“Not only religion is a factor in choosing, but also class. Police will only pick Muslims from the lower class so that there will be less outrage against the arrests and luring using money will make them fall because of poverty. Another factor is that the collective conscience of society including Muslims will blindly believe the police version when a Muslim is arrested in a terror case…”
Rejaz M Sheeba Sydeek
33-year-old Zakariya was kidnapped and arrested from Kerala by the Karnataka State Police under UA(P)A on February 5 2009 in Bangalore serial blast of 25th July 2008 when he was 19 years old. His father passed away when he was just 10 years old and was living with his mother in Parappanangadi, Malappuram, Kerala. After dropping the B.Com from a cooperative college, Zakariya joined a mobile repairing course and worked in a mobile shop in Tirur. One day the police came to Zakariya’s house and enquired about him and his family background. The police assured his mother not to worry and told her it was part of the verification procedure for his passport. Police also went to enquire at his mobile shop and on the 3rd day of the inquiry, he was abducted from the shop by Karnataka Police without even informing his family and the local Kerala police. He is lodged in Parappana Agrahara Central Prison, Karnataka.
Zakariya was accused of making timers and microchips for the blast. The other accusation is that Zakariya participated in tareeqath classes that took place in Parappanangadi and other places for conspiring in the attack. The news broke out like wildfire in Kerala and this led to the alienation of the family by relatives, friends and neighbors. Marriage alliances of Zakariya’s three elder siblings were affected and his mother had to shift to the house of her elder son because of isolation from the neighborhood.
Karnataka Police told the court that they have Haridasan and Nizamudeen as witnesses against Zakariya. Haridasan told the media that he doesn’t even know who Zakariya is. He was asked to sign in a statement written in Kannada, a language that he doesn’t know and he signed after being pressured by police. It was also Haridasan who donated first to the fundraising by action committee formed to release Zakariya. The second witness, Nizamudeen said he never stated against Zakariya. He says he was manipulated by the Karnataka police who came along with a statement prepared in kannada. The statement says, ” I am using Sharafudheen’s mobile phone”. The Local SI also attested to the words of Karnataka police and stood with them in manipulation. It was only after the submission of the chargesheet that Nizamudeen came to know that he was used to incriminate Zakariya. Even after the public denouncing of the statements, the Judiciary has not paid any heed to them.
It was only after 6 years that all those dear and near ones of Zakariya who were scared of the tag, “Friend of terrorist”, were convinced of Zakariya’s innocence and started supporting the family. In 14 years of imprisonment as an under-trial prisoner, Zakariya only got 3 paroles. The first one was to attend his elder brother, Shareef’s marriage in 2016, the second one to attend the funeral of the same brother in 2017, and the last one to visit his ailing mother about three years ago.
Expenses for parole are taken by the family of Zakariya. Zakariya’s sister has told the media that it will cost 1 – 2 lakh for one parole visit. Majority of UA(P)A victims hail from lower-class families and marginalized communities. Even for affording a lawyer in the supreme court, they have to shell out lakhs. How can they expect justice from this Bourgeois court?
Not only religion is a factor in choosing, but also class. Police will only pick Muslims from the lower class so that there will be less outrage against the arrests and luring using money will make them fall because of poverty. Another factor is that the collective conscience of society including Muslims will blindly believe the police version when a Muslim is arrested in a terror case. Police will offer money and job if the arrested innocent people agree to work for them as informers in exchange for release. But the reality is that the tag of terrorist won’t go even if acquitted. Afzal Guru was detained illegally, tortured, extorted and then forced to become an informer. He helped the Special Taskforce and later he was implicated by the police itself in the Parliament attack and was hanged. A Malayali Intelligence Bureau officer told Zakariya, “We know that you are innocent, we will let you go, But you have to give us information on Muslim organizations in Parappanangadi and surrounding areas. We will even set up a shop for you”. Zakariya didn’t accept the offers in exchange for his release from the Police and didn’t become a traitor against justice and truth.
It would be easy for political activists to survive in jail who expects imprisonment as part of their political activism when compared with a person like Zakariya who is not at all connected with political activism. But I am always amazed by the willpower of Zakariya and wonder about the driving force behind his loyalty towards truth. 19-year-old Zakariya could have sacrificed his conscience by becoming an approver and betrayed innocents by giving fake statements to the police in the blast case against the people whom the state sees as dissenters. The sufferings of Zakariya were discussed in Kerala after Abdul Nasar Maudany, KP Sasi and Jisha Josh intervened.
These state-programmed attacks are orchestrated by bureaucrats and security establishments to meet the political needs of the state. Sometimes, when the real perpetrators of blasts like Hindutva terrorists in the Malegaon blasts were allowed to escape, innocent Muslims were jailed. Intelligence Bureau has an infamous history in India for creating “so-called terrorists”. After their use, IB will implicate their Muslim informers as terrorists. Irshad who worked for IB and Police for years was framed by IB as a terrorist involved in a bomb blast after Irshad decided to stop his service. Even doctors like Dr. Malini who conducts Narco analysis have fabricated evidence against the innocents. The more we dig, the more we will get shocked about the deep state in India.
Sidheeq Kappan’s mother died while he was in jail, Najeeb’s mother still waits for him, thousands of Kashmiri mothers wait for their sons, and mothers of political prisoners are expecting their children to return home just like Eachara Warrier waited. Zakariya’s mother, Beeyummah also deserves justice!
Release all Political Prisoners!
_ Rejaz M Sheeba Sydeek
05 FEB 2023