Multiple stories of an arrest

Relatives raise serious questions about MP ATS story of five Muslim youths arrest from Indore

Unheard & Unspoken: Terror stories from Madhya Pradesh: Part 7

Support TwoCircles

By Mohd. Ismail Khan,

On October 21, 2009 MP ATS and Indore police claimed to have arrested five youths belonging to SIMI from a rented room in Khajrana locality of Indore where they were allegedly conducting a secret meeting. Those arrested were Mohammed Shafiq (31), Mohammed Younus (28), Sheikh Sajjid (34), Feroz Khan (21), and Arshad Khan (22). Police said they were arrested in a joint operation of Indore police and MP ATS, officers claimed to recover two tape recorders, some CDs, ‘objectionable’ SIMI material and some cash.

Indore police claimed those arrested youths were dreaded terrorists, Asish Bhatia I.G. (Law and order) announced that those arrested attended training camps of Indian Mujahideen in Halol of Vadodara and Vagaamon in Kerala and were also involved in Ahmedabad serial blasts conspiracy. Police also revealed that they were keeping tab on their movements for the past five months. The then ATS Chief Pawan Srivastav, declared that Mohammad Younus, and Mohammad Shafiq were key conspirators and involved in Ahmedabad bomb blasts, and even said that those two were wanted in this case since 2008 but claimed they were absconding since the blasts. Both were handed over to Gujarat crime branch on November 6, 2009.

But Mohammad Younus’s father Mohammad Saber refused to accept the charges of ATS that his son was absconding and a wanted man in Ahmedabad blats case. Mohd Younus, a resident of Ujjain is presently lodged in Sabarmati jail facing 35 terror related cases.

According to his father, Younus did not have any criminal record before his arrest in 2009, Mohd Saber said, “My son was a decent man, he use to do cloth business, he would purchase cloth items from Indore and then sell it in Ujjain, he was also very active in solving communities problems he was sort of social worker but he was never a member of SIMI.” His father claimed that his son was not absconding as stated by the police but he was present in Ujjain in his home, even after the blasts. And at the time of his arrest he went to Indore to buy cloth material for his business as he does every month but this time he didn’t return back to home after his business trip to Indore as he was arrested by MP ATS.

When Sabir met his son in the custody of Gujarat Police Crime Branch, he found Younus in terrible condition. Mr. Saber said, “Younus told me that Gujarat police tortured him for weeks, for one week his hands were tied to the wall, and he was not allowed to sleep. He even told me that police didn’t give him proper food, and used to hang him from the roof and then beat him.” Younus’ father also claimed that his son told him that he was arrested in a kidnapping style and no one was with him at that time. His father also said that he asked his son about the allegation of police that he participated in Ahmedabad bomb blast, Younus rubbished all this allegation of police and said that he never even visited or seen Ahmedabad before his arrest.

Mohammad saber said they are going through toughest period of their life. He said, “life has now changed drastically, till now police has raided our house two times, I have to sell my house to bear his legal expenses, and now everyone in our locality is scared to give us home on rent, even this present rented house owner has also asked us to vacate the house in 15 days. In addition to these problems, my son’s trial is moving very slow, there are nearly 35 cases on him, and if trial goes on in this manner then we can never expect justice from judiciary. But Allah is there I am sure at least he will give us justice.”

Mohammad Shafiq is another person shown arrested by the MP ATS from that alleged meeting, along with Mohammad Younus he was also implicated in Ahmedabad bomb blasts, 36 blast cases are on him and for the past three years he is languishing in Sabarmati Jail. But his wife Rizwana Bi is claiming that she is an eyewitness of her husband’s arrest. She claimed that her husband was arrested by plain-clothed police officers, when the family was travelling in an auto rickshaw. She said, “My husband, I and my little daughter was on my way to visit my mother, suddenly a big car stopped the auto and men in civilian clothes came out of it and dragged my husband from the auto and beat him with their lathis then took him away. Our whole family tried to enquire about him, but there was no word from police officials, then after five days of illegal detention he was presented before the court. Police said he was arrested with other four persons while they were conducting a meeting which is a big lie. And then in November, Gujarat Police came and took his custody saying that he was involved in Ahmedabad bomb blasts.”

A shy housewife Rizwana never thought in her life that she has to face camera one day to prove the innocence of her husband. She said that her husband was a SIMI member before the ban was imposed on the organization, his first case was booked in 1999 for Surat Education Summit of SIMI, where police alleged that he gave inflammatory speech. According to her, he used to visit Surat every month for the court hearing and from that time on he came under the police radar.

But she also claimed that her husband was not involved in any of the activities of SIMI after the ban, and he use to work as a painter to earn a living.

On the charges of Gujarat Crime Branch that Shafiq planned and executed Ahmedabad terror strike, she said, “My husband was with me in maternity hospital where my daughter was born, he was in the hospital for nine days with me, in that period Ahmedabad bomb blast happened, how can he take part in that blast when he was with me in the hospital? And for whole one year he was in Indore why didn’t police arrest him immediately, why did they arrest him after a year and showed him absconding since the blasts. All the cases on my husband are false and he has been just made a scapegoat.”

Rizwana also added that while her husband is suffering in jail, she is suffering outside. “I am now living with my parents, they earn their living by selling eggs I don’t know for how much long I have to be a burden on them. I have visited him in jail every month and day by day his condition is getting deteriorated. Even the proceedings are not going on in proper way, nearly three years are passed but still arguments in his case is yet to start . Police doesn’t have any single evidence against my husband but I don’t know when this trail will finish and he will be released.”

Doubts were raised when Shafiq and Younus were arrested one year after that terror strike in which they were accused by the police, and interestingly it was the blasts which Gujarat police claimed to have solved in just 20 days . But now if the testimony of Rizwana that her husband was arrested from an auto rickshaw in a kidnapping style when he was travelling with his wife and daughter, and also the revelation of Mohammad Saber that his son said to him that he was arrested from Indore alone from the streets and not from a rented house or a meeting point, is true then MP ATS claim falls like house of cards. And it raises the question, what is the real arrest story of other three accused shown arrested at the same time- Sheikh Sajjid, Arshed khan, and Feroz khan?.