After a wait of 17 years, Fazlur Rehman Sufi will go home. In the first such instance, the Rajasthan High Court on December 18 granted parole to Sufi, who was convicted under Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) in 2004 for his involvement in a series of blasts in trains in 1993.
Now 60, Sufi will walk out of the Jaipur Central Jail this Saturday for a seven-day parole to attend his son’s wedding.
It will be the first time in nearly two decades when he would meet his wife Aneesa, without an iron net between them. “They would give us 30 minutes at the most… if they were generous,” said Sufi’s brother Junaid Ahmad.
A father of three, Sufi missed weddings of both his daughters in 2006 and 2014 as his parole applications were rejected.
“Sufi, a Mumbai resident, was an accountant before his arrest in 1994. Since then, he got permission to go home only once, in 2000, when he was still an undertrial and was given interim bail for 10 days,” said Mujahid Ahmad, his counsel.
The case in which Sufi was convicted pertained to blasts on five trains on the intervening night of December 5-6, 1993. Sufi was convicted on February 28, 2004 by a TADA court in Ajmer.
Advocate Ahmad said, “A bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Dinesh Chandra Somani granted parole to Sufi for seven days after noting the fact that he has been in jail since the past 23 years.”
Before the high court order granting parole to Sufi, the Supreme Court, while hearing a plea of another accused in the same case in September, laid out certain guidelines for granting parole.The apex court also said an earlier dismissal of a parole plea by Rajasthan High Court did not “meet the test of law”.
The judgment also termed an earlier high court observation in which it was said that because the appellant was convicted by the apex court, it won’t be appropriate for it to grant parole as “abdication of the power vested in the High Court”.
Sufi’s brother is busy completing legal formalities before he can take Sufi to their Mumbai home where his 26-year-old son, an engineer, will get married on December 26.
“Inshallah, ho jaega sara kaam time mein (By God’s grace, all the formalities will be completed in time)”, said Junaid Ahmad.
But the family knows the reunion will be short. “Two days will be spent in the journey to Mumbai and back. We will only have five days with my brother,” said Ahmad.