Bihar: New pasture for terrorists or intelligence agencies?

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi,,

Patna: Madhubani resident Gayyur Ahmed Jamali is 21. He is a student of almiyat at Madrasa Salfiya in Darbhanga. Purnia resident Aftab Alam is just 19. He runs his father’s small kirana store in their village. Are they new recruit of banned terror group Indian Mujahideen? Yes, and were involved in several terror cases, said intelligence agencies while arresting them. No, they are innocent, victim of larger conspiracy, reacted their parents.

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Gayyur and Aftab are among six Bihar natives arrested in last 15 days in Bihar or other parts of the country in connection with some unsolved terror cases including Delhi High Court blast (2011), blasts outside Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium (2010) and 26/11 attack at Mumbai’s Taj Hotel (2008).

Mohammad Qateel Siddiqi, 27, and Gauhar Aziz Khomani, 31, (both Darbhanga natives) were picked in New Delhi on November 22 and 23 respectively. Gayur Ahmad Jamali, 21, (Madhubani native) was arrested in Madhubani on November 24. Mohammad Irshad Khan, 52, (Samastipur native), and Abdur Rahman, 19, (Darbhanga native), were arrested in Chennai on November 27. Aftab Alam, 19, (Purnia native) was arrested in Purnia on 5th December. Delhi Police and intelligence agencies have claimed they are members of Indian Mujahideen and were spreading the network of the banned terror group in Bihar.

The bigger question: Is Bihar a new pasture for terrorist groups or for intelligence agencies? The answer could be: Yes, for terrorists, or Yes, for intelligence agencies. It is nobody’s case to defend terrorists. And it is certainly not patriotism, rather against national interest, to blindly believe our intelligence and investigating agencies particularly after their failed probes and prosecutions in several terror cases – the latest example is the acquittal of 14 Muslim youths in the Jaipur serial bombing case of May 2008, and the compensation announcement of Andhra Pradesh government for 70 Muslim youths who were arrested, tortured and falsely implicated for Mecca Masjid blast of 2007 but later acquitted by court of all charges.

The sudden spurt of ‘terrorists’ in Bihar – particularly in Muslim-dominated districts – in last two weeks surprised many people here and other parts of the country. Given the clean record of Muslims in Bihar (as far as terrorism is concerned) and unclean and hugely failed record of intelligence and investigating agencies (in terror cases), the community leaders here are not ready to accept the story that Bihar has become a new pasture of terrorist groups.

Talking to TCN, Mr. Husn Ahmed Quadri, General Secretary, Jamiat Ulama Bihar (Arshad Madani group) termed the recent arrest of Muslim youths in Bihar for terror blasts as part of big conspiracy. “They are arresting Muslim youths without proofs and destroying their lives. This is evident from the acquittal of 14 Muslims in Jaipur blast case,” Mr. Quadri said, adding there are no FIR and no cases against these youths.

Heading of news story published in Patna edition of TOI dated 4th Dec 2011

He informed that local units of Jamiat have been asked to collect details about these youths and their families, and if they are found clean with no record of crime, Jamiat will fight their cases in court.

Maulana Anisur Rahman Qasmi, General Secretary, Imarat Sharia Bihar was categorical in describing the entire episode of terror arrest of Muslims in last 15 years as part of plan to divert attention from the real terrorism. “They are doing it to divert attention from Hindutva terror and Naxal terror,” Maulana Qasmi told TCN.

On one hand, courts are acquitting Muslim youths in terror cases one after another, the intelligence and investigating agencies have continued arresting the youths of the community without proof in such cases, on the other. When Maulana Qasmi was asked as to how this can be stopped, he said: “The guilty officers should be punished either through departments or through court of law.” He also urged Bihar government to take step to stop such arrest of innocents, at least in Bihar.

“The Bihar government should take strong step so that innocents are not arrested. Such arrests are done by Delhi Police or sleuths of Intelligence Bureau. But Bihar government should not allow them to arrest anyone from here without proof,” Maulana Qasmi, who is also chairman of Bihar Haj Committee, demanded.

Why Bihar now? People seem to have got tired of Azamgarh, Bhatkal and Malegaon, so intelligence agencies are looking at Bihar as new pasture, says civil rights activist and journalist Mr. Nayyar Fatmi. “None of those arrested from Azamgarh have been proved terrorist, so they are looking for new area. They are now declaring North Bihar as Azamgarh,” Mr. Fatmi said.
Why the arrest of Muslim youths? “They are being made scapegoat for administrative and intelligence failures,” he said.

Fatmi is highly critical of the media which simply swallow down the story of police and intelligence agencies and do not bother to investigate on their own. “Tomorrow if they arrest me and declare a terrorist media will not come to my home and my neighborhood to know about me, my past and activities,” Mr. Fatmi said. He also urged human rights groups to investigate such cases and bring the truth to the people of the country.

In the wake of the acquittals of Muslim youths in several terror cases, recently the Jaipur blast case, Mr. Fatmi demanded compensation to the youths from the salaries of the guilty officers besides legal proceeding against them.

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