"Police arrest people on the basis of doubts, but it is the media that is responsible for turning them into terrorists. Police, at the maximum, would call them a terrorist in the court. But media, without taking into account the verdict of the court and the facts, will call them a terrorist and broadcast it for the world to see", says Irshad.
Irshad's story is no less than the script of a Bollywood movie. It’s a dismal saga of how police arrested him on false charges and then tortured him. They had forced him to become an informer. Later, Irshad even worked as an informer for the Intelligence Bureau (IB) for a few years. He claims that the IB used to pay him a salary of Rs 7,000 per month.
Muslim Boys Were to Be Made the Target
The IB had allegedly asked Irshad to stay in Muslim areas and turn them into terrorists. For this they even wanted to send him to Pakistan. Irshad says: "I found this wrong on part of the IB. This, in a way, was a trap for young Muslim boys. I refused to work and started getting wary of meeting the IB officials."
Then I got a call from IB officer Majeed Deen on 12 December. He called me to Dhaula Kuan to meet him. When I reached, he called me to sit in his car. I was blindfolded the moment I sat in the car and was taken to some secret location at gun point.Irshad
After a few days, police arrested Irshad's cousin Maurif Kamar, who was also kept with Irshad.
Two Terrorists of the Al-Badr Arrested: Media
Irshad says, "On 9 February 2009, Maurif and I were taken to the Karnal bypass and the special cell of Delhi Police presented us before the media claiming us to be the two terrorists of Al-Badr who were arrested. We, of course, were presented as trophies.
When the news of our arrest became public, advocate Sufiyaan agreed to take up my case. Maurif's brothers also hired a good lawyer.”
Court Expressed Doubts on the Special Cell's Story
Maurif's brothers appealed to the Delhi High Court. The High Court also expressed doubts on the special cell story and it directed the CBI to investigate further. On 11 November 2008, the CBI filed its report on its findings.
Irshad got bail in 2009 on the basis of CBI's closure report. The trial went on and on 22 December 2016, the trial court acquitted both Irshad and Maurif.
Still Only Half the Justice Served
Though Irshad has been acquitted, he still feels he has been denied complete justice. The cops who implicated him to put him through all his miseries are still roaming free without any investigation being carried out against him. He feels he has lost his youth, his life’s 11 years which will never come back to him.
(This story was originally published in Quint Hindi. Translated by Harshita Murarka)
Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam
(The Quint debates whether the State can be held responsible for implicating the innocent in false terror-related cases. Read the View by Alok Prasanna Kumar here and the Counterview by former CBI Director, RK Raghavan here.)