M A I N   N E W S

Mahesh Bhatt leads Muslim protest
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, August 9
With the Mumbai police summoning scores of Muslim youths for questioning in the wake of the serial bomb blasts, community leaders are coming together to protest, what they call, harassment of innocent people.

The chorus against the police action is being led by filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt whose colleague-choreographer Hameed Khan was summoned for questioning after he returned from an assignment in Dubai. “None of the Hindus in the group were questioned, only Khan. It is clear that Muslims are being targeted,” Bhatt said.

According to Bhatt, policemen arrived at Khan's door and demanded that he present himself at the local police station yesterday. Khan later told the police that he had gone to Dubai for shooting and also provided information on who he met there.

Police officials on the condition of anonymity say they have been asked to question every Muslim who visited West Asia for short stays in the past three years. This follows alleged confessions by suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba militants that several youth who went to West Asia on the pretext of finding jobs moved to Iran and Pakistan for training in making bombs.

However, with pressure mounting on the government, Mumbai Police Commissioner A.N. Roy issued a letter to a local newspaper stating that no directive had been issued to this effect.

Some executives with multinationals are known to have protested with senior political leaders in Maharashtra after they were called for questioning. Some of them have even spoken of approaching the Minorities Commission.

Some protesters said: “There seems to be an agenda against Muslims in particular,” says Syed Akhtar who heads an activist group, Secular Activists’ Watch. He said the police was not able to assess who was guilty and was detaining people indiscriminately.




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