TARIQ HASAN | 22 MARCH, 2019
Acquitted After 8 Years in Jail, 10 Years in Courts: “I Just Want My Children To Be Able to Live In Dignity”
Abdul Mobeen struggling to weave a fresh narrative
LUCKNOW: About 250 kilometres from Lucknow, in a remote village in district Sidharthnagar, 46 year old terror accused Abdul Mobeen is trying to pick up the threads of his remaining life and weave a fresh narrative.
He owns a small patch of agricultural land where he has started rearing goats for living a life of dignity free from the stigma of being labelled a terrorist 19 years ago.
More than half of his life has been spent either in jail or fighting the legal battle which began after he was arrested from the Aligarh Muslim University on a slew of charges ranging from "waging war against the state" to spreading ill will between two religious groups.
Mobeen spent eight years in jail. After finally succeeding in obtaining bail from the Allahabad High Court in 2008, he spent the last ten years in fighting legal battles to prove his innocence in four different cases of a similar nature filed against him in Agra, Kanpur, Barabanki and Lucknow. He has been exonerated in all the four cases by the sessions court.
The latest ruling being delivered in May 2017, when the sessions court at Barabanki exonerated him as the UP police was unable to provide any substantive evidence to prove him guilty. The court asked the state government to pay him compensation for the years of trauma and turmoil he underwent. The court also passed strictures against the UP police, and directed the state government to penalise the police officers who had investigated the case.
Mobeen told this writer that he has not received any compensation from the U.P. government which has now chosen to challenge these judgements in the Allahabad High court. He was very reluctant to speak of his ordeal.
In fact strangely enough he displayed no rancour for the bitter hand that life has dealt him. When this writer asked him about this inner calm, Mobeen said in a measured soft tone, "I have no bitterness towards anybody. Instead I have full confidence in the country's system of justice because with hardly any financial support, and with the help of a shoe string budget, I have secured justice in all four cases. Each day I pray for the welfare of my country. I also pray for Prime Minister Modiji and Chief Minister Yogiji despite the fact that my travails began when the BJP was in power at the Centre and the State and this continues till today, I am still struggling to bring to an end these years of misery."
In September 2000, Abdul Mobeen was about to complete his internship for the five year Bachelor of Unani Medicine at AMU, when all of a sudden, his life turned upside down and turned into what can at best be described as a nightmare.
Just a few weeks prior to his arrest, there was a blast in a private residence in Agra in which three former students of AMU who were undertaking training in some institute were killed on the spot.
There were two versions of this incident. According to one version, the blast was caused by a faulty pressure cooker in the kitchen where the boys were preparing their meal in the rented accommodation where they were putting up . However according to the police the mishap was caused by “explosives” used by the three young me to manufacture a country made bomb. The cops insisted that this had accidentally detonated.
Mobeen recalls that when the dead bodies of the three youth were brought to Aligarh, he offered to lead the 'namaz-e-janaza' ( funeral prayer) as the decreased were known to him. It was a decision for which he would have to pay a horrible price.
Abdul Mobeen had been a member of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI. However, in the year 1997, he fell out with the members of this organisation and was expelled from the party ( This organisation was later banned by the Government of India in 2001.) It was this link with SIMI which was his undoing.
Abdul Mobeen was arrested outside a hostel of the AMU when some IB slueths who had been tailing him reportedly whisked him away in a car. As the news of the incident spread, hundreds of students if AMU launched a protest.
The issue took another twist, when a day later, the protesting students managed to grab hold of an IB operative who they found loitering inside the university campus. The IB operative was taken to a hostel where he was held captive for more than a day and was allegedly beaten up.
The police wanted to break into the hostel and secure the release of the detained IB official. Hundreds of students however collected inside the hostel demanding the release of Mobeen who they alleged had been falsely implicated.
After hours of high drama however, and some tactful handling by the then AMU vice chancellor Hamid Ansari, the situation was salvaged and the boys agreed to hand over the IB operative. The student agitation at AMU which lasted several days subsided but Mobeen's travails had just about begun. After being charged in the Agra blast case, he was booked in three similar cases in different parts of the state in the months ahead.
Mobeen, has been fighting his legal battles with the help primary of the pension funds provided by his school teacher father Mohammad Farooq. During these years of struggle, Mohammad Farooq passed away and so did Mobeen's mother. Mobeen had just been married at the time of his incarnation and after he secured bail, in 2008, he managed to restart his marital life.
Today, his only purpose in life is to ensure that his children can live a life of dignity and respect. " My only regret in life is that after I was sent to jail, most of my friends, relatives and even my teachers turned away from me. I had become a stigma for them. I pray to God that my children may never live through such times."