Swami’s testimony frees terror accused after seven years in jail

Nasir’s family in Bijnore expressed their gratitude for Swami Shivanand.

Lucknow | Published: March 23, 2014 2:44 am
Nasir was picked up from Uttarakhand ashram, Shivanand told the court Nasir was picked up from Uttarakhand ashram, Shivanand told the court

32-year-old Nasir Hussain had spent nearly seven years in jail after the UP Police accused him of sedition and planning terror attacks. He walked free this week — after a 71-year-old Hindu spiritual leader testified in court that Nasir had been abducted from his ashram in Uttarakhand days before the police recorded his “arrest”.

Nasir’s family in Bijnore expressed their gratitude for Swami Shivanand. The government’s lawyer conceded that the swami’s testimony had been vital. The court noted the fact that the swami had travelled from his ashram entirely at his own expense for the case.

The UP Special Task Force had claimed to have arrested Nasir alias Masoom alias Chhotu from a Lucknow hotel in June 2007. They had accused him of being a HuJI operative, claimed he had explosives on him, and alleged that he had intended to trigger terrorist explosions.

Swami Shivanand, head of an ashram at Muni Ki Reti town in Uttarakhand’s Tehri Garhwal district, was named as a witness for the defence. After being summoned by the special court in Lucknow jail, the swami travelled to Lucknow in June 2013.

As per the court’s order, Shivanand testified that Nasir had been snatched from his ashram by some men in plain clothes between 5 am and 7 am on June 19, 2007. Nasir had been working on the premises, where a building was being constructed.

The inmates of the ashram had run to get help, but had been unable to prevent the men from taking Nasir away, Shivanand said. He told the court that an attempt had been made to file a complaint at the local Muni police station, but the police had refused to register a case.

In the chargesheet, the police had shown Nasir to have been arrested from a Lucknow hotel on June 21 — three days after he, according to the swami, was picked up in Uttarakhand. The police claimed he was a trained militant who planned to bomb a Haridwar-bound train in pilgrims for the Kaveri Mela would have been travelling. The police claimed Nasir had confessed to have trained at a HuJI camp in Pakistan in 2005.

In its order, the court said Swami Shivanand’s statement was most reliable while prosecution witnesses appeared to be unreliable. The court observed that Shivanand was a 71-year-old old man who had spent from his pocket to travel to Lucknow, and had tried to prove that the accused had been staying at his ashram from before June 19, 2007. The court also mentioned that the prosecution’s detailed cross-examination had failed to dent the swami’s version.

Referring to Shivanand’s statement and the police’s claim, the court observed that whenever two possibilities arise, the benefit of doubt must go to the accused. On Thursday, the judge acquitted Nasir Hussain of all charges. Nasir was released the same evening, and he returned home to Bijnore.

Nasir’s elder brother Zakir Hussain said, “We are thankful to Swami Shivanand who travelled from Uttarakhand to Lucknow to give his statement which led to my brother’s acquittal. He had assured us of help after my brother was arrested, and he kept his promise. We will always be grateful to him.”

The swami had spent Rs 8,700 to fly from Dehra Dun to Lucknow after failing to get a reservation on a train.

A native of Bijnore’s Badapur locality, Nasir, a graduate, is unmarried. His father, Hamid Hussain, is a farmer.

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  1. R
    Mar 23, 2014 at 1:39 pm
    Hats off to this 71 years old Swami Shivanand, who really should be awarded for his brave and courageous act. Not only did the swami speak the truth, but also went all the way to the court to Lucknow, on his own expenses to give his statement. Its a great example of secularism. Now the issue is about 7 years this man spent in jail for no fault of his. Shouldn't the people responsible for his man, being in jail be accountable and must be suitable compensated ???? If such people responsible for this man to be in jail are not punished, then there are very big chances that such mistakes will be repeated again and again bcs no action is being taken against such big mistakes (done purposely or .......) And there is big possibility that such innocent people may take up the wrong route to take revenge or .......
    1. J
      Jeevan Karkera
      Mar 23, 2014 at 1:38 am
      Hope, Nasir will not bomb Shri Swami Shivanand one day.
      1. Mohammed Khader
        Mar 22, 2014 at 11:37 pm
        Who Is going to pay Nasir Hussain the lost 7 years? The cop who arrested should be punished and government should compensate.
        1. m
          Mar 24, 2014 at 6:59 am
          We Indians should be proud of this 71 year old Swami's brave and humane actions! People like Swami Shivanand make the word 'Swami' meaningful and worthy and at the same time expose the treacherous and mischievous acts of many fake 'sadhus' clad in saffron.
          1. T
            Mar 22, 2014 at 11:11 pm
            yup as usual no action will be taken against the communal police officers
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