Sacrificial Lambs - ii

Police stories about 'Terrorism' cases are full of loopholes, yet alleged 'terrorists' remain behind bars for years because courts fail to take notice of these loopholes. This is the second part were we highlights some of these glaring cases.

Shabbir Masihullah of Malegaon was running a battery shop when ATS people picked him upShabbir Masihullah of Malegaon was running a battery shop when ATS people picked him up and accused him of taking part in the Malegaon 2006 blasts. He had to spend five years behind bars for no crime committed. He is now out on bail, trying to put his life back on track. He has re-started his battery business selling ‘Marshal’ batteries which used to be popular in Malegaon. While in bail, his shop in the town’s Machli Bazar was closed down and his family had to exhaust all its savings trying to survive and fight his legal case. The family was doubly hit when robbers cleaned up their belongings in 2008.

Shabbir has also started an acupuncture clinic next to his battery shop. He had learnt acupuncture and pressure techniques while in jail basically to treat torture effects he himself was suffering from. Now he is treating even policemen.

Father stripped and beaten in front of son

Abdur Raheem, a resident of Malegaon’s Yaqoob Shahar locality.Mumbai: Maharashtra ATS officers stripped a father in front of his son who is accused in a terror case, beat him up mercilessly and forced him to sign on plain sheets of paper. This is the story of Abdur Raheem, a resident of Malegaon’s Yaqoob Shahar locality. He says that in the evening of 7 May 2003, he was waiting at home for his son Ansari Muzammil Akhtar so that they may have dinner together. But his son never returned home. Next day he went out to search his son. After exhausting all places in Malegaon, he went to Mumbai where he met some of his son’s friends who at first hesitated to tell him anything. On his insistence, they informed him that his son has been arrested by the police. Now he started visiting one police station after another enquiring about his son. His visits finally led him to ACP Parveen Ramakant. Next day he managed to reach ACP Ramakant’s office, where he was strip-searched, made to sign on a paper and told to wait. He sat there waiting all day only to be turned away in the evening without a hint of information about his son. He kept visiting the police for some information but in vain.  Some days llater he read in a Mumbai newspaper that his son has been arrested by the Mumbai ATS. Until then he had visited 12 units of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch without managing to get any trace of information about his son’s whereabouts. Days later he again read in a newspaper that his son will be produced in POTA court on 14 May 2003. So he went to the POTA court on that day but ATS officers did not allow him to meet his son who was remanded to police custody. On hearing this news, his wife fell unconscious.

Ansari was brought to the POTA court again on 29 June where Abdur Raheem managed to meet him. Ansari informed his father that he was kept in illegal detention for nine days and then jailed under a case about which he has no knowledge. He was being pressurised to sign on blank papers which he refused, after which he was subjected to a lot of torture in order to force him to sign the blank papers.

Abdur Raheem beseeched ATS officers to allow him to meet his son in the lockup. He was asked to come to the ATS office where he was first welcomed with a good measure of thrashing, then thrown into a room where his son Ansari was later brought. Now Abdur Raheem was stripped naked and mercilessly thrashed in front of his son who was told to sign on the blank papers if he wanted his father spared. He was further told that we have done this to your father now, next we will bring your mother and sisters and will strip them in front of you and beat them up. By now Ansari was a broken man so he signed the blank papers as asked by the ATS officers.

Abdur Raheem says that his son Ansari was to get married soon. He was told by the ATS people to sign the papers, otherwise he will spend his whole life in jail and will never get married.

According to Abdur Raheem, all his children are educated. Three daughters hold B.Ed degrees and are teachers. Two younger daughters could not continue education due to these circumstances and dropped out after 12th class. Ansari is a mechanical engineer, while one younger son is a librarian, the third son is a mechanical craft teacher, the fourth is IT passout while the fifth is a plastic engineer. Abdur Raheem says that this incident has shattered his family. His relatives and neighbours have shunned him. Marriages of his daughters have broken down and one daughter has died as a result of this trauma. He says that his son Ansari got bail four times during these past years but ATS people appealed every time and got the bail revoked. A broken man, he wonders when his family life will return to normal.

Click here for Part - 1

Compiled by Zafarul-Islam Khan

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 September 2012 on page no. 8

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