Syed Wasif Haider for BeyondHeadlines
I am Syed Wasif Haider, an Indian at heart, but left to die by the people of my own country! I was tagged as a ‘terrorist’ and put behind the bars for eight long years with cases like rioting, waging war against the State, sedition, ferrying arms and explosives, slapped against me. And now, when the court acquitted me of all charges years ago, I am still jobless and unable to make my both ends meet. Thanks to my fellow-citizens who recognize me no more!
I hail from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh and like any law-abiding citizen, I too was an educated person who belonged to a practicing Muslim family and worked as an Area Sales Manager with Becton Dickinson, a pioneer in health care industry. My life stepped into devastation at 2 A.M on July 31, 2001 when I was ‘kidnapped’ by the Intelligence Bureau, Delhi Police special cell & special task force of Uttar Pradesh. Only sound I remember is the cries of my pregnant wife and two-years-old daughter when about 20-25 people dragged me from my home.
22 Muslim youth (including me) were arrested altogether from different parts of India like, Delhi, Hyderabad, Aligarh Muslim University, Kanpur & Kashmir. Majority of arrested youths were Kashmiris. In the year 2001, BJP – the communal political party was in power in the state of Uttar Pradesh as well as in center. BJP is only recognized by one thing- create the hate against Muslims and get the maximum votes of Hindus.
BJP was advocating to bring one Draconian Law which was later known by the world as ‘POTA’, to counter, control the so-called Terrorism. To prove the need and justifications, the agencies like Intelligence Bureau, Delhi Police Special Cell, Special Task Force were in need of educated Muslim Youths who can be booked in Terror Cases & who can be killed in Counter Terrorism.
In the early morning of 31st July 2001, my father sent two telegrams to (i) District Magistrate of Kanpur (ii) S.S.P. of Kanpur (iii) S.P City of Kanpur informing them about my illegal arresting & requesting them to intervene & take necessary actions but all in vein.
On 01st August 2001, my father filed an application in the court of chief Metropolitan Magistrate about my illegal arrest & requested to take the actions as per the law of land – nothing happened!
The Police of Kanpur in their General Diary officially recorded my arrest on 3rd August 2001 at 4 P.M. from my residence! A very genuine question demanding an answer is that why the media like The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Dainik Jagran, Amar Ujala, The Pioneer termed me a ‘terrorist’ and carried the news of my arrest in their front page headline on 01st, 2nd and 3rd of August 2001?
From the midnight of 31st July 2001 till 3rd of August 2001, 4 P.M, I was tortured physically, kept hungry, was not allowed to sleep. They pushed washing powder & water from my nose. The electricity was passed through my toes till I fainted. This was all happening for only two reasons (i) Being a Muslim (ii) Accept, Confess, admit what I have not done.
I was forced to sign hundred of blank papers. In front of video camera, I was forced to narrate the story which they told me to narrate. I did whatever they said because I wanted to live!
Interestingly, the interrogation also included questions like (i) what sect of Islam I followed? (ii) Do I offer prayer five times a day? (iii) Do I read the Quran with translation? (iv) Do I keep fast “Roza” in the month of Ramzan?
On 4th of August 2001, this endless nightmare finally ended (but another was waiting) and I was sent to Kanpur District Jail as an accused of “Swaroop Nagar Bomb Blast” which took place on 14th August 2001. Total of 10 cases were filed against me including waging war against nation (Terrorist Act) Murder of ADM and Finance & Revenue late Mr. C.P Pathak’s murder which took place on 16th March 2001, Recovery of illegal Arms, Recovery of Explosives, Arson & doing riot.
If for the sake of argument, I admit that ‘Yes I am a terrorist’, but why these agencies not followed the norms of Article 22 of the constitution of India which says that any person who is arrested, it is mandatory for the agencies making the arrest to produce the arrested person within 24 hours in front of Ist Class Magistrate. Why I was kept in unconstitutional detention for 3 days and 3 nights? And most importantly why it always happens in India? In these so called Terrorist arresting that always a person arrested much before than what they show in their official arresting? It is happening everyday!
In order to regain my dignity and get rehabilitation to start a life again, I met all the top dignitaries including Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India, Saida Imam of Minority Commission of India, Justice Markandey Katju, The chairman of Press Council of India and various Muslim Scholars. The irony is that no one has extended any form of help! What to talk about the Human Right Commission. I was not even allowed to meet the Chairman by the Secretary!
I am appealing to all of you who believe in humanity and support the fights for injustice. Kindly help me in my fight. Support my cause politically, socially and financially. That at present I am alone fighting this battle (from Aug. 2001 till today which was imposed on me against my wishes by the state of Uttar Pradesh & Govt. of India) without any earning & resources. This is the question of survival of my four daughters, my wife and my old aged parents. Above all this is the question of survival of Humanity, Secularism, Right to live in Peace & Harmony with dignity.
My email ID is firstname.lastname@example.org and my facebook id is wasifsyed syed.