Accused bombers led dual lives

28 08 2008

Accused bombers led dual lives
28 Aug 2008, 0458 hrs IST, Prashant Dayal,TNN

source: TOI
AHMEDABAD: When a team of crime branch of city police reached Tavdipura of Bharuch to nab Sajid Mansuri, in connection with the 26/7 serial blasts, he had one wish – not to be arrested in front of his wife and children. Sajid is emerging as the key strategist in the Ahmedabad, Surat and Jaipur bomb plots.

The terror accused who have been arrested till date had been living a double life. In most cases, the police found that their family members were completely in the dark about their Jihadi sides.

Sajid’s apparent shame for his arrest may seem in sharp contrast to his terrorist activities, but his wife seemed unaware about her husband’s mission. Just 45 days ago, Sajid had come to stay in Bharuch. He hid his past and lived under the cover of a dealer of phenyl and floor-cleaner acid.

On the day of his arrest, Sajid had gone out to treat his wife and children to some ice-cream in the evening. “His wife said, when they returned home, she noticed that Sajid was frightened. When she asked him why, he said there is heavy police presence on the road and that he feared he would be arrested for his involvement with SIMI. Sajid was wanted in the crackdown on SIMI at Surat in 2001,” said a police official .

When police came knocking on his door, Sajid wanted to flee. But, the cops warned that they would open fire if he does not open the door. To ensure that his wife and children are not hurt, he gave himself up and was arrested in front of his children.

Shahbaz Hussain, who was arrested on Sunday night from Lucknow, too has a similar tale. “Family members of Shahbaz , who used to run computer classes in Lucknow, were taken aback when UP and Rajasthan police reached his house in the night. They seemed genuinely surprised by his arrest, as they had no inkling of his involvement with subversive forces. We have spoken to our counterparts in Rajasthan and they say Shahbaz had not disclosed his terrorist face to his family members,” said police officials investigating the serial blasts.

Another key terror operative, Zahid Shaikh of Juhapura, who had provided shelter to Mufti Abdul Bashar Kasmi and planted the car bomb at Civil Hospital too had kept his family in the dark about his dual role.

After Zahid was arrested and produced before court, his old mother stood bewildered and kept asking mediapersons, “Will my son get released in a week? I hope he has not been booked for something serious.”

Zahir’s family claims he is innocent:

Even as Gujarat police announced that they had cracked the case of planting of bombs in Surat, the 300-odd residents in the Muslimdominated slum at Natraj compound in Ghastipura – home of Zahir Patel, one of the two accused – were glued to their television sets. Most watched in disbelief as Zahir Patel’s name was flashed across all news channels. A cramped chawl in Natraj compound leads to a small tin shed where Zahir, a small textile vendor, lived with his family – his parents, wife, oneyear-old son. Zahir’s family insists he was picked up by the police on August 9. Some four to five days after his detention, his younger brother, Zakir was summoned by the Prevention of Crime Branch (PCB) sleuths for questioning. Zakir was released after nine days of rigorous questioning. “Lagta hai Allah hamara imtihaan le raha hai (It seems God is testing us),” says 23-year-old Zakir. “My brother is innocent. I have never seen him hitting anyone. How can he be part of a terrorist plan to kill hundreds of innocent people?”