The footage of a man being allowed to walk away from a metal detector was flagged by media reports as evidence of lax security in the backdrop of the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka.
Written by Amrita Dutta |Bengaluru |
When Sajid Khan arrived in the city 11 days ago, all he had on his mind was his debt — Rs 3.5 lakh and growing. But the 38-year-old from Niradhanu village in Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu district believed that Ramzan here would bring some blessings.
Like he had done in the last four years, he planned to spend the holy month in the Karnataka capital begging for zakat — alms that Muslims are obliged to give to the poor. “I hoped I could return with Rs 10,000-Rs 12,000, at least I would be able to pay half the annual interest I owe,” he said.
Instead, he ended up as a fuzzy image, played over and over on local TV channels that whipped up the fear of a “suspected terrorist in Bengaluru”, and shared indiscriminately over WhatsApp: a bearded man, wearing a skull cap, kurta and lungi, approaches a metal detector at a Metro station, which beeps a deep red. In a moment of indecision, before the guard can stop him, the man walks out.
That day, on May 6, Khan had left his wife Sameera and son at the hotel in Cottonpet. They usually begged for alms together, but that day she was unwell. “I had collected a lot of change, and the coins were in a purse around my waist. I stopped in front of what seemed a new, shining market, and went in,” Khan recalled.