GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT
‘We were arrested to shield actual terrorists’
Accused of conspiracy, planting bombs
Samshodduha worked long hours as a labourer in a power loom. He had gotten married just three months before his arrest, and believes the innocent were put behind bars to shield the actual perpetrators. “Everyone in Malegaon always knew about our innocence. Now, it has only become official,” he smirked. “The police were not ready to listen to us. There was enough proof about our innocence but all they (the cops) did was torture us for 48 days,” he said.
‘We’ll make the cops pay for our plight’
Accused of conspiracy
Farsi was the only one who never appealed for a discharge from the case. “From the time I was arrested, I knew the case against us will be quashed,” he said, adding the battle now begins to bring the cops to book. “I don’t even want to talk about the charges against me. What matters is, we will not sit quiet. We will make the officers pay for implicating us,” he said.
‘I told my kids I’ll be back home in 10 mins’
Accused of planting bomb
Mansuri’s children, Faheen and Danish, are scheduled to get married next month, and the family said his discharge from the case was the “perfect gift”. Recalling the events leading to his arrest, he said, “A cop knocked on my door just after Iftaari (it was the month of Ramzaan), and asked me to accompany him to the police station. I told my kids I will be back home in 10 minutes, but it took me five years,” he said, a wry smile on his face. Mansuri runs a cosmetic shop in Malegoan that also sells imitation jewellery. “Nobody, not even an enemy, should go through what we suffered,” he said.
‘Now, jail the cops who framed us’
Accused of conspiracy
Abrar Ahmed, now 38, rues that his business – he ran an electrical supplies shop — was ruined to such an extent with his arrest that his family could never revive it. After being granted bail, Ahmed joined a power loom. The police had announced that Ahmed had turned an approver, but he told the court that he was tortured into signing the papers. “The cops forced me to sign the documents, which were written in Marathi, a language I don’t understand. The so-called investigation was a joke,” he said. He said that the cops responsible for the nine Muslim men spending years in jail should themselves be tried and imprisoned. “Our lives were ruined and the entire episode brought disgrace to our families. The law says that an innocent person being punished is worse than a hundred guilty people getting acquitted. We’ll never get back the time we lost in jail,” he said.
‘He died, hoping for this verdict’
Shabbir Ahmed Masiullah
Accused of storing explosives
Masiullah ran an electrical supplies shop, and was accused of storing explosives there. He spent fiveand-a-half years in jail, and died last year, when a wall at his house collapsed on him. “Shabbir’s son was just a year old when he was arrested. We have seen the cops knocking on our doors in the middle of the night, and the manner in which Shabbir had been tortured. The memories still haunt us,” Masiullah’s brother said.
‘Hunger strikes saved me a few times’
Accused of conspiracy
Makdumi is a unani medicine practitioner, who had launched a campaign against the so-called god men fooling people in the guise of curing them of ailments. He was accused by the State Anti-Terrorism Squad of attending five meetings leading to the blasts, and was arrested from his clinic in Malegaon.
“My children were only a few months old then, and my biggest regret is, I wasn’t there for them when they were growing up. I’m making up for the lost time by working overtime… both professionally and personally,” he said. Makdumi had filed for discharge from the case way back in 2008, but another two years went by before the arguments commenced. “And that too when I went on a hunger strike in a prison for 24 days. Every time I wanted myself to be heard in the case, I had to go on a hunger strike,” he said, adding, “I will now approach the high court for compensation for torture.”
The 2 discharged are convicted in 7/11 train blasts case
There was little to celebrate for the families of Asif Bashar Khan and Mohammad Ali, who were discharged in the 2006 Malegaon blasts case, around seven months after they were convicted in the July 11, 2006 serial blasts case.
Khan was found guilty of planting explosives on trains and was sentenced to death, while Ali, found guilty of assembling the bombs, was sentenced to life imprisonment. The families of Khan and Ali, insisting on their innocence in both the cases, said justice will be served only after the two return home, absolved of all charges. “This verdict gives us a glimmer of a hope,” Khan’s brother said. “The real face of the state ATS has been exposed. We have complete faith in the judiciary and are hopeful that justice will be delivered in the train blasts case as well,” he said.