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In Tihar for ‘Islamic State links’, prisoner claims beaten and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’

The accused, Rashid Zafar, was arrested in 2018 on allegations of being a member of an Islamic State-inspired group that was planning suicide attacks and serial blasts, targeting politicians and government installations in Delhi and other parts of North India.

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi |
Updated: June 10, 2021 8:15:04 am
Tihar jail, Islamic state, Rashid Zafar, Jai Shree Ram, Delhi news, Delhi latest news, india news, indian expressWhile the court is set to hear the matter on Thursday, Zafar's legal team claims to have a video in their possession, in which the "inmate is seen narrating the incident”. (Representational Photo)

An undertrial prisoner, accused by the intelligence agencies of being an Islamic State member and planning serial blasts across the country, approached a Delhi court on Wednesday, claiming that he was beaten up by other inmates inside Tihar jail and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’.

The accused, Rashid Zafar, was arrested in 2018 on allegations of being a member of an Islamic State-inspired group that was planning suicide attacks and serial blasts, targeting politicians and government installations in Delhi and other parts of North India, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has alleged.

While the court is set to hear the matter on Thursday, Zafar’s legal team claims to have a video in their possession, in which the “inmate is seen narrating the incident”.

In the video, he claims that he was assaulted by inmates and a staffer of the central jail. “I was taken out of the ward and two men and a sipahi beat me. They beat me because I am in a terrorism case, and they are making me chant Jai Shri Ram slogans,” he claims in the video.

When contacted, DG (Tihar jail) Sandeep Goel said, “On Wednesday afternoon, inmate Rashid Zafar had gone to the jail dispensary. He is lodged in the high risk ward, but instead of going to his cell, he tried to enter another cell, and was stopped by jail security staff. He then started running and injured himself. We later took him to the dispensary and provided him with medical treatment. He has self-inflicted injuries and we are conducting an internal enquiry to ascertain the exact sequence of events. We are also conducting an enquiry to find out how he recorded the video from a phone inside the jail complex.”

Zafar’s lawyer, advocate M S Khan, confirmed the video, and in his application moved before the court stated that the alleged incident was disclosed by the accused to his father telephonically from Tihar Jail.

“The accused was beaten up and forced to chant religious slogans like ‘Jai Shri Ram’ by inmates,” the application states.

The plea requested that “appropriate directions may be passed to the Jail Superintendent to look into the matter”.

Multiple people were arrested in December 2018 after the NIA carried out searches in coordination with the Special Cell of Delhi Police and Anti-Terrorism Squad of UP Police at six places in Jafrabad and Seelampur in Delhi, and 11 places in Uttar Pradesh — six in Amroha, two in Lucknow, two in Hapur and two in Meerut.

According to NIA, a “locally-made rocket launcher, material for suicide vests and 112 alarm clocks to be used as timers were recovered from the searches”.

The agency also said it recovered 25 kg of explosive material, steel containers, electric wires, 91 mobile phones, 134 SIM cards, 3 laptops, knife, sword and Islamic State-related literature during the searches.

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