Moutasim Billah, who has been accused by Hyderabad police of influencing two SIMI activists of Maharashtra to go to Afghanistan for terror training, says he cannot even afford his college fees, let alone fund such a trip by the two SIMI activists.
Billah, who has had many run-ins with cops, and his father Abdul Aleem Islahi, a cleric who runs a madrasa, are once again facing terror accusations with cops saying that Billah motivated Shah Mudassir alias Talha, 25, of Omerkhed, and Shoaib Ahmed Khan alias Tariq, 24, of Hingoli, to go to Afghanistan to train with al-Qaeda and wage “jihad” against India.
Moutasim, incidentally, was acquitted on Tuesday in an October 2004 attempted murder case in which he had been accused of attacking a Gujarat Police team and indulging in rioting to free Nasiruddin Hanifuddin Mohammed, a cleric, from their custody. Moutasim’s brother Mujahid Saleem was killed when police opened fire on the mob.
Moutasim’s father Abdul Aleem Islahi recently wrote an article on a website “Muslims should welcome ISIS’ announcement of Caliphate”. Moutasim posted this article on Facebook on August 27.
Speaking to The Indian Express, however, Islahi denied that his son has links with the banned SIMI. “Today, my son has been acquitted in one more case. My son does not have anything to do with SIMI activists. He is, as usual, being framed by cops. My son could not have motivated or conspired with someone living in Maharashtra to go to Afghanistan. Neither he nor I have that much money to fund their trip, nor do we have the resources to arrange passports. Once again, police are framing my son and the family. We have always been cleared of such charges,” Islahi said.
Moutasim, 27, is a final year M Tech student of Osmania University, and got married last June. Even before he turned 18, Moutasim and his brother were under police watch for suspected involvement with SIMI. On October 31, 2004, Moutasim had his first brush with police when he, Mujahid Saleem and others tried to storm the office of AP DGP to prevent Gujarat police team from arresting cleric Nasiruddin for his alleged involvement in the killing of former Gujarat home minister Haren Pandya. The Gujarat Police team led by Narendra Amin opened fire to prevent the mob from freeing the cleric from their custody and to protect themselves.
Moutasim’s brother was killed while Moutasim was booked by police for attempted murder, obstructing police officers, and being in possession of seditious literature and CDs containing jihadi speeches. Moutasim was also booked the following day for rioting and stone-pelting during the funeral procession of his brother.
In March 2008, Moutasim was arrested after a statement by his friend Raziuddin Nasir, son of Nasiruddin the cleric. Raziuddin, arrested by Karnataka Police from Devangiri while allegedly on his way to plant bombs at several places, reportedly alleged that Moutasim knew about SIMI’s activities. Moutasim’s arrest met with protests in Saidabad and prompted an attack on the Saidabad police station by women members of Darsgah Jihad-o-Shadat (DJS), the madrasa run by his father.
“I have nothing to do with any these cases, which have been foisted on me falsely by Hyderabad police,” he said. “By implicating me they are trying to cover up for their own incompetence and protect Gujarat police officers who shot dead my brother. Their latest is that I motivated two SIMI activists to go to Afghanistan for terror training. I don’t have the money to pay my college fees; how can I promise money?’’ Moutasim says.
Police commissioner M Mahender Reddy said SIMI activists who were arrested last week had confessed that Moutasim was their contact man in Hyderabad and that he would arrange for their travel to Afghanistan. “The case is still under investigation and we are gathering evidence,” he said.