Case of Abu Bashar arrested in connection with serial bomb blasts in Ahmedabad
Mufti Abul Bashar Qasmi Isalhi or Abu Bashar for short, 22 years in age, was literally dragged and kidnapped from his house in Village Beena Para in Azamgarh District of U.P. on 14th August, 2008 at 11 am, by unidentified plainclothesmen who came in two vehicles. Complaints were immediately filed with the local police station as well as faxes sent to the District Magistrate and the CM. Local newspapers reported this event next day. Two days later, on 16th August, 2008, the UP ATS showed his arrest from Charbagh, the Lucknow Railway station area, and the Gujarat Police chief P.C. Pande, in a press conference in Ahmedabad, named him as the mastermind in July 26, 2008, Ahmedabad serial bomb blasts. He was also held responsible for the conspiracy of bombs planted in Surat . After being taken to Ahmedabad by the Gujarat police since then he has been shown to have been arrested a number of times while in police custody in different cases, one after another on 31/8/08, 15/9/08, 30/9/08, 8/10/08, 23/10/08, 6/11/08 and again twice recently, without granting bail in any of the cases, so that his police remand could be extended for what has been a very prolonged interrogation.
The Gujarat police also claimed that he had traveled to Kerala and Gujarat in connection with imparting training to others and was also involved in planning Jaipur and UP court campuses blasts. P.C. Pande also claimed that Abu Bashar was the President of Indian Mujahiddin, a cover for SIMI, which sent e-mails claiming responsibility for some of these blasts.
Abu Bashar is the eldest of six brothers among seven siblings. His family is very poor, sometimes living on the verge of starvation. Neighbours have to often take care of this family. Father has been affected by paralysis and brain haemorrhage and mother too is not fully physically fit. They live a mud house. Abu Bashar is physically very weak, probably not weighing more than 40 kg. He could not even ride a bicycle. Neither did he know how to operate a mobile phone.
He studied to become a Maulvi at Madarsatul Islah. In 2004 he went to Darul Uloom, Deoband to become a Mufti. In 2005 he went in search of a job to Hyderabad and was teaching for Rs. 2000 p.m. in a Madarsa belonging to Maulvi Abdul Aleem. He was forced to return to his village in February, 2008 to look after his ailing parents. Except for his visit for study and job he never traveled for any other purpose.
The headmaster of Intermediate College in Beena Para, Abu Sufyan remembers him as a lean, shy and confused boy. The headmaster said that he never spoke to Abu Bashar because he thought that Abu Bashar was not capable of any intellectual conversation.
Mahendra Chaudhary, Addl. S.P. belonging to Rajasthan Police and investigating officer in the case of accused in Jaipur Blasts, Shahbaz Ahmed of Lucknow, has confirmed to us that Gujarat Police does not have a single concrete evidence against Abu Bashar.
Abu Bashar was never a member of SIMI. Shahid Badra Falahi, President of SIMI when it was banned in 2001, has also denied the SIMI membership of Abu Bashar. Abu Bashar’s only contact with former SIMI office bearers was in a national seminar of Islamic scholars in 2006 where Abu Bashar was also a speaker.
Conclusion: We think that Abu Bashar is innocent and it is a case of mistaken identity. He did not possess the skills required to carry out operations for which he has been charged as an accused. We find it surprising that a person with the abovementioned description has been framed in serial bomb blasts in Ahmedabad, among other cases.
He has probably been arrested because of his association with the madarsa of Maulvi Abdul Aleem in Hyderabad . Abdul Aleem’s son Moutasim Billah has been made an accused by Hyderabad police for obstructing police officers from performing their duty. Billah’s brother was shot dead by Gujarat police officer Narendra Amin in October 2004 when he was part of the crowd assembled outside a police station to protest the arrest of Maulana Nasiruddin. Maulana Nasiruddin and his two sons, Yasir and Nasir, have also been made accused in different cases. Maulana Nasiruddin and Maulvi Abdul Aleem are neighbours in Hyderabad .
Hence Abu Bashar’s involvement in either terrorist incidents or with SIMI is too indirect and far fetched to be taken seriously.
Members of Fact Finding team:
(1) S.R. Darapuri, IPS (Retd.), 9415164845, [email protected]
(2) S.M. Naseem, IPS (Retd ), 9839123786
(3) Ramesh Dixit, Professor, Political Science, Lucknow University , 9415103162
(4) Rajeev Yadav, Social Activist, 9452800752, [email protected]
(5) Shahnawaz Alam, Social Activist, 9415254919
(6) Laxman Prasad, Social Activist, 9889696888
(7) Maulana Zahir Ahmad Siddiqui, Social Activist, 9935221456
(8) Sandeep Pandey, Social Activist, 0522 2347365, [email protected]
Report brought out on behalf of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), UP Chapter, and People’s Union for Human Rights (PUHR)