March 2000
Attack on Asghar Ali Engineer condemned

"The People's Union for Civil Liberties strongly condemns the dastardly attack on the renowned Islamic scholar, Bohra reformist, and Human Rights activist Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer on Sunday February 13 at the Mumbai airport by the suspected followers of the chief of Bohra priesthood, Syedna. Simultaneously, his residence and office of the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism was also ransacked. The attack on Dr. Engineer was in broad daylight and was witnessed by a large number of persons and security personnel present at the airport.

"Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, who has been a Vice President of the PUCL for a number of years, has dedicated his life for securing liberties granted by the Constitution of India but denied by the Syedna to his followers. Syedna, who run a State within the State, is very intolerant of any opposition to his fiat.

"It is. reported that this incident occurred when Dr. Engineer was on his way back from Bhopal. The brief stop over of the plane at Indoor became very long as the Syedna, who was to enplane from there, was late and the aircraft was detained for more than an hour to wait for him. The passengers protested against this and Dr. Engineer joined the protest. It is believed that Dr. Engineer was targeted to avenge the protests by all the other passengers. Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer was admitted to the hospital profusely bleeding and badly bruised.

"The PUCL demands a high level enquiry into the attack. It demands action against the airport and the airlines officials for detaining the plane and letting the hooligans take the law into their hand within the premises of the airport. The PUCL also demands adequate security for the Engineer family and their residence and office". Dr. Y. P. Chhibbar, General Secretary.

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