Muslim body moves HC challenging 'defamatory' Mumbai police circular

The Bombay High Court today admitted a petition filed by Jamait-e-Islami Hind questioning a Mumbai police circular which alleges that Jamait's offshoot, Girl's Islamic Organisation (GIO), brainwashes young Muslim girls and trains them for "jihad".

A bench headed by Justice S C Dharmadhikari asked the Maharashtra government to explain how the police circular was leaked to the media which had published its content.

The police department filed an affidavit denying that it had leaked the contents of the circular to the media and added that it would be difficult to find out how media persons got access to the matter.

Jamait-e-Islami Hind, an Islamic organisation, pleaded that it had promoted GIO for the benefit of young Muslim girls.

The Jamait said that in the third week of March 2013, the special branch of city police had issued a circular which said the objective of GIO is "not only to make Muslim girls aware about their religion but also brainwash them and train them to be jihadi."

"The circular was per se defamatory and was intended to spoil GIO's reputation," the Jamait alleged in the petition and sought an inquiry to find out who is responsible for coming out with this circular and also on what basis it was issued.

The petition sought guidelines to verify information before issuing circulars based on them. It urged the court to grant compensation to the Jamait as it deemed fit and reasonable on the ground that its reputation had been damaged.

Public Prosecutor Purnima Kantharia told the court that police had not leaked the circular and they did not know who had given the information to the media.

Kantharia said the circular was sent to the heads of 37 departments in police administration which in turn gave to the lower rank officers and hence it would be difficult to find out how and where its contents had leaked.

The petitioner urged that the circular had wrongly alleged that GIO was misguiding young Muslim girls by making them religious bigots and training them for jihad.

The Jamait said its fundamental rights had been violated by the respondents who had alleged in a section of the media that the circular had linked the organisation and its offshoot (GIO) with terrorist activities.

The respondents include the state government, the Mumbai Police Commissioner, the Principal Home Secretary and the Centre.

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