‘Brainwashed with Iraq,Babri,Gujarat riots’

Tears streaming down his face,his hands trembling,the man who allegedly led the serial bombing of Ahmedabad that killed 58 and injured over 200....

Written by Kamaal Saiyed | Surat | Published: February 11, 2009 3:02:44 am

Tears streaming down his face,his hands trembling,the man who allegedly led the serial bombing of Ahmedabad that killed 58 and injured over 200 last July claimed he was brainwashed and ensnared into doing what he did by radical Islamist handlers.

Qayamuddin Kapadia,28,of the Indian Mujahideen — prime accused in the Ahmedabad blasts and a key suspect in the Surat bomb-planting as well as in the Delhi blasts — spoke exclusively to The Indian Express in the custody of Surat police today.

The plan to carry out the Ahmedabad blasts and the planting of 29 live bombs in Surat,Kapadia said,was firmed up in January 2008 at a clandestine meeting of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) in Halol in Vadodara.

But that was only a culmination of earlier meetings,including a SIMI meeting that he attended in Kerala in August 2006. Among those who led the crucial Halol meeting was SIMI General Secretary Safdar Nagori whom the Madhya Pradesh police arrested in March last year,Kapadia said.

If Kapadia is to be believed,his transformation from an ordinary Muslim youth with ordinary dreams and a loving family to look after to one of the country’s top terror accused,is a tale of intense indoctrination.

It started with Kapadia,a deeply religious youth,meeting up with Sajid Mansuri,the SIMI hardliner and a qualified engineer who is also in police custody now for the Ahmedabad blasts. His journey to terror began in a closed little room in Vatva.

“I met Sajid Mansuri during December 2007,we soon became friends. Both he and I were privately doing Islamic propagation work in Vadodara,and we began getting much closer to each other. Some time later,he introduced me to Abdul Subhan alias Tauqeer in a room in Vatva area where Maulana Abubashar (another key accused in the blasts) and a few other youths were there. Later,Sajid Mansuri left the place and we stayed with Tauqeer.”

Tauqeer,says Kapadia,would hold a Majlis (meetings) with them thrice a day in that room. “We were not allowed to go out even to the mosques for prayers,we were told to pray inside that room.”

The Majlis sessions were intense,appealing strongly to the religious,emotional and intellectual sentiments of the captive audience. “Each Majlis would start with the recitation of the holy Quran verses by Maulana Abu Bashar. Then Taqueer would begin by reminding us about the war sanctioned by the holy Prophet to save

Islam in this world. The topic would then gradually shift to the current situation of Muslims the world over — we would be made to believe Muslims everywhere are being tortured and and murdered,giving many examples,like that of Palestine and the torture of innocent Iraqi Muslims by US soldiers.”

Then the speakers would turn closer home. “They would keep reminding us about the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the 2002 Gujarat riots. They would show us photographs of dead bodies of Muslim women and children burnt and brutally killed in communal violence”,Kapadia recalled.

“From among us,they selected enthusiastic youths who are both physically and mentally strong,and loyal to their ideology. They relentlessly kept convincing us that someone from the community should take revenge and kill people of particular community. I was one of the few Taqueer selected,and he he kept me with him for three months.”

The recruits were kept isolated. “They didn’t allow us to meet even our family members. During Majlis,they would explain to us the meaning of verses from the Quran and interpret those to convince us that we must take revenge and give a proper retaliation to persecution. Later,I came to know that the particular volumes of Quran that they had used to read out and interpret meanings was different from what is found in the market.”

Kapadia remained in Tauqeer’s company for three months from April 2008 and visited different places in Maharashtra,Gujarat,Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. According to Kapadia,Taqueer spoke fluent English,regularly read English newspapers,and kept watching international news on TV. “He would particularly look for news of the torture of Muslims in the other countries. Taqueer wanted to keep everything secret and had warned Kapadia not to disclose his working style even to Sajid Mansuri,he said.

Weeks went by,and soon came July 26,when the bombs they planted in Ahmedabad left a trial of blood and gore. Three months of desperate hide-and-seek with the law and then Kapadia was picked up from Indore.

“Main sirf ek baat kehna chahta hoon un Muslim ladkon se jo abhi tak in logon ki giraft mein nahin aye hain. Yeh log aapko Muslimon par huwe zulm ke photo dikhakar aur kaumwad ki batein sunakar aapko emotional karke apni taraf attract karte hain. Aur desh virodhi kaam karne ke liye uksate hain.” (I want to convey only one message to Muslim youths who haven’t been ensnared yet. They will show you photos and tell you stories of torture on Muslims and make you emotional. They will then convince you to carry out anti-national activities.)

Kapadia broke down saying he has lost all touch with his elderly parents,his wife and his small daughter and they have no one to take care of them.

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