Bangalore – Even after walking out free, three youths who were arrested last year on terror charges, remain deprived of identity since the intelligence agencies have failed to return their Identity cards and other belongings. “The world asks ID proofs for everything. We cannot even get a tatkal railway ticket,” the youths said, while speaking at the release of a report named ‘Permanent Suspects – Framing Muslim Youth in Karnataka’ by human rights groups here on Saturday.
Speaking about the six month ordeal that they had to undergo, three youths – who were arrested on 29 August last year in connection with the infamous Karnataka terror module, but were released last month after the NIA dropped all charges against two of them and failed to file any charges against the third one within the stipulated time limit – said “Even after being released, we cannot go back to our normal lives. We are facing many problems just because we do not have any identity today.”
“I wanted to shift+delete all the memories related to this six month experience. But since I have been given an opportunity to speak here, I would like to share the torture that my parents underwent after my arrest. The ground beneath their feet shifted; they ran everywhere asking ‘Where are our children? How are they?’, but nobody was there to answer them,” said Aejaz Ahmed Mirza, a researcher who worked at DRDO before he was arrested last year.
Aejaz is presently out on statutory bail since the NIA failed to file charges against him within the stipulated time limit.
“I lost my dream job and I do not have any identity. To travel to Bangalore, I needed an ID card for booking a train-ticket; but the police have not returned any of my belongings. What should I do?” Aejaz asked.
“Throughout the case, media and the investigating agencies behaved in a manner that portrays Muslims in a very stereotypical way. During interrogation, a policeman asked me ‘You work for a Pakistani newspaper no?’ The whole world knew that I work for a leading English daily in India. One officer told Aejaz ‘Only 2 or 3 Muslims have worked for DRDO till date… After this I am sure that they will not take any Muslim’,” Muthi-ur-Rahman Siddiqui, who was cleared of all charges before being released last month, said.
“After witnessing all this, and the way in which media reported this case, I am no longer proud to be a journalist. Although I got very good media coverage after being released, the media is being hypocritical. They are asking the police to apologize, while they are not willing to do so,” Siddiqui added.
Adding to this, Yusuf Nalband, another accused who was released along with Siddiqui, said “The media showed our Kalima (Symbol of Muslim faith) ‘La ilaha illallah’, which was written on the front door of our house, as a symbol of terror and blood-shed.”
“I do not have a father, and my mother is aged. I cannot explain to you what my mother went through when she was put up with questions like ‘Is your son a terrorist?’; Policemen still come to my house and ask me to give all details like ‘where I go’, ‘what I do’, ‘who my friends are’ etc… All my documents are still with them. I do not have an identity now,” Nalband added.
Bangalore terror case as of now…
The charge-sheet filed by NIA in this case – RC 04/2012/NIA/HYD – lists the names of 25 accused, out of which 15 were arrested last year while 10 others remain absconding. In the charge-sheet, charges were filed against 12 persons – 11 out of the 15 arrested and 1 from the absconders list. While two of the accused – Muthi-ur-Rahman Siddiqui and Yusuf Nalband – were released, more time was sought by the investigation agency to probe the role of two more youths – Aejaz Ahmed Mirza and Syed Tanzeem.
However, since the stipulated time of filing a charge-sheet against an accused had passed in Aejaz Ahmed Mirza’s case, he was released on statutory bail about a week after Siddiqui’s release.