Claim About 122 Muslims Acquitted After 20 Years In Prison Is Misleading

BOOM found that these men arrested in December 2001 were not languishing in jail for last 20 years.

A viral graphic claiming that a Gujarat court has acquitted 122 Muslim men after they had spent 20 years in jail for alleged links to banned outfit Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), is misleading.

BOOM found that while a Gujarat court on March 6 did acquit 122 Muslim men arrested in 2001 for alleged links with SIMI, all of them were out on bail and not languishing in jail for the last 20 years as claimed on social media. Initially, 127 men from different states of India had been arrested by the Surat city police in December 2001 for participating in a meeting allegedly held by SIMI. Five of them have died during the course of the trial.

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The viral graphic has a photo of a group of Muslim men. The text on the graphic says, '20 years in prison for the crime never committed. Gujarat court acquits 122 Muslim men arrested in Surat in 2001 under UAPA for allegedly being members of banned outfit SIMI. The court said, "Prosecution failed to produce cogent, reliable and satisfactory evidence that they belonged to SIMI". This is how the judiciary functions in the world's largest democracy'.

View the post below and check its archived version here.

The post is viral on Twitter and Facebook.

Actor Swara Bhaskar tweeted the same graphic with a caption reading 'Let's simplify this. More than a hundred Muslims spent 20 years in jail or under trial over false terror charges.. 20 years!!!!Let. That. Sink. In'.

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Fact Check

BOOM went through several news reports regarding the Gujarat court judgement.

A report published in the Indian Express on March 7, 2021, stated that a Chief Judicial Magistrate court in Surat had on Saturday acquitted all the 127 accused booked in 2001 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for participating in a meeting allegedly held by the banned outfit SIMI. The court had said that 'the evidence against the accused was "not reliable or satisfactory enough",' stated the Express article.

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"Of the 127, 111 were present in court on Saturday. Seven are dead, five are in jail on other charges, while four are bedridden. Almost all of them spent 10 months to one year in jail, subsequently getting bail from the Gujarat High Court," the Express report stated.

According to a Time Of India report, most of the accused had spent at least nine months in jail before securing bail.

Another Indian Express report of March 8 also states that the accused got bail from Gujarat almost one year after their arrest in 2001. The report further states that all those who have been acquitted in the case were out on bail, except five accused who are in jails for other offences.

Although they were not in prison for 20 years the accused are reported to have faced financial difficulties and social stigma.

What Is The Case?

The Surat police on December 28, 2001, had arrested 127 people from 10 different states, who had gathered at the city's Rajeshree Hall under the banner of the All-India Minority Education Board. The arrests were made around two months after the September 9 terrorist attacks of 2001 in the United States.

The long-drawn legal battle finally came to an end on March 6, 2021.

Updated On: 2021-03-09T15:13:01+05:30
Claim :   20 years in prison for the crime never committed
Claimed By :  Social media posts
Fact Check :  Misleading
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