By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, TwoCircles.net,
New Delhi: Maulana Mohd Naseeruddin, a renowned cleric and Khateeb in Hyderabad, was acquitted of all terror charges on January 12, 2010, after more than five years he spent in Gujarat jail. The Gujarat police had arrested him in November 2004 in Hyderabad for his alleged inflammatory speeches to wage Jihad and instigate people to take revenge of Gujarat riots of 2002. His three sons are still imprisoned in terror cases. The Maulana talks to Mumtaz Alam Falahi of TwoCircles.net about his life before the arrest and the ordeal he underwent afterward.
Tell us about your life before the arrest
I was member of Jamaat Islami since my adulthood. I was its member since 1970. I was put in jail during emergency when I was just 26. When Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992 I led a group of youths and held a protest at a chowk in the city and offered prayers on road. 62 youths were booked under TADA for that protest. I had organized them. Since then the police put my name in their list. Whenever a youth was killed in encounter I would lead funeral prayers (in absence) and work to help the victim family. That is why the police would have an eye on me. Once I gave refuge to a Kashmiri youth who had escaped police brutalities in Sopore but three years later he was arrested with weapons and it was revealed that he was not Kashmiri but a Pakistani. I was arrested in that case also. Since then I was presented as a terrorist in the media.
About your arrest, interrogation and charges against you
The Gujarat police arrested me in November 2004 in Hyderabad. I was put in police custody for seven days. I was mentally tortured, not physically, perhaps considering my age. However, 12 youths who were picked before me from Hyderabad were brutally tortured in police custody.
The police filed a 1500-page charge-sheet against me but there were only two lines about me in that charge-sheet. They said I delivered inflammatory speeches to wage Jihad and I instigated people to take revenge of Gujarat riots of 2002. They imposed 14 articles against me including rebellion against the government, promoting hatred between Muslims and Hindus and possessing weapons. But in the charge-sheet they just accused me of giving inflammatory speeches.
Why your entire family was targeted
I and my children have been active in Jamaat Islami which dismissed me in 2000 after such cases were filed against me. After that I took interest in Students Islamic Movement of India (before it was banned in September 2001). My sons and daughters also took interest in their social activities, and that’s why my entire family was targeted.
Charges against your sons
My three sons are in jails in different cases including terror blasts at Lumbini Park and Chat Bhandar in Hyderabad. But when Maharashtra police arrested some people and claimed to solve the twin blasts of the city, Andhra Police gave them award. Several youths of the city were released but my sons were not released, rather they were booked in another case. They alleged that my sons had held a meeting with Safdar Nagori of SIMI in an Indore village in Madhya Pradesh. My sons never went to Indore and never attended any meeting in Indore.
Reaction against your and your sons’ arrest
Muslim women sat on dharna against my arrest at Police Commissioner’s office in Hyderabad. Dalit organizations also sat on one day hunger strike. After my sons were picked my wife, daughters and some women of the neighborhood protested at the police station asking about the whereabouts of my sons, they were beaten and sent to jail. This happened on International Women’s Day. They were put in jail for 15 days and were released on bail at two sureties each worth Rs 20000.
Legal status of cases against your sons
My sons were booked in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh. The lawyers at the local court decided not to take up their case. When after some time, we took the help of a Muslim lawyer and when he appeared on behalf of my sons and other SIMI accused, he was beaten and his face blackened in the court in the presence of the judge. Then I approached the court to shift the case. The case is now in Indore court but hearing is yet to start. I am yet to find a lawyer. More than two years have passed since they were arrested. Now we have approached Supreme Court for bail. The court has admitted our plea. However, argument on the plea is yet to take place.
Is Muslim youth going towards terrorism as the government and its agencies think?
Muslims are not terrorists. They are not doing any terror activity. The real terrorists are Sadhvi Pragya nd Col. Purohit. Muslims are not terrorists, they are terrified. Government and its agencies are doing state terrorism.