WHILE SEEKING bail, Kalyan-based Areeb Majeed, facing trial for allegedly travelling to Iraq to join the Islamic State (IS) in 2014, has claimed before a National Investigation Agency (NIA) court that photographs submitted by the agency, showing him with a weapon, do not prove he committed a terrorist activity or is a terrorist.
The NIA claims that Majeed along with three others travelled to Iraq in 2014 and joined the IS. He is currently facing trial on charges including waging a war against any Asiatic power before his return to India in November 2014. One of the pieces of evidence against Majeed consists of photographs allegedly retrieved from his social media accounts, showing him holding a gun.
“The photographs were claimed to have been retrieved from my social media accounts. But, the accounts were already compromised as they were shown to have been used at various places across the world. Even if one is to assume the photographs are authenticated, can it prove I committed any terrorist activity or I am a terrorist,” Majeed, who represents his case in-person, submitted before the court. He further said the NIA had not been able to specify which particular terrorist activity or when and where it took place.
In February last year, the trial court framed charges against Majeed directing that he face trial under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act including punishment for terrorist act, conspiracy and Section 125 of the Indian Penal Code for waging war against any Asiatic power. The court dropped the charge against him for being a member of a terrorist organisation.
Majeed claimed that while it is alleged that he was arrested when he was “sneaking” into the country with ulterior motives, his return was facilitated by NIA with officials of the Indian Consulate in Turkey. He further claimed that a document submitted by the investigating agencies claiming to be a No Objection Certificate from the IS is not authentic as it is seen to be downloaded from the Internet.
“I was chosen to be made a scapegoat. I have been in custody for the past five years. My conduct is not that of a hardcore terrorist, I have been defending myself in court. Of the 187 witnesses part of the chargesheet, only 35 have been examined so far and the trial will take a lot of time to conclude,” Majeed said. The NIA has denied Majeed’s claims, stating in their reply to his bail plea that there is sufficient evidence against him and that the offences he is charged with are serious.