Delhi blasts accused Shahzad was not hiding, say villagers

By Mahtab Alam for

Khalispur, Azamgarh: “On 1st February late afternoon, I was sitting outside my house, around eight to ten unknown men in plain clothes carrying heavy arms entered my house without any permission and dragged my grandson Shahzad”, recalls Neyaz Ahmad. “They started abusing when asked, what the matter is,” he clearly remembers. It was only after villagers approached local police station that the family of Neyaz Ahmad came to know that they were policemen and his grandson has been arrested for his alleged involvement in Delhi serial bomb blasts and other cases. Police also claimed that Shahzad was hiding in the house since four- five months. But the neighbors and villagers of Shahzad are not ready to buy police claims.

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Savitari Devi, a resident of the village who knows Shahzad since his childhood asserted, “the allegations made by police are false and baseless. He is not a boy as portrayed by police”. She also denied of Shahzad’s hiding. “He was staying in the village since 4-5 months and used to come to market frequently. During these months many times we drank tea together,” she recalls. While agreeing with Devi, Phoolchand, who runs a tea and sweet shop in the village since longtime nods, “he was a regular costumer of mine. He was a good boy. Whenever he came to my shop he behaved mannerly.”

For Prof. Iftekhar Ahmad, who is resident of this village and Principal of prestigious Shibli National College of Azamgarh, says Shahzad’s arrest is another blot on Azmis (people of Azamgarh). “Since the day of so-called encounter at Batla House of Jamia Nagar, New Delhi, we are living a life of sorrow and gloom. There has not been a single day, when we had not to face either police or media,” he recalls. “We tried our best to live a normal life but it seems it’s not in our fate”. Ahmad adds.

Mother of Shazad, Parveen Bano asserted, “he had never been called Pappu- neither by family members nor amongst his friend circle. His name was Shahzad and only Shahzad”. While denying the charges, she said, “he has neither been trained as Pilot nor talking any such training anywhere. In Delhi, he was just doing some computer course”. She also denied of giving 1 lakh rupees to Shahzad (as reported in media).

Dr. Aftab Alam, a medical practitioner in the village considers Shahzad an innocent. He wondered, “it is beyond my understanding that, why a good boy like Shahzad is arrested. He has never been involved even in petty crimes”. “After his arrest, situation here in this village is very bad. People are afraid, especially youth,” adds Alam.

Khalispur is a small village of Azamagarh, nearly 12 km from the city. Its population is nearly about 3 thousand comprising both Muslims as well as Hindus almost fifty-fifty. Shahzad’s grandfather Neyaz Ahmad had been Village head for 15 years unanimously and known for his welfare activities across the villages of Azamgarh.