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Mail Today, Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mail Today, Sunday, September 21, 2008

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UP cops say slain youths were ‘clean’
By Piyush Srivastava
in Azamgarh


Friday fight

Policemen in plain clothes observe Batla House in Jamia Nagar. The cops were told the militants involved in Delhi blasts were hiding in some flats.

A sub-inspector, dressed as a sales executive, knocks After the SI found the fourth floor flat suspicious, he informed his colleagues. Inspector Sharma then led a at one door in L-18. When a woman opened the door, team to the flat. He asked the man who opened the door his name. Suddenly, some others started firing from he was sure the ‘militants’ were hiding elsewhere. inside the house. Sharma and head constable Balwant Singh were injured while two ‘terrorists’ escaped.


N A HOT afternoon barely two months ago, 17-yearold Sajid made a promise to his mother — he would one day prove that he was as intelligent as his cousin Atif Ameen, 24. He would join an engineering course and become a noted technocrat. He wanted to know how his mother would react when he returned in a chauffeurdriven car, dressed in a black designer suit, ready to take her on a world tour.

Sanjarpur village in Azamgarh refuses to believe that its sons are terrorists. They were just simple guys who dreamed big
the time become anti-national within a few days?” he wanted to know. “He went to Delhi because Atif, his role model, was there.” “Atif was a role model for all the youngsters in Sanjarpur village,” said Mohammad Ujair, a local trader and neighbour of Dr Hassan. “Sajid had met me on his way to the railway station on July 10. Mohammad Saif was with him and they were very excited about making it big in life,” Ujair recalled. Saif told Ujair that his first mission was to speak fluent English. “He told me there could be no career without fluency in English,” Ujair said. In fact, five boys from the village were staying in the Jamia Nagar house. Sajid and Saif were planning to shift to the Safdarjung area where they had found a good computer course and an Englishspeaking institute. Saif, 23, had also left home for the first time in July. A graduate from Azamgarh, he is the fourth among 14 siblings. “I didn’t want any of my children to go away. But Saif did not want to be a small cloth merchant like me. He was very ambitious,” said Shadab Ahmed, the father of Saif, who was arrested on Friday. According to the Sarai Meer police, under whose jurisdiction Sanjarpur village falls, there is no criminal record against any of five youngsters who were staying in the flat. While the Delhi Police may be patting its own back, Sanjarpur village is seething. “Let the police identify them and show us how good their intelligence network is. We read in the newspaper that two youths had escaped from the flat and one of them was Tauqeer, the computer expert who was involved in the recent blasts at Ahmedbad and Delhi. But there were only three men staying in that flat. Two others had left over two months ago,” some villagers said. According to them, two more boys from the village were staying in the flat, but they left for Lucknow a couple of months ago after finding Delhi too expensive.

A second-year intermediate student, Sajid left home — for the first time in 17 years — on July 10 to join coaching classes in Delhi. Since Atif had rented a house in the city, there was nothing to worry about. “He was scared of a big city like Delhi and wanted me to call him up every day. He didn’t want to go to Delhi, but he didn’t want to compromise on his career either,” said Dr Ansar-ul Hassan, father of Sajid, who was killed along with Atif on Friday at Jamia Nagar. Sajid was fourth among six brothers and sisters. Dr Hassan, a Unani doctor who runs a clinic in Azamgarh, has not touched food after he was informed about his son’s death. “Can someone become a terrorist in two months? Can someone who used to hide in his mother’s lap all


(1) Mohammed Ameen, the father of Atif Ameen who was killed by Delhi Police in an encounter at Jamia Nagar on Friday morning; (2) Mohammed Tahir, the maternal uncle of Abu Bashar, an accused in the Ahmedabad serial blasts case. Bashar’s wife is a distant relative of Atif and Sajid; (3) Shadab Ahmed, Saif’s father. Saif was arrested for his alleged involvement in the serial blasts; (4) Mohammed Ujair, a neighbour of 17-year-old Sajid who was killed along with Atif in the Jamia Nagar encounter on Friday.


