National Award-winning actor Rajkummar Rao is known for breathing life into characters in a way that makes you believe in their truth. Be it the human rights activist from Shahid or the enigmatic Pritam Vidrohi from Bareilly Ki Barfi, once Rao gets into the skin of a character, he goes all in. In his upcoming film Omerta, Rajkummar plays a character based on terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh.
In many of his interviews, Rajkummar Rao has stated that the energy of this character started to hamper his peace of mind and considering the acts done by the terrorist, it would have surely been a hard task for this actor.
But who is Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh?
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who currently holds a British passport, is a terrorist of Pakistani descent. In 1994, Sheikh was involved in the kidnappings of four foreign nationals from New Delhi. The terrorist, who was using the alias of Rohit Sharma, took three of them to a village near Saharanpur and the fourth one was taken to Ghaziabad. In exchange, the kidnappers demanded that the government release ten militants imprisoned in Kashmir, or else, they would behead the captives. The hostages were rescued and Sheikh was captured by the police. He was imprisoned at Tihar Jail in New Delhi.
After serving five years in jail, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh had to be released. This release was a part of the deal after his associates hijacked the Indian Airlines Flight 814. The flight that was on its way from Kathmandu, Nepal to Delhi was hijacked with 190 people on board. The flight was captured soon after it entered the Indian airspace and was taken to Kandahar, Afghanistan, which was under Taliban’s control at the time. The crisis lasted for seven days as the hijackers demanded the release of Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, Masood Azhar, and Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh.
After Sheikh managed to get out of prison, his next act made him infamous throughout the world. This was the kidnapping and beheading of journalist Daniel Pearl. Pearl was kidnapped in Karachi when he was out on assignment for The Wall Street Journal. The abductors demanded that the US free all Pakistani terrorists kept in their jails and release the halted shipment of their F-16 fighter jets.
Nine days later, Pearl was killed. His throat was slit and this was recorded on video, which was sent to the US authorities. His body was cut into ten pieces which were buried. This act is still counted as one of the most heinous acts done by a terrorist organisation.
Sheikh also, reportedly, played a role in wiring money to his associates in the US to carry out the 9/11 attacks.
It is said that Omar was an agent of the British intelligence agency, MI6, but later became a double agent when he started working for Osama Bin Laden. Currently, he is imprisoned in Karachi, Pakistan.