Acquittals in terror case: Welcome welcomes her Maulanas with open arm

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi,,

New Delhi: It was 11 pm of freezing Delhi. As soon as they reached near the locality straight from the jail and the news spread hundreds of people came out of their comfort into the open and braved the cruel weather to offer hero’s welcome to and embrace their Maulanas – Masood Ahmed Qasmi and Dilawar Hussain. The court had absolved them of all terror charges – very serious ones that could have led them to gallows.

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Maulana Masood Ahmed Qasmi was Imam of Bagh Wali Masjid and Maulana Dilawar Hussain principal of Madrasa Imdadul Uloom at stone’s throw from the mosque – both in Welcome area in North-East Delhi – when they were picked in March 2005. After the arrest the police and through them the media had presented them as members of Lashkar-e-Taiba. The police charge sheeted them for ‘hatching a conspiracy to attack the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehradun and having explosives and weapons.’ This had gloomed the locals as the duo was among them and they knew the charges were false but they were helpless. And now when the court acquitted them of all charges relating to waging war against the country and offences under IPC and the Explosives Substances Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act the happiness of the locals had no bound.

Maulana Dilawar Hussain talked to about his ordeal.

“It was March 13, 2005. Some policemen from Welcome Police Station came to me and asked me to go with them to the police station. The SHO wanted to meet me, they said. When I reached there the SHO put me in a van and took me to Lodhi Colony, saying the Special Cell will question him. (Lodhi Colony headquarters the Special Cell wing of Delhi Police). They asked me about some people. I said I did not know any of them. They had also taken Maulana Masood Qasmi,” said Dilawar Hussain who hails from Orissa.

Asked to detail the behavior of police during interrogation, the maulana said they did not behave badly with him. Though acquitted by court, the maulana is still frightened and shaking. A day after the acquittal the local police had called him to the police station. Maybe they wanted to tell him to shut his mouth about the custodial torture. He did not go, but called his lawyer N D Pancholi. The lawyer advised the maulana not to go to the police station. He said he is writing to the police commissioner in this regard. That the maulana is frightened is evident from this: after the interview he asked TCN if the police will watch the video. He was asked not to worry as he had not said that police tortured him.

After the interrogation when they did not find anything against me they implicated me in the conspiracy case and presented me in the court. The police also charged me for ‘having a grenade’ and Maulana Masood Qasmi for ‘having a pistol,’ continued Maulana Dilawar Hussain who, after primary education in his home state Orissa, got some madrasa education in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh before moving to Mazahirul Uloom in Saharanpur where he did almiyat and fazilat courses. He came to Delhi in 1989 and joined Madrasa Imdadul Uloom. Until his arrest, he taught at the madrasa. And soon after coming out of jail – after about five years as he was not released on bail even for a day – he has resumed his duty.

“Allah has had mercy on me. All the allegations against me were proved wrong. I am very happy that Allah has restored my dignity,” says Dilawar Hussain.

“After my arrest, I was presented as a terrorist and anti-national in the media. I feared when I will come out of the jail, people will throw stones at me, but this did not happen. Rather, the people came out of their home to welcome me, they gave me more respect than before,” says the maulana overwhelmed with the love and respect shown by the locals at his acquittal of terror cases.

“We are happy that he has been released from jail. He lives in front of my home. I am happy that he has been acquitted of terror charges,” says a neighbor of Dilawar Hussain.

“I am happy on his acquittal and release. His children were distraught. I know how they passed these years. They were in very bad condition,” says another neighbor.

On why police targets Muslims in terror cases, he said: “this is just propaganda that Muslims are terrorists.” Have you ever found any Muslim youth in this Muslim-dominated Welcome area involved in terror activity? “I don’t see any such thing here,” said the neighbor.

The Special Cell of Delhi Police had picked six people in March 2005 for ‘hatching a conspiracy to attack the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehradun. The Tees Hazari Court in Delhi on January 8, 2010 acquitted four – Maulana Masood Ahmed Qasmi, Maulana Dilawar Hussain, Haroon Rashid and Mohammad Iftikhar – absolving them of charges relating to waging war against the country, offences under IPC and other offences under the Explosives Substances Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. While acquitting the four accused, Additional sessions judge Dharmesh Sharma said that the prosecution had failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.

The court, however, convicted two – Hameed Hussain and Mohd Shariq – for possessing explosives. The police had arrested the duo allegedly with 10.5kg RDX in Delhi. However, the charge of waging war against the state didn’t stick even against them. The court will pronounce sentence against the two tomorrow on January 12.

Video interview of Advocate MS Khan who fought this and other cases