Indian Express

72 Votes

Eight of 22 families in Azamgarh from where 14 men have been arrested over the last six years, accused of being part of the Indian Mujahideen’s terror plots. Tweet This
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sunday The Sunday Express meets them in the last days of Campaign 2014 for an opinion poll, of sorts.

One father is a retired mathematics teacher who breaks down less than ten minutes into talking about his imprisoned son. Another is an orthopaedic surgeon who says he counts the hours, waiting for justice, by letting patients stream into his clinic well past midnight. A third is an 18-year-old student who runs a half-room library in his village. This is my comfort, he says, helping others read, as he waits to hear from his brother, in jail for six years.

There are five more.

Eight of 22 families in Azamgarh from where 14 men have been arrested over the last six years, accused of being part of the Indian Mujahideen’s terror plots. Seven others are missing, two have been killed.

One Sunday ago, Amit Shah was in town calling it aatankvadgarh (the house of terror). Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is contesting from here, has taken these families for granted. Narendra Modi was here, too, on Thursday. He made one reference to the “youth” of Azamgarh: “you will write the future of India”.

These eight families have 72 votes on May 12.

The Sunday Express meets them in the last days of Campaign 2014 for an opinion poll, of sorts.

 

haneef

 

1.

Family Spokesperson: Mohammed Haneef, 64

Relationship with suspect: Father

Name of suspect: Mohammed Sarwar

Age, educational qualification of suspect: 29, B.Tech, Electronics and Communication Engineering

Location of suspect: Jaipur jail since January 2009

Accused of: Planting bombs in 2008 Jaipur serial blasts (59 killed)

Status of case: Trial on

Are you satisfied with your lawyer?: Yes. But we cannot afford Ram Jethmalani or Fali Nariman

Who else in suspect’s family: Parents, three brothers, two sisters

Source of income: Pension as retired math teacher

Last time you spoke with him: In jail in March

One thing that reminds you of him: The memory of when I boiled milk for him, ran after him when he was a boy so that he grows up strong

One thing you want to tell Rahul Gandhi: All this has happened in your government, when your party was at the Centre and in the state (Rajasthan). I never hear you mention us even once.

One thing you want to tell Mulayam Singh Yadav: You telephoned me after they took away my son, you told me we will get justice. How long do I have to wait?

One thing you want to tell Narendra Modi: I don’t want to meet him.

Number of votes in family: 9

Akhtar

 

2.

Family Spokesperson: Dr Javed Akhtar, 59

Relationship with suspect: Father

Name of suspect: Asadullah Akhtar alias Asad Haddi

Age, educational qualification of suspect: 24, B.Pharma

Location of suspect: Tihar jail, Delhi, since August 2013

Accused of: Plotting and execution of May 2008 Jaipur blasts (59 killed); July 2008 Ahmedabad blasts (56 killed); September 2008 Delhi blasts (26 killed); April 2010 Bangalore blast (15 injured); July 2011 Mumbai blasts (26 killed); February 2013 Hyderabad blasts (18 killed)

Status of case: Remand in process

Are you satisfied with your lawyer? No lawyer takes up these cases, so I helped set up the Association for Welfare, Medical, Education and Legal Assistance (AWMELA) to look for lawyers

Who else in suspect’s family: Mother, sister and brother

Source of income: Orthopaedic clinic

Last time you spoke with him: In jail, I am in regular touch

One thing that reminds you of him: His letter came last month, he asked if I was doing well

One thing you want to tell Rahul Gandhi: Digvijaya Singh arranged for my meeting with Union ministers but nothing came of it.

One thing you want to tell Mulayam Singh Yadav: You could have put pressure for a judicial inquiry but you didn’t. Maybe defeating (him) this time is the only way to teach a lesson. (Akhtar contested in 2009 as an Independent candidate.)

One thing you want to tell Narendra Modi: Those we voted for didn’t help, why should those we didn’t vote for listen to us?

Number of votes in family: 3

ahmed

 

3.

Family Spokesperson: Syed Ahmed, 48

Relationship with suspect: Uncle

Name of suspect: Chota Sajid

Age, educational qualification of suspect: 17, Class XI dropout

Location of suspect: Killed in Batla House encounter, Delhi, September 19, 2008.Accused of: Conspiracy linked to Jaipur blasts, Ahmedabad blasts, September 2008 Delhi serial blasts

Are you satisfied with your lawyer? Why do we need a lawyer, he is dead

Who else in suspect’s family: Mother; father died on April 19 this year

Source of income: Agriculture

Last time you spoke with him: All I remember is going to Delhi to collect his body, then burying it

One thing that reminds you of him: When I close my eyes, I see the gunshot marks on his skull

One thing you want to tell Rahul Gandhi: Please order a judicial inquiry. If it finds that my nephew was guilty, tell that to the whole world. If not, please put the policemen in jail.

One thing you want to tell Mulayam Singh Yadav: We are the ones who vote for you. If you don’t help, who else will?

One thing you want to tell Narendra Modi: Let him tell us what he wants to tell us. I have nothing to say.

Number of votes in family: 8

abu

 

4.