HEY HELD a meeting on Saturday and took a unanimous decision. “We don’t want our children to study. It’s better they are illiterate and poor. They went to Delhi with dreams in their eyes, but the police killed and arrested them only to prove that Abu Bashar is a terrorist,” said Abdul Jawad, a maulvi in the local madrasa. Even the local police is surprised about how Delhi Police zeroed in on Atif and others. “There is no criminal record against Abu Bashar or the other three,” said circle officer Shaelendra Kumar. Surprisingly, neither the local police nor the families of the ‘terrorists’ have been contacted so far. “We have received all information from TV channels,” said Mohammad Amin, Atif’s father. Atif was the youngest among two brothers. He had done MA in history from Machlishahr in Jaunpur district. The villagers are angry about Atif being called the mastermind of the Delhi attacks. “Since the police have failed to prove their charges against Abu Bashar, the accused in the Ahmedabad blasts, they are trying to finish all those whom Bashar knew,” said Mohammad Tahir, Bashar’s maternal uncle who stays in village Binapara, located six kilometres away from Sanjarpur. “Bashar’s wife Shakira is from Sanjarpur. She is a distant relative of Atif and Sajid. We fear that the entire family would be eliminated soon,” he said.

By Amandeep Shukla
in New Delhi
HEAD constable Balwant Singh is slowly recovering from bullet injuries at the AIIMS Trauma Centre. But there is a wound — inflicted by the Jamia Nagar encounter — which will probably never heal in this lifetime: the death of inspector Mohan Chand Sharma. He was a ‘father figure’ for the team members. Since Friday, when he was hospitalised with a bullet injury on his right hand, 32-year-old Singh hasn’t stopped replaying that deadly combat in his mind. “We reached the spot around 11 am, 15 to 20 minutes before inspector Sharma came. I was posted at the intersection a few metres from flat L-18. We had been informed that some men involved in the blasts were staying there and in another flat nearby. My responsibility was to keep an eye on the fourth floor,” Singh told MAIL TODAY. “After Sharmaji came, it was decided that one of us would go up and gauge the situation. Sub-inspector Dharminder, dressed like a salesman on purpose, went and knocked on the door. The boys rebuked him and sent him away. When Dharminder came back and told us that the inmates were suspicious, Sharmaji decided to take the lead. Five of us walked up while others covered all possible exit routes,” Singh recalled. “I stopped for a little while to question a man. But seeing my team on the move, I joined them. Our plan was to pick up the boys for questioning. Sharmaji, as always, was leading us. Somebody opened the door and Sharmaji asked him, ‘tera naam kya hai’. But that question was answered by bullets,” he said.

By Faizan Haider
in New Delhi
LITTLE did Shahbaz know, when he put the phone down after speaking to Atif Ameen on Thursday evening, that it was the last time they had talked. The next he would hear of his relative would be on television the next day — as the “terrorist mastermind” behind Delhi and several other serial blasts, gunned down inside his home in a police encounter. “I am not prepared to believe at any cost that my relative was a mass murderer,” said a shocked Shahbaz (whose name has been changed as he feared the police may arrest him too), while speaking to MAIL TODAY on Saturday. “Atif was a regular guy, interested in his studies and pursuing his career. He could never plant bombs and kill people.” According to Shahbaz, Atif came to Delhi four years ago to join a computer hardware course with a private institute in South Extension. “After finishing that, he told me he had enrolled to study human

Relative recalls final conversation with Atif
resource management in Jamia Millia Islamia. I thought it was an unusual field, but one with a lot of promise. He used to discuss his plans of joining a big company some day. Now they tell me he was a terrorist, and people are rejoicing that he’s been killed.” The university’s human resource management department, however, says no student by the name of Atif Ameen was enrolled there. Police sources said Atif was actuthat the killed persons were carrying fake identity cards.” Atif, Shahbaz said, had also appeared in engineering entrance examinations, but had failed to clear them. Shahbaz never visited Atif’s Batla House, Jamia Nagar flat, nor did he meet his roommates. He said there was no particular reason why Atif wasn’t putting up with him at his Jassola residence. “Atif told me he would prefer staying with his friends, and I had no problem with that. I also knew Batla House was close to his university, making it quite easy for him to commute. However, he used to come to my house.” The relative heard of the encounter when a friend called up and asked him to turn on the TV “I watc. hed the news channels. But only in the evening did I realise it was my own Atif who had been killed,” he said. With misty eyes, Shahbaz recalled their last conversation. “We had a normal talk. He didn’t sound the least bit worried. I could not make out if anything was amiss.”

Jamia Millia University disowns Atif as its student
ally studying human rights at the varsity’s political science department. But Rumki Basu, who heads the department, also denies Atif’s enrolment. “I checked the records after the name of the university came up in connection with the shootout. No student by the name of Atif Ameen was studying human rights here,” Basu said. “It’s possible though