On September 15, newspapers in Allahabad were full of news on the capture of some terrorists. The arrested Muslim boys were told to have links with Pakistan’s ISI and that they had plans to blast important sites in the state but were caught. Along with these boys, there were reports of the arrest of 3 people from Rae Bareli and Lucknow, who were said to be related to the conspiracy. The press release issued by the ATS dated 15 September said that 6 people were arrested from three places, including 2 names from Allahabad, but later the number of arrests from Allahabad increased to 4. Also picked up were two brothers from Delhi, who are members of the family of Humaid arrested in Allahabad and also business partners.
After his arrest on September 14, misleading information about him kept appearing in the newspapers for several days, including the release of some people.
Due to such misleading news coming in, and locals acknowledging the innocence of people arrested, Allahabad PUCL decided to investigate and formed the team. The team consisted of High Court advocate and Senior Fellow of PUCL KK Roy, Advocate Seema Azad, Advocate Charlie Prakash, Advocate Soni Azad and Secretary, PUCL Allahabad Manish Sinha. Javed Mohamed, Umar Khalid, Kaleem and Rahil collaborated at the local level. On September 21, the investigation team talked to the family members of arrested Zeeshan and Humaid. The family members of arrested Tariq and Shahrukh locked themselves in their house in panic and did not talk to anyone. But from neighbours we were informed that Shahrukh, whom the papers claimed had been released after interrogation, was still in jail.
The things that the investigation team came to know after talking to the family of Zeeshan and Humaid’s house and the local people are –
- Zeeshan and Tariq were arrested on the morning of 14 September. Tariq was arrested before Zeeshan. Zeeshan’s father told that at 10 in the morning the ATS men came and went back after interrogating Zeeshan. The interrogation was focused on where Zeeshan was the day before? After half an hour, ATS came again with a boy named Tahir, then took Zeeshan, saying that after taking more information, he will be sent back. Once around 11:30 in the night, the ATS got Zeeshan to talk to the family members over the phone. Then at 6 o’clock in the morning, the ATS again made Zeeshan talk to the family members, in which he talked about being taken to Delhi.
- His father informed us that Zeeshan had done MBA. He had gone to Muscat for a job. Earlier Zeeshan’s father also used to work there, and Zeeshan’s childhood was spent there. After the lockdown, he returned to his country. After sitting empty for a few days, Tahir made him meet Humaid, who was doing date palm business. Dates come in large quantities from Saudi Arabia, then they are sent to many parts of the country. Zeeshan also invested money in this business at the behest of Humaid, but the latter could not give back the money and was avoiding Zeeshan for many days.
- In its press release, the ATS has talked about Zeeshan going to Pakistan and taking training from ISI, while Zeeshan’s father told us that he has never gone to Pakistan, nor does he have any relatives there.
- Zeeshan was presented in Delhi’s Patiala Court on September 15 at 11.30 am. On the same day, a press release issued by the ATS talked about the arrest of 6 terrorists from Uttar Pradesh, in which the names of Zeeshan and Tariq were from Allahabad.
- The investigation team met Humaid’s two sisters and brother Maulana Saifur Rahman in Humaid’s house. The sisters said that when the house gatewas opened at 7.45 am on September 15, at the same time, about 40-50 people in uniform and without uniform ATS forcefully entered the part of the house which was not Humaid’s. The division of the 6 brothers of the house has been done, and Humaid used to live in his share with his family. They snatched everyone’s mobiles, and got every room opened in which daughter son-in-law, son-daughter-in-law were still sleeping. The sisters said that the ATS asked their father about the number of weapons licenses he had. And how many people in the family were in government service. Their father told them that we do not have a single license. He interrogated Humaid’s wife for three hours. They were asking the same thing again and again, where is the weapon? Humaid has married twice, and his second wife, who lives at Tiranga crossroads in Kareli, was later questioned in a similar manner.
- The 22-year-old Osama, nephew of Humaid, was also arrested by the police from Delhi on the same morning. Osama lives in Delhi with his elder brother’s family and his wife and children. Both the brothers were also engaged in the date business with Humaid. The main operator of this business is Osama’s father i.e. Humaid’s elder brother, who lives in Saudi Arabia. Humaid looks after this business in India. The brother said that in addition to the ATS, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) team also came to his house for this reason.
- Not only Osama, but his elder brother too cannot be found from the same day, and the family members say that he has also been picked up by the ATS. All the mobile phones of his house have been snatched by the ATS men, while the wives of both the brothers are pregnant, and were unable to call anywhere.
