By Zaidul Haque, TwoCircles.net,
Kolkata: After languishing in in jail for eight years on terror charges, three persons Abudllah Juber (35), Nur Ahmed (36) and Tarique Akhter (41) have been acquitted of all terror charges by a court in Kolkata February 26.
Juber, Nur and Tarique were accused of involvement in anti-national activities and being members of banned terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). The third division bench of Judge Sanchita Barman declared the three as innocent.
Bowbazar police had arrested Tarique Akhter from Madan Street on 30 January, 2006 and later with the help of Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh police had nabbed Nur Ahmed and Abdullah Juber, respectively.
Nur Ahmed and Abdullah after their release.
police was lodged the case against the three youth under Indian Penal Code 120B (Punishment of criminal conspiracy), 121 (Waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the Government of India), 122 (Collecting arms, etc., with intention of waging war against the Government of India), 123 (Concealing with intent to facilitate design to wage war), 124A (Sedition), 126 (Committing depredation on territories of Power at peace with the Government of India) etc.
Police had also alleged that 32 detonators were found from them. Prosecution, however, felt to prove any of the charges or produce any credible evidence against them, informed the lawyers of Nur Ahmed, Imran Ali and of Abdullah, Sahid Imam.
When the three were arrested eight years back, leading English and Bengali dailies of Kolkata had run the stories as front page news. On February 2, 2006, the headline in The Telegraph, ` Lashkar tag on cuffed trio- Interrogation reveals plot for major blast in crowded public spot’, while its Bengali paper Anandabazar Patrika too had ran the police version about, the arrest of Lashkar operatives and unearthing of conspiracy.
Abdullah and his brother Kamre Alam.
TCN met Abdullah Juber, after he was released from Jail in Park Circus in presence of his relatives and some local activists. He told TCN that he is originally from Mahadeomadh, near Hajipur in Bihar. His father Juber Alam is a farmer. They are three brothers and two sisters. As he wanted to become an Islamic scholar, he was admitted in Jamia Islamia Sanabil, in New Delhi’s Okhla region and later went for the Alim courses at Jamia Salafia in Varanasi.
He said that the police came and told him that they are here for Passport enquiry. Abdullah was surprised for he had never applied for the Passport, but the police told him that his father might have on his behalf, apparently to get some job abroad. He was taken to the nearest police station and later charged of terror activities and handed over to the Kolkata Police.
Allegedly his name, name of his madarssa and other details in the note found from Tarique who was earlier arrested in Kolkata. It was also alleged then that the police has conversation record as evidence, but the prosecution failed to produce the evidence in the court.
Abdullah also alleged that although UP police initially had reservations in letting Kolkata police take him, but later gave in on assurance of the Kolkata police. He said that he was taken in a Scorpio car by police and directly produced in the Court in Kolkata on February 2, 2006.
Nur Ahmed, after his release.
Police had charged the trio of hatching conspiracy for major blasts in crowded places in Kolkata like Howrah, Sealdah railway station, High Court, etc.
Besides producing detonators and alleging links with Let, police had also accused them of training in Kashmir.
Abdullah alleges that as he was sent into 14 days police custody and handed over to Anti-terrorist Cell of Detective Department of Kolkata police at Lalbazar Head quarter, after interrogation in presence of senior police officer DC Janbant Singh, police spoke among themselves that it is a case of mistaken identity and that he is innocent. He even names another officer Basudeb Bhattacharya, who had then assured him that they realize that he is innocent and would arrange a lawyer for him to get him bail soon, but after 14 days’ he was instead sent to judicial custody in the Presidency Jail.
The police had not even informed his relatives, and it was only after two months in Jail, that Abdullah could manage to write a letter to his family in Bihar, with the help of a Jail attendant.
It took Abdullah and two others eight long years to be finally released from the Jail. Abdullah, however, wants to move and does not even want to remember those ‘black days’. He says he still wants to become an Aalim and hence would want to go back to his Jamia Salafia Banarasi to complete his education.
Nur Ahmed, had passed high school from Kolkata and was engaged in small time business in Jamshedpur, when in Jnauary 2006, he was arrested.
Then Police Commissioner Prasun Mukherjee had said, “The three are members of the group that had masterminded blasts in Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi. They might have also been involved in the attack at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Several Lashkar leaflets and 16 detonators were seized from their house.”
But in eight years police failed to prove a single charges against them. They have hence been acquitted by the court. After release Abdullah is still in the city for few days at his relative’s place, but soon plans to go back to his native place in Bihar and start everything afresh.
It has become a pattern from Delhi to Kolkata to arrest Muslim youth on terror charges without any evidence and the hyper-nationalist ‘conscience of the nation’ is such that it accepts everything the police says. What is surprising is that, while the Left leaders have been vocal against such police atrocities in Delhi, on face of it, in fact CPIM General Secretary Prakash Karat even wrote to the President, regarding targeting and persecution of scores of Muslim youth in terrorism related cases. . But it appears that their own backyard was not clean (till April 2011 Left Front was in power in West Bengal) as we unearth several stories of Muslim youth).
TCN highlighted the plight of Akhlaque Ahmed Khan in October, 2013 who too have been in jail on similar charges.
Abdullah says that while in Jail, he realized that many innocent youth like him are languishing in jail without proper trail.
Much to the dismay of BJP and some other parties, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had remarked recently and even written letter to respective state governments to speed up the trial of Muslim youths languishing in jail for years.