24 Years Later, 3 Youth Acquitted By Court Reach Home

Srinagar

Three Srinagar residents booked in Lajpat Nagar bomb blast case were set free by the Rajasthan High Court after serving 24 long years of imprisonment in Jaipur and Tihar jails. Eyes swelled with tears at their residences in Khanqa-e-Moula and Rainawari area with their relations and family members making beelines to hug their loved ones after almost-two-and a half-decade.

One of the acquitted with his relative at his home in Srinagar city. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Lateef Ahmed, son of Ghulam Ahmed, a resident of Shamswari, Khankha-e-Moula Srinagar, said that he is not able to believe that he is free. “I was picked in Kathmandu and kept in Delhi police cell in connection with Lajpat Nagar bomb blast. After that, Jaipur police cell also sought our custody. I was linked with a blast that had occurred in Mahua in 1996 and then also with the Lajpat Nagar bomb blast case of May 1996,” Lateef said.

During his detention period, Lateef’s father went to meet his son at Jaipur and just after a week after meeting his son, he died in Srinagar.  Asked how he feels after returning home after 24 long years, he said: “There are many innocent people especially Kashmiris languishing in Jaipur jail, who are being denied trial. Today, I feel like I am in a deep sleep and lost in the dream of returning home.”

Lateef’s mother, who continues to fix her eyes on the face of her son, said that she doesn’t believe her eyes. “We had lost all hopes. After every court hearing, we were being told that there is another hearing. Our only hope was Almighty Allah.”

At the residence of Mirza Nisar Hussain, son of Mirza Ali Muhammad, a resident of Namchabal, Fateh Kadal, a huge crowd of people was jostling to have a glimpse of Mirza.

“I have served 24 years of detention. We were freed by Delhi high court first and then by Rajasthan court. At the end, we were proved innocent,” Mirza said. “I was 17-year-old when I was arrested from Nepal. Today I am not able to recognize even my family members. Having lost all hopes, we had only one hope that of Allah and he helped us and today we are back to our homes because of Allah will.”

Similarly, Muhammad Ali Bhat, son of Sher Ali Bhat, a resident of Hassanabad, Rainawari. Ali lost both of his parents, mother and father. “He was arrested in 1996 and was lodged in Tihar till 2014 and then shifted to Jaipur jail where they were lodged till July 24, 2019,” said a family member.

One of the acquitted Ali Muhammad Bhatt surrounded by his relatives at his home in Srinagar city. Kl Image by Bilal Bahadur

Ali who after reaching Srinagar first visited Imam Bara Hassanbad to offer prayers, said that he had thought that he would meet his family after his death. “But Allah is great and I am back with my family after such a long time,” he said. Ali was picked up from Nepal where he was selling carpets.

The trio were accused of being involved in the dumping of arms and ammunition case in which Rajasthan High Court found them innocent and ordered their release. Similarly, Delhi High Court also had found the trio as innocent and ordered their release in Lajpat Nagar bomb blast case of May 1995.

One of the acquitted surrounded by his relatives at his home in Srinagar city. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

A bomb blast occurred in Lajpat Nagar market in Delhi on 21 May 1996, killing 13 civilians and injuring 39 others. The blast was followed a day later by the 1996 Dausa blast. Six members of the militant organisation Jammu Kashmir Islamic Front were convicted for the blasts. (KNO)

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