- Humaid called the house 3 days after the raid on September 18 at around 8 pm that he was going to surrender, shortly after which he surrendered in Kotwali. On September 19, a Facebook video of Shahrukh, wanted in the same case, surfaced in which he was seen saying that he did not know what was in the box, which he kept at the poultry farm at Naini on September 12 or 13. The box was given to him by Humaid to keep and he had not opened it. In the video, he also said that he had received a call from the ATS on the morning of September 14, who had called him for questioning. Frightened by the day’s arrests, he called the ATS number the same evening, no one picked up, and switched off the phone, then on the evening of 19 September he surrendered himself by going to the Kotwali. Before that he made the above statement on Facebook.
- FIR was registered against the arrested persons in case number 223/21 under 120B IPC and 18/20 UAPA. This FIR was registered by the Delhi Special Cell at Lodhi Road, Delhi on September 10, in which no one’s name is mentioned. That is, this report is not named.
On the basis of the above facts, the conclusion of the investigation –
- The ATS, Delhi Special Cell has flouted the legal process on many occasions in these arrests from Allahabad, which makes these arrests and the story of the police in this context suspicious.
- The people whom the ATS and Delhi Special Cell described as big terrorists supported by Pakistan did not run away even after getting the idea of their arrest, cooperated in the interrogation and surrendered themselves. This raises questions on the big claims of the police.
- In the FIR registered against the arrested people, which was registered on September 10, neither the name of the person nor the place where they are living, what is their address, etc. are mentioned, then how did the ATS arrest the accused?
- The discovery of explosives and weapons from Naini seems suspicious, because-
(a) The FIR does not mention the place or type of explosives found or the type of weapons. Then how the matter of explosives came to the fore in the poultry farm located in Naini itself.
(b) Shahrukh in his video has talked about keeping a “box” on 12th or 13th September, then how can it be registered in the FIR of 10th September?
(c) The ATS has said that explosives were found from Naini’s Poultry Farm at Dundee, but did not display it in front of the press, as it has been doing in all other cases. It is not clear from this whether the explosive was there, then what kind and how much. Further, how many weapons were there?
(d) Whatever Shahrukh has said through his video will not be acceptable before the court. Because it cannot be said that he said that thing without any pressure. It may also happen that after registering the FIR on 10 September, the ATS placed the box by luring or threatening Shahrukh to fabricate evidence. All this is a matter of investigation, because it is very strange that only after the registration of FIR a criminal act has been identified. It is also strange that on September 14, Shahrukh himself called the number of the ATS and they ignored him for questioning or arrested him, he himself surrendered on September 19 in broad daylight while making the video.
4. Zeeshan’s father told us that the ATS men came to him once and after a little questioning, returned, after about half an hour they came and arrested him. If Zeeshan was really a terrorist working with ISI, then he should have understood the danger and in the meantime he could have escaped, but he did not run away, the ATS left him once again and took him away comfortably later. Thus, the police’s story of a big Pakistani terrorist raises doubts.
5. Zeeshan was arrested by the ATS from his house in Allahabad and produced in a Delhi court, but in the process the ATS did not take any transit remand from the Allahabad court, though it is a case between the two states. Nor did they produce it in the court within 24 hours. In this way the ATS violated the legal process of arrest.
6. In view of these facts, as a final conclusion, the police story of these arrests from Allahabad is surrounded by a lot of serious doubts, and points to a bigger police conspiracy. Delhi Police Special Cell is already infamous in such cases, so these doubts cannot be ruled out that were expressed by Zeeshan’s father and Humaid’s brother in their conversation. Zeeshan’s father said that “This government is targeting educated Muslim youth, that’s why I had sent Zeeshan to Muscat, but had to come back when he lost his job in lockdown.”
Humaid’s elder brother said, “This government is an anti-Muslim government, it does not want us to move forward. Humaid’s date palm business had gained immensely in just 2 years, so it came to the notice of these people that their business had to be ended, so they picked up 3 people from our house. The arrival of the ED team also points in this direction.”
For the past several years, governments across India have been imprisoning innocent Muslim boys in the name of terrorism. This government work accelerates to polarize Hindu votes before the elections. In the present case in which 4 people from Allahabad are in the custody of the police, it can not be ruled out that there are many suspicious things and facts from the police side, which have been mentioned above.
Therefore, PUCL Allahabad demands that the matter should be investigated by a team headed by a judge. The arrest of innocent people is very dangerous in terms of democracy and protection of human and civil rights.