UP Madrasa students detained, UP Minority Commission calls it ‘discriminatory’ and ‘humiliating’

The Uttar Pradesh Minorities Commission has called for punitive measures against the Railway Protection Force (RPF) officials who detained madrasa students in April.
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The Uttar Pradesh Minorities Commission has condemned the detention of Madrasa students, and the arrest of their teachers as ‘discriminatory’ and ‘humiliating’. The commission has demanded action against the RPF sub-inspector and the other staff involved in the case. 

The incident occurred on April 24 2023, when 14 students from Purnia, Bihar, were travelling to Ghatampur Madrasa in Kanpur after celebrating Eid. The RPF detained the students for not having the required documents and subsequently sent them to a juvenile home for seven days in custody. A report by The Hindu states that the students were detained despite producing valid documents. They were also reportedly put in a ward which was shared by people with criminal backgrounds. This, the commission notes, was humiliating and discriminatory, and “highlights the action taken in view of their apparel and their names.”

The letter, dated May 30, was written by the Secretary Shakil Ahmed Siddiqui to Senior Divisional Security Commissioner, Railway Protection Force (RPF), North Central Railways, Prayagraj Division. 

This news comes not far after a similar case where the Government Railway Police (GRP) in Manmad and Bhusawal recently officially closed two criminal cases they had started against five madrasa teachers who were arrested in May 2023 on allegations of trafficking 59 Muslim children from Bihar to Maharashtra. The teachers, who were jailed for four weeks following their arrest, have been cleared of all charges, as per a report in the Indian Express. As per reports, the incident had taken place on May 30 2023, when 59 children between the ages of 8 to 17 were travelling by train to Pune and Sangli from Bihar’s Araria district to study at madrasas.

A senior officer acted on ‘intelligence’ and contacted the juvenile justice board and the Railway Protection Force (RPF), after which an NGO reportedly took the children to Bhusawal and Manmad stations. The teachers who had been with them had been booked under 370 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The Indian Express reported that the children were placed in shelter homes in Nashik and Bhusawal for 12 days. Worried and angry parents of the children demanded their children be returned. The Nashik district administration at last had arranged for the children’s return to Bihar.

The summary closure report now submitted a year later states that there was no sign of ‘human trafficking’ as the officers had earlier thought. 

However, the case and the whole process has seemingly had a horrifying effect on the local residents of Araria and families of those accused and detained. Mohammed Shahnawaz Haroon, a Sangli resident, talking about the trauma caused by the case, “Though people knew the cases were false, the FIRs and arrests changed perceptions, causing us social and psychological suffering.”

Their advocate Niyaz Lodhi, who represented the teachers, has said that the five teachers should now demand compensation, adding that such false cases impact the department’s credibility as well. 


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