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'I begged to bail my son out'

A Ganesh Nadar in Tirunelveli | August 05, 2008 18:33 IST

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Even the dust that falls in a goldsmith's shop is valuable. The dust is brushed up and checked for specks of gold. S Syed Nazim, one such cleaning merchant in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, employed his 29-year-old son Kasim at his shop. However, the son was not interested and took a job with another goldsmith in the town.

On July 27, Kasim was arrested in Chennai for conspiring to set off bombs in Chennai and Tirunelveli. According to the police, two more people were involved in the plot. Nazim insists his son has been falsely framed in the case.

"I wanted him to do the brushing-up work, but he did not like it. So he joined another jewellery shop in Tirunelveli," says Nazim.

Jewellers in the town employ men to coax customers into their shops. For that the men get a commission, besides Rs 800 a month.

Sometimes, aggressive salesmanship led to altercations and arrests. Kasim was arrested twice, allegedly on charges of harassing customers. He was also arrested for allegedly helping to sell stolen jewellery. Thereafter, he moved to Chennai to work as a painter.

In May, he was arrested for conspiring to kill Hindu Munnani leader Ramagopalan. He was released on bail after being in custody for 65 days. Three days later, he was arrested for conspiring to set off bombs in Chennai and Tirunelveli.

"To get him bail in the Ramagopalan case, I needed Rs 3,000. For that I begged during the Friday namaaz in the mosque. We are poor people. Why are they harassing us?" asks Nazim.

Abdul Ghafur, allegedly another conspirator in the plot, was arrested at 3 pm in Tirunelveli on July 27.

"At 7.30 pm, the same day, my son called from Chennai. He wanted me to send him some money so that he could start a tea shop. The next morning I read in the newspaper that he was arrested."

"First, the police said that Ghafur was arrested and based on his confession Kasim was arrested. Now they say Ghafur was arrested based on Kasim's confession. How can my son's confession lead to Ghafur's arrest if Ghafur was arrested first?" asks the distraught father.

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