Family Spokesperson: Abu Saad, 42

Relationship with suspect: Brother

Name of suspect: Abu Rashid

Age, educational qualification of suspect: 34, studying for optician’s diploma

Location of suspect: Missing since September 24, 2008

Accused in: Not named in any case yet but investigators say he is key IM operative absconding

Are you satisfied with your lawyer? We don’t have our own lawyer. AWMELA is helping us

Who else in suspect’s family: Wife and seven-year-old son

Source of income: Agriculture

Last time you spoke with him: I got a call from Mumbai, my relatives said, please send him here because police are looking for him. I saw him board the train to Mumbai

One thing that reminds you of him: His child, he doesn’t know where his father is; I cannot even tell him that he is dead

One thing you want to tell Rahul Gandhi: You have to answer where my brother is. It was your government at the Centre and in Maharashtra. Where should I go?

One thing you want to tell Mulayam Singh Yadav: We kept praising you and now you are contesting from Azamgarh. When will I find my brother? Or will the police one day say we arrested him near Nepal? Or found him dead?

One thing you want to tell Narendra Modi: He thinks we are all terrorists. What can I say?

Number of votes in family: 13

 

hamza

5.

Family Spokesperson: Amir Hamza, 28

Relationship with suspect: Brother

Name of suspect: Arif Naseem

Age, educational qualification of suspect: 24, Class XII

Location of suspect: Sabarmati jail, Ahmedabad, since September 2008

Accused in: Jaipur serial blasts and Ahmedabad blasts

Are you satisfied with your lawyer?: We don’t have a lawyer. AWMELA is helping us find one

Status of case: Trial on

Who else in suspect’s family: Parents

Source of income: Cellphone repair shop

Last time you spoke with him: In jail in February, for 25 minutes. He asked me how our mother was

One thing that reminds you of him: Everything at home reminds me that he is not there

One thing you want to tell Rahul Gandhi: You should have set up a fast-track court for all terror cases. How long do we wait for justice?

One thing you want to tell Mulayam Singh Yadav: Please help us before our mother dies.

One thing you want to tell Narendra Modi: What can I say, he worked on the ek tihai (1/3rd) principle. (Excluding 1/3rd of the population.)

Number of votes in family: 10

amir

 

6.

Family Spokesperson: Abu Amir, 40

Relationship with suspect: Brother

Name of suspect: Mohammed Habib

Age, educational qualification of suspect: 24, madrasa graduate

Location of suspect: Sabarmati jail, Ahmedabad, since December 2011

Accused of: Conspiracy, Ahmedabad blasts; attending terror training camp in Ernakulum

Status of case: Trial on

Are you satisfied with your lawyer? We have two lawyers in Ahmedabad arranged for by AWMELA

Who else in suspect’s family: Parents

Source of income: Readymade children’s wear in Azamgarh

Last time you spoke with him: In jail in April

One thing that reminds you of him: His letter came last month, he asked if I was doing well

One thing you want to tell Rahul Gandhi: Digvijaya Singh came and said he would help, he did nothing

One thing you want to tell Mulayam Singh Yadav: Please ensure that there is a fast-track court for the cases

One thing you want to tell Narendra Modi: He has counted us all out, what’s there to tell him?

Number of votes in family: 10

abul-qais

 

7.

Family Spokesperson: Abul Qais, 18

Relationship with suspect: Brother

Name of suspect: Abul Bashar

Age, educational qualification of suspect: 28, Deoband graduate

Location of suspect: Sabarmati jail, Ahmedabad, since 2008

Accused of: Ahmedabad blasts, attending Ernakulum training camp, SIMI membership

Are you satisfied with your lawyer? I don’t know who our lawyer is

Status of case: Trial on

Who else in suspect’s family: Parents, wife and child

Source of income: Agriculture, elder brother is a religion teacher in Mysore

Last time you spoke with him: I met him in jail in March for 30 minutes but it seemed like five. He told me what an elder brother tells his younger one, to take care of our parents

One thing that reminds you of him: His letters from jail

One thing you want to tell Rahul Gandhi: The courts will give us justice but you had your prime minister. He never once talked about us.

One thing you want to tell Mulayam Singh Yadav: You said Muzaffarnagar riots wasn’t because of your government. We agree, but then what?

One thing you want to tell Narendra Modi: Why should he listen to me?

Number of votes in family: 8

shakir

 

8.

Family Spokesperson: Mohammed Shakir, 41

Relationship with suspect: Brother

Name of suspect: Bada Sajid

Age, educational qualification of suspect: 22, Class X, jewellery course

Location of suspect: Absconding since Batla House encounter, September 2008

Accused of: Conspiracy in 2006 Mumbai train blasts  (187 killed); Jaipur blasts, Ahmedabad blasts, Delhi blasts

Are you satisfied with your lawyer? We can’t afford our own lawyer. We are being helped by AWMELA

Who else in suspect’s family: Parents, three brothers,  two sisters

Source of income: Agriculture

Last time you spoke with him: We talked on September 18, 2008, the night before the Batla House encounter

One thing that reminds you of him: How can I answer such a question? Please let this remain within me

One thing you want to tell Rahul Gandhi: You make such a big issue of the encounters in Gujarat, you have CBI going after IB. Why don’t you probe the Batla House encounter?

One thing you want to tell Mulayam Singh Yadav: You promised to get us justice. You had enough seats to put pressure on the government, you did nothing.

One thing you want to tell Narendra Modi: His people say we should go to Pakistan, what can I tell him?

Number of votes in family: 11

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