Mohammed Yasin’s family had a thriving business of carry-bag manufacturing at Popatiawad in Ahmedabad’s Dariapur. Around 30 women were employed at their manufacturing unit until 2003 when the arrest of Yasin’s brother, Hanif, on terror charges ruined the business.
“The business collapsed in no time. People from my own society stopped talking to us. We were treated like terrorists. The coming years took a toll on us and my mother passed away. Hanif’s wife, Yasmin, too, died,” Yasin said.
Hanif was arrested on charges of making bombs at the manufacturing unit. He was incarcerated for 13 years before the Supreme Court found him innocent and acquitted him on Thursday. “His elder daughter was only 12 then. She is now 26. We have been trying to find a suitable match for her. But we have been unable to find one due to this case,” Yasin said. “The whole family had to live with the terrorist tag for 13 years. What kind of justice is this?”
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Hanif is likely to be released along with Habib Hawa from Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati Central Jail on Saturday. The court separately ordered release of Anas Machiswala and Kalim Ahmed, considering their 13 years in prison as punishment. The Gujarat High Court had sentenced Machiswala and Ahmed to life in prison for planting bombs in buses to avenge the 2002 anti-Muslim riots.
Hawa’s family is planning a big feast to welcome him. “Many of my relatives are likely to come and meet him. The case shattered the whole family. We worked together as electricians and were doing good. One day police caught me. They kept me under detention and said that until my brother surrenders, they would not let me go. My brother turned up and got arrested,” said Habib’s brother and Dariapur-resident, Moin, 41. “After my brother’s arrest, people stopped giving me any work. The ‘Hawa Electrics’ I used to run with my brother stopped getting work mostly from elite Muslims. I left the job and tried my hand at other things but failed. I have started this work again.”
Machiswala’s brother, Mohammed Owais, rued that his sibling lost his youth in jail and could not marry. “Who would have given him their daughter?’’ He said that their community boycotted his family after his arrest.
Ahmed’s father, Habib Abubakar, 79, said that his family too was shattered due to the case. “My two other sons live separately and I had to take care of Kalim’s family on my own. My sons have helped me over the years.”
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