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The Rediff Special/ Sheela Bhatt in Hyderabad
'If he is a terrorist, kill him,' says Shahid's father
August 30, 2007
"Kambakhat bhag gaya hai (the wretched fellow has run away)," says Mohmmad Abdul Waheed , father of Shahid alias Bilal, while talking exclusively to rediff.com.
Shahid is suspected to be the mastermind behind the bomb blasts in Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad and, although it is not yet confirmed, investigators suspect his involvement in last Saturday's twin bomb blasts as well.
Today, 70-year-old Waheed, who retired as a primary school teacher, is bearing the brunt of his son's terror links.
Waheed and his wife Hafeeza have 11 children, including four married daughters. Shahid was his fifth son and was quite below average in his studies.
Four of his brothers are in Saudi Arabia. Zahid, his younger brother, is in jail in Visakhapatnam [Images].
Shahid's family has been living in Moosrambagh in the Malakpet area of Hyderabad for the last 40 years. It is a mixed locality comprising middle-class Hindus and Muslims. There are no ghettos here nor is there any sign of alienation of the minority community. People who directed this reporter to Shahid's home were not looking tense. Waheed's father was in the police force and for many generations the family lived in the Telangana area of Andhra Pradesh.
On seeing me, he did not try to avoid me nor was he reluctant to face questions.
He said, "I am a Sunni Muslim but I am neither a Tablighi (member of the conservative Tablighi Jamaat) nor linked to any other such outfits."
He says Shahid, like him and other family members, performed namaz five times a day. "I feel ashamed that I could not give my children better education, I made them study in Urdu schools. But you know how these Urdu schools are run."
His salary was Rs 7,420 when he retired.
He kept repeating, "My son Shahid has never been interrogated, never been sent to jail. He has never been given third degree torture nor has he been put to trial or convicted by court. Nobody really knows where is he, what he is doing but still you are saying Shahid is a terrorist, that he is the head of some terrorist organisation, so what do I say? Okay, I am listening to you. Last time I heard that he was seen in Lal Masjid in Islamabad. I read it in the newspapers."
He adds, "Shahid left home when he was 19 years old. For the last four years, I have not heard of him and we have no connection with him. We don't know where he is eating, where he is sleeping."
Waheed has tears in his eyes when he says, "We have double trouble. On one hand we have lost a son while on the other hand we are facing serious allegations."
He says if his sick wife saw the television reports on Shahid she may die of shock and shame.
When asked if, when Shahid was living in his house, there was any sign of his links with Pakistani intelligence operatives, Waheed says, "We are worried about our dal-roti. We have no connection with Pakistan."
His father claims that on the night of January 8, 2004, policemen who had their heads covered raided his house and picked up Zahid. He thinks the police probably fixed Zahid and Shahid in a case of "attempt to murder" Bharatiya Janata Party leader Indrasen Reddy. On seeing his brother being taken into custody, Shahid never returned home and is missing since then, he says.
Waheed says, "When my child is not there what remains to be said? Shahid is not in contact with us. He was not a talented child and he used to fail his exams. He was weak in science. He is not capable of making bombs, that kind of science he would not know at all."
However, in spite of their son facing terrorism charges, Waheed's family is not being targeted by neighbours.
Waheed says, "My neighbours must be having some questions on their mind but they are very nice to me. When the Mecca Masjid blasts occurred and Shahid's name was mentioned all hell broke loose for me. I thought the Muslim community will bar me. How can a Muslim do this? I don't believe it. The police say Shahid is being 'suspected' but for how long? I am not saying the police are wrong in making allegations but for how many years will this suspicion go on? They should get evidence against him."
He says the Hyderabad police have not interrogated him after the Mecca Masjid or the recent blasts. "The police is our hamdard (sympathetic)," he says and claims that police have never told them that Shahid is a terrorist. "They are not telling us that Shahid is involved. They wanted his picture but once they got it from his college they have not come to us."
"It tears my heart to see that because of Shahid, the police are picking up so many Muslim boys. I am afraid I will get their curse. They are being harassed. Please kill Shahid but don't harass other boys. Even Zahid is in jail to punish Shahid. They want information on Shahid from Zahid."
When asked what he would do if his son is found guilty, he says, "Then don't spare him. We are born here. We are happy to be Indian. We live in this land and we don't want anything done to this land. If he is a terrorist kill him."
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