Another extra-judicial murder? Khalid Mujahid dies

By Special Correspondent,

Lucknow: Khalid Mujahid who was arrested on charges of serial blasts in 2007 died while he was returning from Faizabad to Lucknow jail on Saturday. Khalid fainted on way at Barabanki, according to police. He was taken to District Hospital, Barabanki where he was declared brought dead by the doctors. Khalid was under police custody when he died.

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Khalid’s death has been confirmed by Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Arun Kumar at Lucknow on Saturday. He also informed that District Jail administration of Lucknow where Khalid Mujahid was kept had requested for a magisterial probe in the whole incident.

Khalid along with Tariq Qasmi was arrested by Special Task Force (STF) on 20 December 2007 from Barabanki. Huge explosives were also shown as recovered from his possession. STF claimed that he was involved in the serial blasts which occurred in Gorakhpur, Faizabad and Lucknow. Later, Nimesh Commission was constituted headed by Justice R D Nimesh who in its report raised fingers over STF’s claim about the place of arrest.

L-R: Hakeem Tarique Qasmi and Khalid Mujahid (TCN Archive).

Later, Samajwadi Party government headed by CM Akhilesh Yadav as per their poll promise had moved a plea to revoke the terror charges but they were turned down by local court in Barabanki. Process was however going on for withdrawing his case from other districts.

Chairman of the Rihai Manch (Forum for the Release of Innocent Muslims imprisoned in the name of Terrorism), Mohamamd Shoaib told, that he met Khalid in court today and was with him till 3.15 pm. He added that Khalid was normal at that time.

Unofficial reports stated that Khalid was not suffering from any disease still he fainted. He was taken to Faizabad under police custody for attending court proceedings in the district. After attending it, he was being escorted back and the police party had reached Barabanki while on their way to Lucknow jail, when he fainted. No official cause of the death has been given by the state government as he was brought dead by the policemen at the hospital.

Rajeev Yadav of PUCL, who is a member of the Rihai Manch has alleged foul play on the part of the government. He told TCN that in their meeting with the jail minister they had warned how Muslim youths arrested on dubious grounds in terror cases have been attacked in jail and hence steps should be taken for their security.

Rihai Manch has demanded a CBI enquiry in the mysterious death of Khalid, and urged actions against public prosecutors, ATS, police officials, etc involved.

Meanwhile CM Akhilesh Yadav has ordered enquiry in the death of Khalid Mujahid. The probe will be done by a committee comprising Secretary, Home Department and ADG or IG rank offcer.

As per official press communique, Khalid Mujahid was accused in the bomb blast which occurred on 23 November 2007 at District Court, Faizabad. He was being taken for court hearing along with his other associates. They were returning to Lucknow and his condition deteriorated near Ram Sanehi Ghat in Barabanki. He died while he was being taken to hospital.

Nimesh Commission report