New Delhi: On the day, when BJP leaders were jumping in joy for party’s pyrrhic victory in the elections, the Supreme Court acquitted six convicts in 2002 Akshardham temple attack case and blamed the Gujarat Home Minister for “non-application of the mind” in granting sanction…since it was based neither on an informed decision nor on an independent analysis of facts…”. Then Gujarat Chief Minister was Narendra Modi who had also held home portfolio.
Two of the six accused were given death while rest four innocents had already spent over 11years in jail. At a meet conference organized by the JamiatUlema-i-Hind (A), the six innocent Muslims narrated their trials and tribulation in Gujarat jails. One of the accused, Abdul Qaiyum Muftisaab Mohammed Bhai aliases Mufti Abdul Qaiyum has changed completely in the 11 years that he spent in jail. His father is dead,and his family no longer lives in their old home. On his acquittal, he said he was merely release from prison; justice had been buried at every moment in these 11 years.
It is to recall that two terrorists stormed the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar on September 24, 2002. Twenty five persons were killed and 77 injured. After almost one year, on August 17, 2013 at 4.30p.m. life as they knew it, virtually ended for Mufti Abdul Qayum and his family. There was the proverbial knock on the door, and men claiming to be from the Crime Branch barged in. Qayum was with his aged parent, wife, and two little children, one eight months old and the other five years. “Our sahab wants to meet you,” they said. Mention of the ‘sahab’ struck deep fear in Qayum, in a State that was still recovering from the aftermath of terrible violence. “I do not know what happened to me, but I went along, if only I had not”.
He was blindfolded, taken to the Crime Branch headquarters in Ahmedabad, and kept waiting for a few hours before being taken into the interrogation room. He said with tears in his eyes that “You can think of the worst kind of torture,” and even that will not be anything compared to what I went through.” He was beaten until he felt unconscious, not once but on several occasions.
Qayum was thus literally snatched out of the jaws of death as he along with Adam Ajmeri and Shan Miya alias Chand Khan had been awarded the death sentence in July 2006 by the special court set up to try the case under POTA. A local youth from Dariapur, where Qayum was also helping in a relief camp of riot victims, Mohammad Salim Shaikh was sentenced to life imprisonment, Abdulmiyan Qadri was sentenced to ten years imprisonment and Altaf Hussain was sentenced to five years in jail. The last two are out of jail now. Others also spoke about the inhuman treatment they have been meted out in jail as their stories are similar to Qayums. Adams wife Naseem Bano was just 29 years old when he was picked up by the Crime Branch men. She is 40 years now and spent an extremely rough eleven years in raising her two children on the meager money she made from embroidery and tailoring.
On the occasion JIH (A) president Maulana Arsahd Madni, whose organisation has pursued the case through lawyers through the long years, said, “no one cares, not a single political party has even raised the issue. We get two boys acquitted, they arrest three more and put them in and all these political parties have nothing to say.” He said he is a Congressman but “ is hamam mein sab nange hain” . He also feared that such events in future will occur more often.