India from Pakistan. However, they managed to bribe a Border Security Force (BSF) jawan with gifts and entered Uttar Pradesh.

Shabbir Ahmed (36), a Std X dropout, and Nafees Ahmed (29), a science graduate from Somaiya College, were arrested by the Ghatkopar crime branch. The police have alleged that they were sent to Pakistan for arms training by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) via Dubai and returned to India via Nepal.


Police said the duo told interrogators they were sent to Pakistan by Shivaji Nagar resident Aziz, who is on the run. Two fin
anciers, Riyaz Shah alias Bhatkar, a resident of Pipe Road, Kurla, and Tarique Sattar, a resident of Kurla Taximen’s Colony, are also on the run. The three are also said to have received training in Pakistan. It was the second module reportedly sent to Pakistan for training. The first module, busted by crime branch unit-II, had gone to Pakistan via Iran.

Aziz worked for Pakistan’s ISI on a ‘more recruits, more money’ basis, according to the interrogation’s revelations. He had spotted Govandi resident Nafees at a SIMI meet before the organisation was banned and recruited him. Aziz then went to Malegaon and met alleged Simi member Munawwar Shaikh (29), an arts graduate, and offered him a training trip. Munawwar, the police said, refused to go to Pakistan, but suggested that Shabbir might be interested. Aziz contacted Shabbir at the latter’s shop, Ghazal Store, and recruited him.


Police said Shabbir and Nafees left Mumbai for Dubai separately in 2003, but were received and housed there by a common man known as Sufi. Visas for Paksitan were put on their passports and, after seven days in a Dubai lodge they were sent to Pakistan.


When the duo arrived in Karachi, a young man who again identified himself as Sufi took
them in a closed-door jeep to the forests outside Karachi where they reached a barrack comprising of two rooms and a kitchen. Two more youth were in an adjacent room but they were asked not to have personal interactions.

“The training programme began the next day. Three lecturers spoke, trained them in firearms and making chemical and other
high-intensity bombs. After completing the 26-day training, they returned to Dubai where they again met Sufi, who instructed them to use Nepal to reach India,’’ said an investigator.

Sufi gave $500 to Nafees and Rs 13,000 to Shabbir. “The duo stayed in a hotel for 10 days and did some shopping. After reaching Kathmandu, they took the road route to Baharaich, UP. However, they were stopped by two BSF jawans who made a lot of inquiries. Shabbir then gave gifts to a BSF jawan and was allowed to enter Indian territory. He does not remember the name of the jawan,’’ said an investigator.


Shabbir then went to Malegaon and Nafees came to his Govandi residence in September 2003. After a month, Nafees received an e-mail from the Dubai Sufi informing him that Aziz had been picked up by the crime branch in connection with the Mulund blast.


Two more held in Terror Tuesday probe
Mumbai: In another round of arrests in the 7/11 probe, the Kandivli crime branch on Sunday arrested two more alleged members of the banned organisation, Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). The two were booked under sections 10 and 13 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. The accused, Najeeb Wakali (42), from Mahim, and Irfan Sayyed (25), from Santacruz, were remanded to police custody till August 28. They are believed to be aides of Mohammed Chipa and Feroz Ghaswala, who were arrested in New Delhi with RDX a few months ago.


The police alleged that Chipa and Ghaswala, both trained in Pakistan in operating firearms and making bombs, had also trained Wakali and Irfan in Mumbai. Sources said Sayyed worked in a call centre at Malad. However, the investigating officer, Milind Khetle, said investigators were still busy carrying out verifications.

The Times of India, August 15, 2006

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Air ticketing records probed

Security has been beefed up at the airport

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: In the wake of the 7/11 attacks, the police is conducting checks at air ticketing agencies and going through lists of travellers who had individually booked tickets on international flights between July 1 and 15 this year, sources said.

The police has been carrying out combing operations in various neighbourhoods, checking visitors at lodges and hotels, and screening travel agents who have helped a lot of people procure visas, especially to the Gulf countries. The decision to scrutinise the records of ticketing agencies is part of the same plan intended to narrow down on suspects involved in the bombings.

Akbar Tours and Travels is one such ticketing agency which the police visited this week. A source from this agency said that a crime branch team had visited all four offices of Akbar Tours and Travels at Fort, Andheri, Dadar and Crawford Market early this week and asked employees for details of all those who got tickets issued for travelling abroad in the first two weeks of July.


The team had sought photocopies of passports, boarding card details, destinations, etc. The policemen told the agencies that records were being examined as a routine check. The central government had, a few years ago, made it compulsory for air ticketing agencies to maintain such records. But travel agents said it was the first time they were asked to submit records on such a scale.


“The cops wanted these records to be submitted to Matunga police station. One of the policemen had introduced himself as Ashok Pawar,’’ a source said.

However, D D Kamalakar, deputy commissioner of police (crime), denied that the crime branch was checking records of those who went abroad last month. “We have not asked anyone to submit records. It must be the local police station,’’ he said. However, he confirmed the presence of an officer by the name of Ashok Pawar in the crime branch’s Antop Hill unit. Speaking to this newspaper, Pawar later said that he had visited the Akbar Tours and Travels office but did not ask for documents.

Senior police officers said the exercise was routine and records were being used to crosscheck the identity of the travellers. However, there were complaints from families that the police are knocking on their doors late at night to verify the antecedents of their relatives. Early this week, the city police had asked families of three engineers to submit photocopies of the passports of three men who had travelled to Saudi Arabia.


The Times of India, August 12, 2006

Friday, August 11, 2006

Cops call on job-seekers to Saudi Arabia

Knock on three engineers’ doors is another example of police profiling, say members of minority community


Mateen
Hafeez | TNN


Mumbai: The families of three engineers, who have been to Saudi Arabia in the recent past “to look for jobs’’, have been called to police stations and asked to submit photocopies of documents like passports and ration cards.

The three persons include a civil engineer from Nagpada and the other two are also from neighbouring areas, police officials have told TOI.


Policemen visited the residences of the three engineers on Tuesday and made inquiries about their visits to Saudi Arabia. TOI learnt the men were keen to know about the agent who sent them abroad, their salaries, the type of work they were doing here and the kind of job they were hunting for, the addresses of the companies they had got in touch with and their contact numbers.


Officials at Nagpada police station, however, said they did not make any house call on Tuesday. “They could be officers from the
Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS). ATS officers come to our police station frequently and seek information about many people,’’ a police official said. Members of the minority community, however, say it’s precisely visits like this that has raised apprehensions of “police profiling’’. Though senior officials, including commissioner of police A N Roy, have denied any such practice, members of the community say they are being forced to live under the shadow of suspicion.

It has been exactly a month since when seven bombs went off on local trains, killing nearly 200 people and injuring over 400 others. The police in Mumbai, over this last one month, have got the cus
tody of 14 people. But not one of these arrests has been able to guide them to any “concrete information’’ on the blasts, senior officials have admitted.

Besides the arrests, officials have questioned hundreds of individuals, often detaining people for days. There have been complaints of officials not following basic procedures, like giving the people they are questioning access to legal help. Lawyers, in particular, have been vocal about violation of basic human rights.


A couple of the arrests have also raised eyebrows for other reasons. Abdul Hameed was arrested from his Poonch home in Jammu and Kashmir. Officials here initially claimed he was one of their prize catches. But the man, who was working as a security guard here and never had any criminal record, was booked for “robbing a milkman of Rs 70,000’’ five months ago. Another youth, arrested from Bhopal, has been booked on five-year-old charges of hacking.

The Times of India, August 11, 2006