Bhaderwah resident acquitted in Lajpat Nagar case reaches home

Srinagar: After spending around 23 years in jail, Abdul Gani Goni, a resident of Bhaderwah reached his home town Bhaderwah on Saturday and he was warmly welcomed by the family, relatives and people of the area.

Goni while offering prayers to his parents at the graveyard on July 27, 2019. Pic by Majid Malik

On Saturday, as soon as Goni reached home, he walked to the graveyard and offered prayers to his parents and met all the people who had come to meet him.

Goni was acquitted by the Rajasthan High Court in connection with 1996 Samleti blast case, following his earlier acquittal by Delhi and Gujarat courts in different cases. Goni was arrested from Gujrat from a tea stall and subsequently booked on charges of being part of the blast. It took more than three decades to prove that Goni has nothing to do with the case.

“They arrested me for blasts, I kept on pleading that I have never been involved in any such activity ever in my life. I told them I am just a teacher and I teach at Islamia Middle School Bhaderwah, but all in vain,”  Goni told this reporter over the phone.

Goni is one among the four Kashmiris who were acquitted by the court. According to Goni, his family had lost hopes of his return as there was no indication shown by the authorities as well in order to set him free. “Till the last moment, I didn’t even inform my family about my return, as I was not sure of the final outcome of the court.  Goni said,” adding that his family has gone through a tough time because of him from last 22 years, and he didn’t want his family to suffer more.

Goni said that for him now, he is not able to recognize the areas of his village. “I was not even able to recognize my place where I live,” he said. While speaking to this reporter over the phone, Goni couldn’t even tell the exact address of his house as he passed on his mobile to his sister to tell the exact location of his home.

Goni now 56, was released following the order of acquittal passed by a court on Tuesday. Goni was 25 when he was arrested in 1996.  Although, Goni is happy that he finally at his home among the family but has many questions for the government and the security agencies. “I want those people to be brought before the law, who are suffering inside the jails, like I suffered,” Goni said.

Goni because of the extreme happiness has not slept and eaten anything from the last two days. Besides relatives and acquaintances, people from other areas of the town are visiting his house to welcome him. “Happiness is all around now but not seeing my parents at home gives me immense pain,” Goni said.


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