The Indian government has rejected the ‘mechanical apology’ being offered by the US for detaining the super star Shahrukh Khan at the airport for 90 minutes too long. The US Deputy Chief of Mission was summoned, and asked to ensure that there are institutional mechanisms in place, so that there is no repeat of such an incident.

Now, may we ask the hyper active and sensitive Indian government to tender apologies—and genuine apology please, not a mechanical one—for detaining (illegally), incarcerating, torturing—in short, destroying and tearing apart the lives of hundreds of its own citizens in supposedly fighting terror.

— The government could do well by starting with apologizing to Md. Amir Khan, who has spent half his life in prisons before 17 of the 19 blasts cases in which he was accused, fell apart because there was simply no evidence against him. Could someone please say sorry to him: for a lost childhood, for his grief-crazed mother’s paralysis, for his heartbroken father’s early death, for his broken, crumbling home.
— Syed Maqbool Shah, surely deserves to be told that someone is apologetic that he had to spend 14 years in high security prisons because the Delhi police falsely claimed recovering the tyre of the stolen car used in the Lajpat Nagar blasts in 1996. In 2010, the courts pronounced Shah innocent. By then all that was left of his life could be bundled in a small pouch: his mercy petition, copies of handwritten letters addressed to all chief ministers of Jammu & Kashmir since 1996, Union home ministers and the International Committee of Red Cross pleading for justice, his jail diaries and a passport size passport photo of 17-year-old Shah, about the time he was arrested.
— Shakeel Ahmed Khan and six others who spent six years in jail after being booked under TADA for conspiring to assassinate BJP leaders MM Joshi and Jagmohan. His family was reduced to penury and survived by donations from a local shrine. Could this humiliation and indignity be ever compensated for? Perhaps not, but does Shakeel’s family at least not deserve a public message of apology from the government?
— Who will pay for the three years lost in solitary cells of eleven men from Rajasthan for allegedly furthering the activities SIMI—allegations which could not stand the scrutiny of evidence.
— While the Andhra Pradesh government has channelized funds of Mecca Masjid administration by way of compensation to some of those wrongfully implicated in the Masjid bombings, an apology is still not forthcoming.
— Dozens of those falsely implicated by the Special Cell of Delhi: Saquib Rehman, Bashir Ahmed Shah, Nazir Ali Sofi, Ghulam Moinuddin Dar, Abdul Majid Bhat, Abdul Qayoom Khan, Birender Kr. Singh (spent over 5 and a half years in jail before being acquitted in 2010); Imran Kirmani (spent 4 and a half years in prison); Gulzar Ahmed Ganai ad Mr. Amin Hajam (3 years). All were accused of being ISI, Laskar e Tayyaba or HUJI operatives and all were acquitted by the courts because either no evidence could be found, or because evidence was concocted. No apology still?

Does anyone, anywhere in the machinery of our government ever feel any remorse when young men like Rashid Hussain are picked up for questioning in serial blasts and when their employers Infosys – otherwise the paragons of corporate social responsibility – refuse to let them return to their jobs? Or when established model Tariq Dar was arrested upon his landing at the international airport; tortured and accused of having LeT links, but charges which the Special cell could not even translate into a chargesheet after keeping Dar in custody for 90 days.

They want an apology—for the wasted years, for the stigma, for the loss of dignity, and yes, for the pain and dehumanization of torture. Is it too much to offer one’s own citizens who have been wronged an apology?

Released by Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association
15th April 2012