The Cry Of The Beloved Country

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Tabrez says neither his two brothers nor he were ever associated with SIMI. Faisal had, indeed, been a SIMI member but had submitted an affidavit in 2001 after the ban that he had quit the organisation. On June 6, the police filed a chargesheet against the three brothers. Sure enough, all have confessed to being SIMI members. The police claim they found pamphlets at their house announcing that Muslims will build Babri Masjid once again at the same spot in Ayodhya where it was demolished in 1992. Tabrez fears for his brothers, as they have been implicated in the confessions of Safdar Nagori, the SIMI leader arrested in March at Indore. Tabrez fears he may be next in the line of fire.
Abdul Saleem, 74, is grieving for his youngest son, Abdul Mubeen, who was arrested on April 6 this year. Saleem lives in a tehsil in the Guna district, 175 km north of Bhopal, where he worked and retired as a reader in the magistrate’s court. Mubeen, 28, ran a photocopy-cum-STD booth from a rented room 3 km from their home. “They came at 4 am and showed no warrant to arrest him,” Saleem told TEHELKA.
The police also dragged away Saleem’s two other sons, an 18- year-old grandson, Abdul Qadir, and a nephew. The next day, police released all but Mubeen and Qadir. On July 2, when the interview with Saleem was conducted, his youngest son and grandson were in judicial custody. Mubeen had once been a SIMI member. When the organisation was banned, he and some others were called in by the police and made to submit affidavits that they would stay away from SIMI. The police claim they seized pamphlets from Mubeen suggesting that the Amarnath Yatra be attacked. It is pointless to ask if the police found independent witnesses to these seizures.

RIZWAN KHAN, 24, sells cycle seat covers in his small shop in the Sehore district 50 km west of Bhopal. It is his father, Mohammad Rafeeq, who was arrested by the police as a SIMI member, even though he is 45 years old and way beyond SIMI’s upper age limit of 30 years. The chargesheet filed claims that the police found “11 SIMI pamphlets and a book published by SIMI” from Rafeeq. The police claim that the book in Hindi is titled SIMI: 25 years of the journey of a struggle, 1977-2002. “I swear to God that my father has never been a member of SIMI or any such organisation,” Khan told TEHELKA, more scared than agitated. “He is a simple man who has never even remotely had any political ideas.” As is the standard with lower courts across India in such matters, his father has been denied bail. Khan was aquiver with both rage and fear as he talked haltingly about his options.
If some ex-SIMI members were forced by the police to submit affidavits in 2001 that they won’t have anything to do anymore with SIMI, there is a scandalous story of police arresting someone this year who had, in 2001, submitted an affidavit that he had never been a member of SIMI. This is Shakir Ali, 29, and a resident of Narsinghgarh. Shakir and his older brother Zakir Ali together ran a grocery store. “My brother has never been a SIMI member,” Zakir told TEHELKA. On April 2, at 1.15 am, about 15 policemen came to their house and took Shakir away. Zakir went to enquire at the local police station in the morning but was cold shouldered. Four days later, the police presented him before the court as being a member of a terrorist organisation. The evidence: The police say they seized the same pamphlet from him that claims Babri Masjid would be rebuilt.