Thursday, March 7, 2013

Terror suspect narrates his ordeal

BANGALORE, March 7, 2013

A day after his release from the central prison, the immediate concern of 26-year-old Aijaz Ahmed Mirza, who had been arrested on terror charges, is to get back his job in the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) as a junior research fellow.

Mr. Mirza, who is engineering graduate in electronics and communication, was devastated that he was terminated from the post.

"Working in the DRDO was my dream, and getting into it was not easy. I secured the position because of my hard work. Once I am given a clean chit, I will again approach [them] to get my job back," Mr. Mirza said at a press conference here on Wednesday.

While the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had given clean chit to Muthi-Ur-Rehman Siddiqui and Yusuf Nalband, who had also been charged with involvement in terror activities, they have sought time for collecting more evidence against Mr. Mirza. But, the special NIA court ordered his release on bail.

His advocate Akmal Razvi said an application would be filed before the court to absolve Mr. Mirza of all charges as the investigating agencies had failed to file a charge sheet within the stipulated 180 days.

Incidentally Mr. Mirza's brother Shoaib Ahmed Mirza, an MCA student at a city-based college, is also an accused in the case and his name figured among the 12 against whom the NIA has filed the charge sheet.

Mr. Mirza, along with Mr. Muthi-Ur-Rehman and others, was arrested by the City Crime Branch on August 29, 2012 on charges of an alleged terror plot.

Narrating his side of the story, Mr. Mirza said: "It was early in the morning. I was still asleep when a few people in plain clothes walked into our house. I was pulled out of the bed and slapped. I was then dragged out even as I was abused. They tied my hands behind my back with a rope and bundled me into a waiting vehicle along with the others. It was a kidnap-like arrest. We were first taken to Palace Ground, where we learnt that they were policemen."

Mr. Mirza said their efforts to find the reasons for such an action against them were answered with abuses. "I asked what have we done and who they were? They said we needn't know that. And then they started abusing us. Later in the afternoon, they took us to Madivala for interrogation and in the night produced before the magistrate. It was then I came to know that I was being charged for a terror case."

"The police told me that I had been trained in Pakistan. And then I had come here and it was under their guidance that I had joined DRDO. But, I told them, please check my passport. Please check with my neighbourhood, where I grew up. This is a lie. I have worked hard to make a living, not become a 'terrorist,'" Mr. Mirza reportedly told the police.

Father's pain

Meanwhile, Abdul Rauf Mirza, a Railway employee and father of Mr. Mirza, who was also present, narrated his ordeal as a parent of a child arrested on terror charges.

"What is happening to this country? The way Muslim children are being framed in false cases, captured in a web of lies; it is nothing less than a terror activity by itself, designed to alienate the Muslim population of the country," he said.

"It was with great hardship that I gave good education to my children. It was not to make them terrorists. All these days, the government has asked us questions, now they should answer the illegal way my children were arrested, framed and branded 'terrorists.'"
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