No amount can bring back my 14 years, my father and mother: Amir on Rs 5 lakh compensation order from NHRC
Mumtaz Alam, IndiaTomorrow.net,
New Delhi, Jan 23: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has ordered the Delhi government to pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation to Mohammad Amir Khan who remained in jail for 14 years before being acquitted in 18 terror cases. While welcoming the NHRC order, Amir said the government and state machinery need to take lots of more actions, compensation is just one step.
Delhi resident Amir was just 18 when he was picked in 1998 for various terror bomb blasts. He languished in jail for 14 years and ultimately released in 2012 after he was acquitted by court in 18 of 20 terror blast cases that took place in Delhi and its adjoining states in 1996-1997.
The rights body took up his case suo motu in Feb 2014. It issued many show cause notices to the government and the last one was issued in Jan 2016. It passed order for compensation in Nov 2016. However, more than two months have passed, the government has not implemented the order.
In an exclusive interview with IndiaTomorrow.net over phone from BITS, Pilani (Rajasthan) where he was invited for a talk, Mohammad Amir Khan while welcoming the NHRC order said he needs a respectable job more than money.
“I welcome the NHRC order and I take it as a first step. Many other steps are yet to be taken. I am not the only victim (of false implication in terror cases). Like me, there are many victims acquitted of terror charges who are entitled to such monetary relief,” said he.
He was 18 when picked by police in 1998.
Slapped with charges in 20 terror blasts cases.
Languished in jail for 14 years as under-trial.
He was acquitted by court in 18 cases.
He was released from jail in 2012.
He said no monetary support can bring back his 14 years lost inside jails and his father who died of shock when he was in jail.
“As for the compensation of Rs 5 lakh, whether it is 5 lakh or 50 lakh or 5 crore, they are too little to cover the damages of lost 14 years. No one can bring back my father and my mother. No one can bring back the days and years when I was to make my careers to fulfil my dreams. There is no compensation and cost of 14 years. However, it’s true that whatever monetary help I get would be helpful in extending support to my life,” said Amir.
“I also want to tell that I need a self-respected job more than monetary support. And I have been demanding it (since I was acquitted). I think that the responsibility and step that the government should have taken much earlier has now been taken by the NHRC and I hope some more positive steps ahead. What steps the Delhi govt. takes taking this order seriously is to be seen.”
NHRC observations in compensation order
In its compensation order, the NHRC said rule of law must not become an instrument of oppression.
“Within the parameters of such authority, rule of law must not become an instrument of oppression and give legitimacy to the conduct of police authorities which grossly violate the distinct human rights of its citizens. It transpires from the case record that the victim was subjected to State action only on suspicion. Not an iota of evidence was produced in the court to connect him with any of the alleged crimes,” said the NHRC.
“The Commission is of the considered view that the sufferings faced by the victim has been long and arduous and the damage caused to him by the conduct of the State Authorities is immense and exemplary. In the circumstances, the State must compensate the damage caused by its officers to the victim,” it further said.
In response to the NHRC notice, the Delhi Police had submitted its reply but the rights body did not find any merit in the reply.
“The Commission has considered the matter. The reply to the show cause notice is not based on merits. The Show Cause Notice was issued on the point of acquittal of the victim in 18 cases by the courts and long incarceration of the victim in the prison. The Commission is not concerned with the appeals pending in two cases. The fact is that the victim had to spend 14 years long incarceration in the prison for no reason violating his human rights.”
“In these circumstances, the Commission finds no merits in the report of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Vigilance, Delhi and recommends an amount of Rs.5,00,000/- as interim relief to be paid to the victim. The Chief Secretary, Government of NCT of Delhi is directed to submit the proof of payment made to the victim within a period of six weeks,” said NHRC.
The commission passed the order of compensation on 8 Nov 2016 with a deadline of payment within six weeks. The deadline has crossed but the Delhi government has not implemented the order.
“Compliance of the Commission's recommendation by the concerned authority is awaited,” displays NHRC on its website today (23 Jan 2017).