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
"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
ummid.com 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 ummid.com.
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.