JeM “terrorists” turn out to be harmless Tablighis

In early May, Delhi Police’s notorious* Special Cell picked up 13 Muslim youth, some of them juvenile, from north-eastern Delhi and the neighbouring Loni areas amid great media blitzkrieg about busting a Jaish-e Muhammad (JeM) cell which was planning to explode bombs all over the capital and beyond, the youth’s going to Pakistan for terror training, holding terror training camps, making bombs, etc, etc. The news-breaking channels and newspapers went ga-ga airing and publishing, withoug cross-checking, police-fed misinformation for days.

Since Delhi and Loni are very much part of the capital, it was not difficult for Muslim organisations and human rights activists to immediately reach the place, interview the families and neighbours of the victims and expose the bogus story cooked up by the Special Cell to keep the terror myth alive and, as usual, to win some promotions, medals and cash prizes…

Within days, it became clear that the victims were extremely ordinary people. Most of them could hardly use a computer and most unlikely could communicate with others using modern gadgets. One of them, from whose home a “laptop” is claimed to have been “recovered” by the Special Cell sleuths, did not have in his house even a simple television set for the last six years since his father died. One of them (Sajid) had earlier tried to become a professional dancer while another (Mohsin Khan) tried to become a cricket player. This is the same Special Cell whose members had fabricated dozens of such cases including planting weapons in the Delhi hotel room of the surrendered Kashmiri militant Liaqat in March 2013.

Since human rights organisations and Muslim outfits are now more alert about the sinister games played by the IB and its minions in the police to defame the Muslim community and keep it ever on its toes, a big protest and legal fight started. The result was that four of the arrested youth (Maulana Mazahir son of Hafiz Zaheer Ahmad, Muhammad Muhsin Khan son of Saeed Khan, Zeeshan son of Muhammad Achchan, and Muhammad Imran son of Iqbal) were released on 7 May. Six more (Muhammad Tahir son of Zaheer Ahmad of Loni, Shakhawat Ali son of Sharafat Ali of Chandbagh, Muhammad Naazir son of Jaluddin of Mustafabad, Azeem Ahmad son of Maulana Naeem of Chandbagh, Imran Khan son of Fakhruddin of Chandbagh, Muhammad Imran son of Muhammad Kabeer of Kabeernagar) were released the next day while three (Sajid, Shakir and Sameer) were remanded in police custody. They were later chargesheeted for working for the banned JeM. In comparison, chargesheets against the Hindutva terrorists responsible for Malegaon 2008 are yet to be filed after the passage of over eight years.

Jamiat Ulama-e Hind’s lawyer Advocate MS Khan is looking after this latest case. Police had claimed that it had been keeping a watch on these youth for the last six months. People of the localities from where these youth were arrested said they were of very poor background and did manual chores to feed their families. The only common thread binding them was that they all belong to the Tablighi Jamaat and used to meet in a mosque after late evening prayers. Police seized common household items from their homes and later claimed to have seized pipes, batteries, timers, and explosive materials. Police claimed that the left hand of one of the accused (Sajid) was injuried due to the explosion of a bomb, while his mother maintains that it was due to hot milk falling over his left hand. Real Hindutva terrorist bombs, which had exploded in Kanpur, Nanded and Goa etc, did great damage even to the surrounding buildings besides killing the fabricators into smithreens. A red-faced Special Cell has now announced that it will counsel the released youth who have been asked not to leave their areas and to present themselves for questioning whenever asked.

Earlier, on 4 May, the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh expressed confidence that the Indian Muslims will never allow  fundamentalist Islamic groups like ISIS to spread its tentacles in the country. Intervening during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha, Singh assured that the activities of IS have been largely contained in the country. “Situation is not alarming. They (IS) will not be able to spread their activities. India’s Muslim community is so much gelled with the country’s traditions and its values that it would not allow IS to flourish on our soil,” Mr Singh said. Answering supplementaries, his deputy Kiren Rijiju told MPs that in all, six cases relating to IS activities have been registered so far and some accused arrested. He said some of the top political leaders have received threats from IS but he refused to divulge names.  * If you don’t know or believe how notorious the Special Cell is please read Framed, Damned, Acquitted a report by the Jamia Teachers' Solidarity Association (To order see page 19 inside)