Zaibunissa Qazi, a convict in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case who is in her 70s, was released on parole Thursday after spending eight months in Pune’s Yerawada jail. Though back to the comfort of her home, she has contracted infection and is very weak, says her family. The family’s only fear now is whether she would be able to survive the rest of her jail time.
Zaibunissa’s daughter, while speaking to Newsline Monday, however, said the police have been cooperative looking at her mother’s condition. “We were stuck in a traffic jam and reached Mumbai only after six hours from Pune. Her knees are fragile and she is now suffering from urinary infection that she contracted in the prison,” she says. “Her daily attendance is required at the local police station. Due to the difficulty she has in walking, the police were considerate enough to bring the register downstairs and she did not have to climb three floors,” she said.
Zaibunissa had a malignant tumour in her kidney and was operated upon a few years ago, Shagufta said. “She needs to go to the toilet frequently and in prison, there is only one bathroom for several inmates,” said Shagufta.
The state home department on January 20 granted 30-day parole to Zaibunnisa. She was awarded five-year jail term for her role in the blasts.
Zaibunissa’s 90-year-old mother was happy to see her daughter and called her by her pet name “Zaibu”, said Shagufta. According to Shagufta, her mother’s release came in the nick of time. “If she had stayed any longer, she may have fallen really sick,” she says.
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Shagufta thinks that not only her mother but the whole family has been facing punishment for two decades. “Her passport was seized. I had just got engaged but could not marry because of what happened. I gave up my career fighting for my mother but never regretted my decision,” she said.
Zaibunissa, who is scared of going back to jail, spent most of her time praying and hoping that she would be pardoned, says her daughter. The family feels she has been penalised enough and wants the authorities to consider her pardon petition. “My mother does not have a criminal background; even conspiracy charges on her were dropped. She has spent a-year-and-a-half in jail. Given her age, she needs to be pardoned,” Shagufta said.
Zaibunissa was charged with hoarding illegal AK-56 rifles, bullets and grenades in her house. “It was solely on the statement of Ahmed that she was charged. There was no recovery of weapons from our house,” said Shagufta.