‘They asked me to choose: Godhra, Pandya or Akshardham’

Acquitted by SC, Akshardham attack accused say they were framed by Gujarat Police.

Written by Abantika Ghosh , Muzamil Jaleel | New Delhi | Published:May 21, 2014 12:50 am
Five of the six men who were freed by the court in the Akshardham temple terror attack case in Gujarat, in New Delhi on Tuesday.   Tashi Tobgyal Five of the six men who were freed by the court in the Akshardham temple terror attack case in Gujarat, in New Delhi on Tuesday. Tashi Tobgyal

Gujarat Police gave him the “choice” of being implicated in the Godhra train burning, Haren Pandya murder and Akshardham terror, one of the men acquitted by the Supreme Court in the temple attack case alleged on Tuesday.

Mohammed Saleem was eventually sentenced to life under POTA for involvement in the Akshardham case.

On May 16, the day Prime Minister designate Narendra Modi won his historic mandate, the Supreme Court set Saleem and five others free, pulling up the Gujarat Police for framing innocent people, and blaming the then home minister — Modi — for “non-application of mind”. Four of the six men had already spent over 10 years in jail.

“I had been working in Saudi Arabia for 13 years, when they picked me up alleging there was a problem with my passport. They beat me brutally — I still have scars on my back, and I suffered a fracture in my foot. They asked me which case I wanted to be charged under — Akshardham, Haren Pandya or Godhra. I did not know what to say,” Saleem told a press conference addressed by five of the six men in Delhi.

Saleem’s daughter was born four months after his arrest. He picked her up in his arms for the first time only after his release — the child is 10 years old now.

The world of Abdul Qaiyum Muftisaab Mohammed Bhai alias Mufti Abdul Qaiyum has changed completely in the 11 years that he spent in jail. His father is dead, and his family no longer lives in their old home. His acquittal by the Supreme Court, Qaiyum said, was “mere release from prison; justice had been buried at every moment in these 11 years”.

Qaiyum said the main charge against him was that two letters recovered from the two fidayeen killed in the terror attack had been written by him. He was framed, Qaiyum alleged.

“For three days and nights, they made me copy a letter that they had given me. They (the police) would bring an expert each day to check whether I had copied it well. They would ask me to copy the turns and twists of the Urdu letters so that they looked exactly the same as in the letter. I was very afraid, and did what they told me to do,” he said. “Then they claimed in court that I had written the letters.”

Qaiyum said that in jail, he met the police officers who had framed him, and asked them why they had done so. “I met G L Singhal. Though they (police officers) were kept separately, we sometimes bumped into each other. I told him (Singhal): ‘Please tell me why did you do this to me.’ His young son had committed suicide, and that had made him feel what grief was. He had no answer.”

Arshad Madani, president of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind which organised the press conference, said, “I am willing to talk things over with anybody to ensure such things do not happen, but I fear that there is a real chance that this will actually happen more often.”

He said the Jamiat would approach the Supreme Court to seek punishment for the officers who had framed the men. “Supreme Court and judiciary is our last hope. The government and the media have been biased, and an atmosphere has been created in which every Muslim is seen as a terrorist,” Madani said.

