AP High Court reserves order on aid to falsely accused

The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday suspended its earlier order that struck down the financial compensation provided by the state government to Muslim youths falsely accused in the 2007 Mecca Masjid bomb blasts.

The fresh order has come as a relief to the recipients of the monetary relief and, more importantly, to the state government which was planning to challenge the September 16 order in the Supreme Court.

Acting on a plea by some of the falsely accused men, the court said the Supreme Court had, in the past, ruled in favour of governments deciding to give such compensation at their own discretion.

The case will be heard again in two weeks. Earlier on September 16, a division bench of the high court set aside a state government order awarding compensation to about 70 Muslims from the old city who were arrested soon after the blasts but were later let off as they were found to be innocent.

The government gave the compensation in December 2011 following the State Minorities Commission finding that the arrested men were tortured in police custody. Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy had said that the government felt it was necessary to rehabilitate the “wronged youth”.

The state government had paid a compensation of Rs 3 lakh each to 20 people and Rs 20,000 each to 50 others, all belonging to Hyderabad.

 Nine people were killed in the blast that ripped through the historic Mecca Masjid in the heart of the city during Friday prayers on May 18, 2007. Five more were killed in the subsequent police firing on protesters outside the mosque.

Soon after the blast, the police had arrested several Muslim youths from the old city and filed cases against them. However, a CBI probe proved their innocence. A fact-finding committee of the State Minorities Commission had, in its report, had concluded that the police tortured the youths.

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