Zakat funds are used for Freeing Muslim Prisoners in India

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The India Observer, TIO: Chennai: Zakaat funds, calculated at 2.5% of an individual’s annual savings, are being used here to free inmates of jails who have served their prison sentences but have no support systems to pay fines associated with their convictions.

The Movement for Peace and Justice (MPJ), a non-profit, is one such organization here that is gathering Zakat from donors and channeling the collected funds to secure prisoner release in Tamil Nadu.

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The MPJ, an affiliate of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, identifies first-time offenders involved in small crimes, and who have no family or friends to pay bail or fines.

Ahmed Hameeduddin Shakeel, finance secretary, MPJ, says; “The situation is so bad that families cannot even afford to pay ₹500. The aim and object of our organization is to help everyone and work as facilitators for prisoner release.”

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 “Since last year we have paid 130 fines associated with prison sentences. Additionally, he adds that we have paid bail money for 35 prisoners and got them all released,” he adds.

Similarly in Telangana, the All India Milli Council, another socio-religious group, has secured the release of 68 inmates lodged in prisons in and around Hyderabad.

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In Mumbai, Global Care Foundation, an NGO engaged in helping prisoners languishing in jails has helped secure the release of more than 600 undertrials, since 2018.

Zakat is a prominent manifestation of charity in Islam.  The 2.5 percent of annual savings is usually taken out by a devout Muslim in the month of Ramzan to help those families in dire financial need.

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In India, the minimum cost of getting one under-trial release is Rs 15,000. Zakat can be used to help poor prisoners who cannot afford such an amount.

There are a large number of Muslim prisoners languishing all over India. Their number has grown since the BJP came to power in 2014. Their number is big, particularly in Uttar Pradesh which is ruled by an anti-Muslim BJP government headed by Aditya Nath Yogi. The Muslim prisoners in Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere require financial assistance to fight their cases and get them free.

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Unfortunately, there are very few NGOs that are working on this particular problem of the community which requires their attention. It is high time that the Muslim community should wake up to this social reality and channel the Zakat funds for releasing the Muslims who are jailed on false cases.

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Edited By Adam Rizvi

Curated and Compiled by Humra Kidwai

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Syed Ali Mujtaba

Syed Ali Mujtaba

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a Sr.Journalist, Author based in Chennai, India. Writes frequently for the USA based News Portal, TheIndiaObserver. He is author of the book Soundings on South Asia, New Dawn Press (2005). He can be reached at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com or TIO, at Mediaiss@Gmail.com

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