NEW DELHI - Left for years behind the bars, a growing number of Indian Muslim youth are falling victim to the government racial profiling after being falsely targeted in terror charges.
"Muslim youth are charged with terrorism and are later acquitted," said Mohd Shahid of Aligarh Muslim University told Parda Phash news portal on Sunday, September 1.
This destroys them and their families.
Shahid was speaking at a seminar on United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and Muslim Expectations, organized by the Aligarh Movement magazine at the India Islamic Cultural Centre.
Attendants attributed police anti-Muslim discrimination in India to the bureaucratic and police system inherited from the British.
"No change has come in the mindset of police and administration, so nothing can be done till the mindset is changed," Mohammad Adeeb, MP, said
Congress leader Anees Durrani urged Muslim youth who are framed in false terror cases to seek compensation from the government.
Journalist Ashish Khetan shared a similar opinion.
There are many instances where Muslim youths have been wrongly framed in terror cases," Khetan said.
"There should be no politics of victimhood. There should be justice for all, the innocents who are killed in terror incidents and those who are wrongly blamed for it.
There are some 140 million Muslims in Hindu-majority India who have repeatedly complained of being selectively and unfairly targeted by anti-terror police.
In 2012, a wave of Muslim protests sparked across India to denounce the unfair targeting of Muslims in the name of fighting terrorism.
They also accuse authorities of feeding stereotypes about their religion.
According to information obtained under Right to Information (RTI) Act, out of 1,222 under trial in Alipur Central Jail as of December 2011, 530 were Muslims.
Similarly, out of 2,200 under trial in UP's Ghazaibad jail, 530 were Muslims. Data received from other prisons of states are equally disquieting.
Attendants accused the Congress-led UPA government of breaking promises made to the Muslim minority.
"A lot of promises were made when UPA-II came to power in 2009 but there is little implementation of them," said Jasim Mohammad, editor of the Aligarh Movement magazine.
"The government is making joke of Muslims as we have been continuously believing in the Congress," said Farhat Ali Khan, OSD (Officer on Special Duty) of Jamia Urdu.
Film director and social activist Mahesh Bhatt also urged the Congress-led government to fulfill its commitments.
"The core ideology of the Congress is secularism which is not its monopoly but a tradition of our forefathers," he said.
Along with Muslim legal rights, the seminar discussed other issues affecting the religious minority; including unemployment, demanding the implementation of a bill that curbs communal violence against minorities.
Indian Muslims complained decades of social and economic neglect and oppression as well as being discriminated against in all walks of life.
Official figures reveal Muslims log lower educational levels and higher unemployment rates than the Hindu majority and other minorities like Christians and Sikhs.
They account for less than seven percent of public service employees, only five percent of railways workers, around four percent of banking employees and there are only 29,000 Muslims in India's 1.3 million-strong military.
A 2006 report, known as the Sachar Committee report, looked into the socio-economic and educational backwardness of Muslims in the country and suggested various remedial measures.
The recommendations included setting up educational facilities, modernization of madrasahs, creation of job opportunities and steps to increase the community's representation in public services.