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West Bengal: NIA Seizes The Holy Quran, Religious Books During Raids, Calls Them ‘Jihadi literature’

Masihuzzama Ansari | India Tomorrow

NEW DELHI—Are the Holy Quran, the Hadith(statements of the Prophet Muhammad) and other Islamic literature in Arabic and Persian languages ‘Jihadi literature’? Is it a crime for a Muslim in India to grow beard? One believes or not but these literature have allegedly been shown as ‘Jihadi literature’ seized by the sleuths of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) during raids in Murshidabad district of West Bengal to arrest those allegedly affiliated with Al Qaeda?

Would you believe that those who don’t even own multi-media cellphones can form whatsapp groups on their phones to undertake terror activities?

Can someone, who merely has a balance of Rs. 250 in his bank account, be involved in funding of terror activities?

Can a drill machine used by an electrician be a dangerous weapon and his tool box a store of weapons? Can a safety jacket worn by an electrician be a bullet proof jacket? Can a septic tank being constructed for a toilet in house be a tunnel?

No one with a common sense would believe the NIA allegations but highly qualified and trained sleuths of NIA recruited to probe serious and international terror cases are alleged to have mentioned all these things in their reports to prepare a case against 11 youths, one of them mentally retarded, arrested for being affiliated with Al Qaeda.

According to details of the case, the NIA arrested six persons from different places in Murshidabad district of West Bengal on September 19 this year on allegations of them being linked with Al Qaeda, declared an international terror organisation. Another three persons hailing from West Bengal were arrested from Ernakulam in Kerala and two others were subsequently arrested from Murshidabad again. The NIA has claimed that they were planning to undertake terror activities at different places, including the National Capital Region, with a view to killing innocent people and strike terror in the minds of people while their family members have outrightly rejected the agency’s allegations, saying they were totally baseless. According to NIA, they were “radicalised by Pakistan-based Al-Qaeda terrorists through social media” and surprisingly, when the accused did not posses even multi-media mobiles phones required for using social media platforms. The NIA also claimed that they were planning to travel to New Delhi to procure arms and ammunition from unknown suppliers but NIA pre-empted possible terrorist attacks in different parts of the country. However, NIA has so far not been able to find out who were the suppliers of the arms in Delhi and finally unearth such a big terror conspiracy.

The arrested persons identified by the NIA are Murshid Hasan, who was engaged in rearing goats in Ernakulam(Kerala) at the time of his arrest, Iyakub Biswas, Mosaraf Hossen, both lived in Ernakulam, Najmus Sakib, Abu Sufiyan, a tailor by profession, Mainul Mondal, Leu Yean Ahmed, an electrician in a college, Al-Mamum Kamal, Atiqur Rahman, Abdul Momin and Shamim Ansari, all residents of Murshidabad.

The NIA has accused them of being involved in terror funding, possession of ‘Jihadi literature’ and keeping dangerous weapons while the ground reports tell an altogether a different story.

Speaking to India Tomorrow, family members of victims said that the sleuths entered their houses by breaking open the doors, assaulted men, women and children, including old aged persons, and forcibly secured their signatures on plane papers. The family members also allege that NIA sleuths tortured them as also their relatives and friends to extract false statements against those having been arrested.

All the arrested accused were first taken to Kolkata and then shifted to Delhi’s Tihar jail.

Abdul Kalam, a family member of accused Leu Yean Ahmed told India Tomorrow, “Copies of the Holy Quran, the Hadith, books of Namaz or ‘salat’(prayer books) and other religious literature were seized by the NIA during the raid which the agency has claimed to be ‘Jihadi literature’. The NIA sleuths also objected to the accused persons having grown beard and questioned their family members about it. Most of those arrested don’t have multi-media mobiles, yet the NIA claims that they were running whatsapp groups to launch terror activities in the country”.

“Two months have passed since their arrest but we have not met them. We are very poor and it is very difficult for us to travel frequently from West Bengal to Delhi”, said Kalam.

The family members of Leu Yean Ahmed said that 36-year-old Ahmed worked as electrician and worked as electrician in Domkal Bansantpur College. “He has a tool box and a safety coat which he wears during work.  The NIA has termed his drill machine a dangerous weapon, tool box a store of ammunition and his safety coat as bullet proof jacket”, said Ahmed’s relative.

Murshid Hasan, who has been dubbed as mastermind by the NIA, worked in Ernakulam on daily wages with someone engaged in rearing of goats and sheep. His family members say he is uneducated and mentally unsound.

A report prepared by a joint fact-finding team of Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (ADPR) and Bandi Mukti Morcha, said, “The arrested persons come from very poor families. No one in their villages has given any negative report about any of them. None of them has any criminal record also. None of the accused has also transacted lakhs of rupees from their bank accounts”.

“A few of them received Rs. 50,000 each in their bank accounts for construction of houses under a government policy and this was linked with terror funding by the NIA”, said the joint fact finding team.

According to fact-finding team report, the police entered the house of Abu Sufiyan around 2.30 am by breaking open the door and allegedly beat up the family members. The NIA sleuths seized a welding machine that was used by his son who works as a welder. According to the report, the NIA suspected a pit, that was being dug for a toilet in Abu Sifyan’s house, as a tunnel. The bank details of Abu Sufiyan show that he never transferred more than Rs. 6,000 but the NIA has accused him of entering into transaction of lakhs of rupees and terror funding.

Likewise, the NIA has also levelled terror funding charges against Al-Mamun of Domkal village, who had a balance of Rs. 250 only in his account at the time of his arrest. He worked as a labourer in Ernakulam. Similarly, 29-year-old Mainul Mondal, who worked in a hotel in Ernakulam, was badly beaten up. His family was not told anything about his arrest. Mainul keeps beard and offers five-time daily prayers. His family claims that no big transaction was ever done from Mainul’s bank account.

Speaking to this reporter, Mainul’s brother Inamul Haq said, “Mainul had never a case registered against him. He has been falsely implicated in the terror case”.

The 22-year-old Najmus Sakib, a computer science graduate, keeps beard and regularly prays five times a day. “NIA sleuths barged into my house in wee hours of September 19 and broke his laptop. They also questioned me as to why is Najmus Sakib growing beard”, fact-finding report quoted Najmus Saqib’s mother having said

Saif Ali, convener of APCR’s West Bengal unit, who was a part of the team, alleged, “NIA indulged into physical violence in the houses of all those arrested and forcibly took their signatures on blank papers. Family members were also not told why they were being arrested and where were they being taken”.

Saif said, “The NIA took a few of the family members and relatives of Murshid Hasan to a BSF camp, tortured them to bring pressure on them to confess that Murshid Hasan was involved in terror activities. While statements of some relatives have been recorded, some others were being tortured and harassed to give the statements as dictated by them (NIA)”.  APCR’s national coordinator Advocate Shoaib Inamdar said that his organisation was extending legal assistance to the victims.

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