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  1. M
    Mohandas
    Feb 16, 2017 at 10:09 am
    God...If you exist , I believe so, please punish the dirty ones ...Please single out the dirtiest of the dirtiest for severe punishment for working against humanity !!
    Reply
    1. M
      Moin
      Feb 17, 2017 at 3:03 am
      The Indian EXPRESS done a really outstanding job compare to other fake news spreaders
      Reply
      1. S
        Syed Sajid
        Feb 16, 2017 at 7:59 pm
        It's like being unknown in our own home.
        Reply
        1. M
          Mohit
          Sep 6, 2016 at 2:10 pm
          Boycott Times of india and other fake newspapers lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;After reading this article I feel there is a lie and sham in every nook and corner of the government body. But what is media doing. Hats off to The Indian Express for bringing out the truth. Shame on you other newspapers like TOI for not bringing out the real facts. lt;br/gt; I believe we should stop reading these comics and start reading the real news.
          Reply
          1. M
            maitreymehta
            May 21, 2014 at 12:18 am
            Police officers who framed them should be arrested at once. When they were picked first & police collected evidences later,here u already have Supreme Courts finding that they were framed. Than why wait?
            Reply
            1. N
              Ninad
              May 21, 2014 at 2:57 am
              Wow, they are Muslims and this was Gujarat. Now it will be India.Acchhe din aa e hain.
              Reply
              1. S
                Sane
                May 23, 2014 at 3:22 am
                ok did u hear anything about this on our MSM, dear its happening all over the country......
                Reply
                1. A
                  aisha
                  May 22, 2014 at 1:36 am
                  Even in such situation they survived . It is our country different religious people live here peacefully in which corner this malacious things happen we never know!! Some or the other way its our mistake also that we dont see and take a strict action against such things. Innocent people suffered allot and even lost their families!! The police should be punished for doing such worst thing with fellow muslims. Feeling very bad today that we living in such country where we only pretend that we are indians first !
                  Reply
                  1. A
                    AK
                    May 21, 2014 at 6:47 am
                    This is the true picture of Gujarat Police Force and Governance
                    Reply
                    1. A
                      Arif Ayyub
                      May 21, 2014 at 12:36 pm
                      Muslims have been the fodder of Modi`s PM campaign. Fake cases, fake arrests, fake encounters - thats what defined the 'loh purush' (firm leader). And these were all carried out by plaible police officers (under their Home Minister, Mr. Modi!). We are indeed a great nation! Oh, there is gioing to be a lot of development now, right?
                      Reply
                      1. m
                        muhammed.asif hunani
                        May 21, 2014 at 8:02 pm
                        Brother...let us not divide ourself with races of religion better we learn lesson of brotherhood, we all will be returning to our creator one day A Dead has never left anyone hence good deeds will be counted 🍀
                        Reply
                        1. m
                          muhammed.asif hunani
                          May 21, 2014 at 7:57 pm
                          Well said brother...let us unit and fight for brotherhood & humanity🍀
                          Reply
                          1. m
                            muhammed.asif hunani
                            May 21, 2014 at 7:53 pm
                            Well written brother 👍
                            Reply
                            1. R
                              Right here
                              May 25, 2014 at 7:15 am
                              Sad but true.
                              Reply
                              1. B
                                Brahmendra
                                May 21, 2014 at 12:36 pm
                                Nobody is going to believe in these stories. Now a days all culprits are holding a press conferences like to this to gain sympathy. Why would the law enforcement harase anybody? they will not have any personal grude against them and it will be foolish to think state heads (CMs) target any particular individual whom he even don't know.
                                Reply
                                1. K
                                  Kamar Dheen
                                  May 22, 2014 at 6:56 pm
                                  its not case of 5 people. there are hundreds in jails with similar fabricated cases..recently CPIM leader Yechury had had released a list
                                  Reply
                                  1. H
                                    Harpreet Dhillon
                                    Jun 3, 2014 at 9:41 pm
                                    Horrific acts by Gujarat's govt for:Organizing these staged attacks of terror against their own beloved Hindu community, Misusing their power by jailing innocent people for decades, and forcing them to cover their staged attacks. Shame on them for enticing innocent citizens to fight with each other, destroying 1000's of innocent families, just because they lived in Gujarat and voted for you. Brothers, this is not the first time when someone pointed a finger on BJP's communal practices.Please wake up for justice and your country's benefit!!
                                    Reply
                                    1. J
                                      James Whitaker
                                      May 21, 2014 at 2:46 am
                                      Makes me sad to hear the plight of these men, if they are as innocent as they claim to be. India is a secular country and indian Muslims are also very different from Muslims in other countries. No doubt we have nefarious organizations like SIMI which should face the full force of law, but not all Muslims support them either. To paint everyone with the same brush will not be correct. As Indians we can either choose to live in peace and progress together or fight with each other and face collective ruin. In the larger interest of the nation all communities should live peacefully and accommodate eachother's point of view.
                                      Reply
                                      1. J
                                        Joseph m.j.
                                        May 23, 2014 at 5:53 am
                                        It is unfortunate and sad that these people had to suffer like this.The British divided us in order to rule. The gap they made between hindus and muslims remain to this day.We as a people are also responsible for nurturing it knowingly or unknnowingly. Our newspapers ess the prospects of a candidate in an election based on the communal break up in an area.It would appear that people vote on communal lines only discarding past performance and election manifestos. This is silly and ridiculous and grossly underestimating the common sense of the common man.It is time that the media desist from mentioning every event on communal lines. There is no need to mention or emphasise the religion of a citizen any where. We are Indians and must be addressed as Indians only. This way our oneness can be shown and practised in our social life.Jaihind
                                        Reply
                                        1. G
                                          G Shah
                                          May 21, 2014 at 9:06 am
                                          What do u mean? Ache Din Aa e?
                                          Reply
                                          1. S
                                            Slave of
                                            Jun 5, 2014 at 11:57 am
                                            O Muslim People...The only way to success in this world, grave and hereafter is by holding the Quran and Sunnah.... This is so called fake secularism is only to destroy Muslims. Strive for Khilafa, and that's the only way. The world now we are living is the world of Antichrist and Gog Magog. Its all been prophesied, the only things is today's Muslims are blind....O Muslim people you can;t kill the Antichrist and its system and deception nor you can kill Gog Magog and its corruption... This is the last age and it will be the worst age for Muslims... Islam there is nothing called Islamic State, there is only one and that is Khilafa State.
                                            Reply
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