Arrest of cleric’s son in Nagpur has ripples in Azamgarh


Azamgarh : Street demonstrations and protests were witnessed in this Uttar pradesh town Monday following the arrest of a prominent Islamic cleric’s son in Maharashtra last week.

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Maulana Amir Rashadi Madni’s son Talha, who works at a Hyderabad-based call centre, was picked up Friday by the Andhra Pradesh police’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) while he was returning from his home in Azamgarh, where he is enrolled as a student of a post-graduate programme at the Shibli College.

He was arrested at the Nagpur railway station from a Hyderabad-bound train. The news of his arrest reached Maulana Madni Sunday evening.

“No sooner than I learnt about my son’s arrest, I promptly got in touch with the Andhra Pradesh ATS, which confirmed they had picked him up for brief questioning related to some probe. They assured me that he would soon be let off but since 10 a.m., they have stopped answering my calls also,” the Maulana told reporters here.

Refuting the allegation of his son’s involvement in any terrorist activity, the Maulana said: “My son has always been a law-abiding citizen and it is quite apparent that someone is trying to frame him.”

He did not rule out the possibility of “some role” of the Uttar Pradesh police in implicating his son.

He blamed the police for “once again hounding a young man simply because he has his roots in Azamgarh, which they have been trying to label as some kind of a nursery of terror.”

The Maulana had spearheaded a campaign to defend the two Delhi serial blast accused, who were from Azamgarh and were gunned down in a police shootout in the national capital in September.

The news led to anger among people here, who took to the streets to back the Maulana who is also the convenor of the Ulema Council of India.

Almost all shop-shutters were pulled down in Azamgarh town and people put up road blocks at two important junctions including one on the highway.

With protests turning violent at the Shibli College where Talha’s college-mates resorted to brick-batting, cops had to resort to a mild baton charge.

But for a quick response by senior police officials led by Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Vijay Kumar who rushed to the spot, the situation could have taken an ugly turn.