Owaisi has done no wrong by promising legal aid to terror suspects. Why single him out? - Firstpost
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Owaisi has done no wrong by promising legal aid to terror suspects. Why single him out?

It seems a certain section of the media has forgotten that the concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is enshrined in our legal system.

Asaduddin Owaisi, of the AIMIM, declared on Friday that he will provide legal aid to the five men arrested by NIA in Hyderabad for allegedly being members of an Islamic State module and planning bomb attacks in India. Owaisi said family members of the youth met him and claimed that they are innocent.

"If the youths are innocent, we will fight. We will not keep quiet," Owaisi said while addressing a gathering at the historic Makkah Masjid on the occasion of 'Jumatul Vida' or the last Friday of Ramadan.

Asaduddin Owaisi in a file photo. AFP

Asaduddin Owaisi in a file photo. AFP

Owaisi claimed that he was the first Muslim leader in India to come out openly against IS. He reiterated that IS has nothing to do with Islam. "We never supported terrorism and we will never do it," he said.

Despite Owaisi making it extremely clear that he does not support terrorists, a Times Now anchor focused an entire segment of ‘news’ questioning how Owaisi could help terror suspects.

“He seems to be justifying it, he doesn’t see anything wrong in providing legal aid to families of terror suspects, those who are allegedly associated with Islamic State,” she said at one point. The point being made throughout the segment was that Owaisi’s actions are politically motivated as he wishes to appeal to the Muslim community.

Whether the five arrested youth are members of IS or not is something for the courts to decide. Our judicial system believes in accused being innocent until proven guilty. In fact, that’s why even when crimes are reported in the media, it is always with the tag “allegedly”. And even our judicial system has the provision for giving legal aid to those unable to afford their own lawyers.

Article 39A of the Indian Constitution reads:
“The State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice, on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall, in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities.”

All Owaisi is doing is providing the suspects with a lawyer. That’s not a crime. Trying five youth in the media before they are tried by a court of law will help no one. Running TV ticker statements like “#OwaisiTerrorPolitics to the fore?” only stokes anti-Muslim sentiment at a time when the nation needs to unite beyond religious lines to fight terror.

With inputs from IANS

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