“From day one, I knew my son was innocent. But it took 12 long years to prove this. His youth has already passed now,’’ said pashmina artisan Ghulam Rasool, father of Mohd Hussain Fazli, who was acquitted in the 2005 Delhi serial blasts case. On Thursday, Fazli (43), and another accused, Mohd Rafiq Shah (33), were acquitted by additional sessions judge Reetesh Singh of all charges. Sitting outside his single-storey brick house in a congested lane in Srinagar’s Soura locality, 80-year-old Rasool said he has no idea when his son will join them in Srinagar. “My younger son, Mohammad Iqbal, is in Delhi. Hopefully, both my sons will be home in the next few days.”
Watch what else is making news:
According to their lawyers, both Fazli and Shah left for Kashmir on Friday. Claiming that his son had never been to Delhi, Rasool said, “When he never went to Delhi, how could he be responsible for blasts there?’’ Fazli’s elder brother, Ghulam Mohammad Fazli, said, “For us, a lot changed in these 11 years. I know my brother will be a changed man now as he has lost the golden period of his life.”
His mother, Fatima, said she clearly remembers the day their home was raided by the Army and police personnel, and her son was arrested. “We came to know after 15 days that he had been taken to Delhi and was an accused in a blast case. For the last 12 years, I have been waiting for him. Had this not happened, he would have married and started a family.” Fazli’s family said they met him only once in these 12 years.
“Six months into his detention, we met him at Rohini Jail. It was a painful experience. Due to financial constraints, we could never visit again. Over the last two years, we spoke to him over phone every month,” his father said. Twelve years have seen four new members added to the Fazli family — Hussain’s nephews Absar (10) and Momin (7), and nieces Misba (6) and Maryam (3).
“We have only heard about our uncle from our parents. Now we will finally meet him,” Absar said.
At Alestang, 8 km way, the house of Mohd Rafiq Shah is empty as his parents are in Delhi. Mohammad Maqbool, who runs a grocery store near the house, said Rafiq was a postgraduate student in Kashmir University at the time of arrest.
“I still remember the day he was picked up. The night the blasts took place, Rafiq was with us in the mosque. It was a fabricated case and it ruined the life of a young man,” he said, adding that Rafiq is an only son.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines