Rayeesuddin: Acquitted in Mecca Masjid blast, still facing police witch hunt

By Manzar Bilal, TwoCircles.net,

New Delhi: “It was 31st August 2007 and I was returning home from my work when some policemen kidnapped me and kept me in illegal custody for 8 days. After weeks of third degree torture, they made me confess my ‘involvement’ in the May 2007 Mecca Masjid blast,” said Md. Rayeesuddin

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Rayeesuddin is one of the several Muslims youths from Hyderabad who were arrested in connection with the Mecca Masjid blast and tortured for the crime they never committed. Though this resident of Hyderabad was acquitted later, the physical, financial and social damages he continues to bear can never be healed, Md. Rayeesuddin said in an exclusive interview with TwoCircles.net.

Talking about the third degree torture by police during his illegal custody at an undisclosed location, Rayeesuddin said, “They used to give me electric shocks besides hitting at my heels after hanging me by hands. The thrust of their torture was to force me to confess, saying ‘if you want to be alive confess the involvement in Mecca Masjid blast.”

Revealing the motive behind his illegal arrest, he said: “In 2004, Gujarat police came to Hyderabad to arrest Maulana Nasiruddin. At that time, I along with my friend Mujahid Saleem, opposed his arrest. The police shot dead my friend on the spot. Since I was the eyewitness to the killing by the police, they falsely implicated me in the Mecca Masjid blast case.”

Rayeesuddin’s family had its own share of mental harassment by Hyderabad police. Whenever his family members used to visit him in the high security prison, police used to tell them, ‘first write on a piece of paper that you want to meet an ISI agent then we will let you meet him,’ alleged Rayeesuddin.

Md. Rayeesuddin

However, after spending six months in the jail, he was given bail by the state High Court. But even after his acquittal in the case in December 2009, he is still being socially ostracized by his friends and relatives. “After coming from jail, people living around me and even my relatives and friends started to keep themselves aloof. They do not want to meet me. Whenever they mention my name, they do not forget to refer as Rayeesuddin of Mecca Masjid bomb blast” said Rayeesuddin who, before his arrest, used to work as a salesman at a city’s famous diamond shop.

In Dec. 2009, a Second Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge Court had acquitted him along with 17 arrested Muslims youths from all charges.

The blot of a ‘terrorist’ left him without any job offer even at his former employer. “I not only lost my previous job, it became very difficult for me to find a new one. Even if I could get a job after lots of struggle, I used to be thrown out when my employers came to know that I was an accused in Mecca Masjid blast. At present, I am doing seasonal work at seasonal fairs and for rest of the time I work as a street vendor.”

He might have been acquitted of all charges but police continue to harass him. “Whenever any sensitive occasion comes, city police call me at police station. On the occasion of Babri Masjid verdict on 30 Sep. 2010, for instance, they kept me at police station till evening. When I said that I have already paid much for no crimes then why they are continuing to disturb my life. ‘At least once you were accused’ they replied” said Rayeesuddin.

He demanded from the government to investigate all the links of terror cases afresh particularly in the light of Swami Aseemanand’s confession which has made it very clear that Muslim youths who were arrested in Mecca Masjid case were innocents.

“The precious time I lost because of the false allegations against me, will never return. The label of terrorist that I was given, can never be separated from me. I want apology from government and also compensation for rehabilitation of not myself alone but for all the other innocents who were falsely accused in the Mecca Masjid blast case,” Rayeesuddin further demanded.