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'...five years of inexpressible horror, I hope it was a dream'

Friday November 18, 2011 12:06:16 PM, Aleem Faizee,

Flanked by daughter Mutmainnah and son Adi Maqatil, Dr Salman Farsi sitting in his dispensary in Malegaon a day after release.


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Malegaon: Happy reunion with family members. People lined up to visit and greet them on getting bail. The Malegaon youth, accused in the 2006 blast case, look totally relaxed, calm and composed a day after their release. With smiling faces and glittering eyes, they listen to the visitors telling them how the civil society threw weight behind their fight for justice which started with their arrests.


However, the glittering eyes fade and smiling faces turn flat the moment questions about their experience in jail are asked.


"It was five years of horror which I would never like to describe. I want to forget them. Though it would take time before the horrific moments are erased from memory, I hope it was a dream", Dr. Salman Farsi says in a shattered voice even as his twin children watched curiously to what happened to their father who was smiling a little while ago.


The twins, daughter Mutmainnah and son Adi Maqatil, were just five when Dr. Salman Farsi, a medical practitioner, was arrested from his Mumbai residence in the 2006 Malegaon blast case. Mutmainnah, an Arabic name means one who is always peaceful and Adi Maqatil means the one who fights the evil. With their mother Dr. Nafeesa, herself a medical practitioner, alone to look after them it can be just imagined how they must have spent the last five years.


After release from the jail, Dr. Salman wants to start medical practice afresh. However, his arrest in the blast case has certainly influenced the choice of his children's career.


"I will become a lawyer", Adi Maqatil says in reply to a question. "I will become a journalist", Mutmainnah quickly adds in reply to questions  posed by about their career.


Ask them why and they say, "So that to defend people who are framed in cooked up cases. So that no one harm our father again."


Somewhat similar are the feelings of Shabbir Ahmed Masihullah.


"Ask whatever you want. But please don't ask anything about our experience in jail", he requests even before the journalists put a question.


Flanked by his children, he is receiving visitors while sitting in the veranda of his house. The place has seen hectic activities in last five years. For, Shabbir's elder brother Jameel Ahmed and Dr. Farogh Makhdomi's father Iqbal Makdomi - relatively sound economically and educated, are the two who fought the cases not only for their kin but also for others booked in the case.


And, how the arrest of these youth has impacted their entire families can be gauged from the fact that, like Dr. Salman's children, here again Jameel's son Afzal Nawaz, who had completed Chartered Accountant (CA) Foundation when his uncle Shabbir was arrested, left it incomplete and switched instead to LLB - a Lawyer's degree.


“After uncle’s arrest, my father knocked at every door… but no lawyer was ready to take his case. He would go with hope everyday but saddened he would return. No one was ready to believe that my uncle was innocent and wrongly framed in the case. For them, his was a very weak case to defend. It was then that I changed my mind, dumped CA study in the middle and decided to become a lawyer”, says Afzal while talking to


The story of Noorulhoda Shamsuddoha is even more tragic. He was arrested in the case just few days after marriage. Ironically, the investigating officers claimed that the conspiracy of the 2006 Malegaon blast was hatched when the accused met at Noorulhoda's wedding.


"How can one conspire for such a heinous crime during one's own marriage cremony?", his father repeats the question he has asked numerous times in the last five years to visiting journalists.


Noorulhuda was under continuous police vigilance ever since 2001 and when he was just 16. He was 'listed' by the local police during a protest march against US attack on Afghanistan.


"Thereafter it was a routine. Whenever and wherever in the country anything would happen police would come to our house and take him for questioning. He could not concentrate on his studies because of this. If there was any hope left it was also lost when he got arrested in the 2006 blast case", his father says.


Incidentally, Noorulhuda's family is literate and well educated. His grandfather Maulana Lateef Aimi was a renowned religious leader who once headed Jamat-e-Islami Hind's Maharashtra unit. But frequent questioning by police destroyed Noorulhuda's life and he found no option but to work as a laborer in powerloom factories.


Ask him what he intends to do now, he replies with just a smile. Not a single word. No plans. But the pain hidden in the smile in itself is worth thousands words enough to describe how police brutality, partisan approach and biased mentality ruin innocent lives.








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Picture of the Day

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