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'Basher was not capable of organising the blasts'
Vicky Nanjappa in Hyderabad
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August 25, 2008 14:36 IST

While the Gujarat police claim that Abu Basher is the alleged mastermind of the Ahmedabad blasts and that he has confessed to his crime, the Begaluru police are looking into the statements of Liyakath Ali, a Students Islamic Movement of India activist arrested in Belgaum, Karnataka, a month ago, who said during his interrogation that Basher planned the Bengaluru blasts too.

Basher, who originally hails from Uttar Pradesh [Images], had done a short stint as a teacher at a madarasa in Hyderabad. People who knew Basher find it hard to believe that he could be the mastermind behind the serial blasts in the two cities.

Basher was working at a school in New Delhi [Images] before he came to Hyderabad looking for a job. Here he met Maulana Abdul Aleem Islahi, who was running the Pahadi Sharrief Madarasa. However he stayed at his job as a teacher in the madarasa only for a year before leaving for Uttar Pradesh.

Moulana Islahi, who has been under the police scanner ever since his son Mujahid was killed in an encounter and his other son Mohtasim was picked up and later released by the Hyderabad police for his alleged role in the blasts in the city, is certain that Basher could not have been involved in such a large conspiracy.

He told that Basher was quiet by nature and went about doing his own work. "Woh teek tarah se cycle nahin chala sakta tha, bomb kya dalega (he could not ride a cycle properly, leave alone planting a bomb). He joined the madarasa in July 2005 on a salary of Rs 2,500. He taught young children Urdu and English. He was a very ordinary man who kept to himself most of the time."

"During his stay in Hyderabad he got married. He then started demanding a hike and accommodation. I told him that mine was a small institution and I could not afford to pay him more. He was slightly dejected and he decided to leave. He left for Uttar Pradesh in November 2006 and that was the last I saw of him."

"From what I knew of him in one year, he never came across as a man with evil intentions. In my view he was not capable of undertaking such a huge assignment."

"I have been accused of giving him shelter and the police have put me under the scanner once again. How can anyone hold me responsible? Everyone is asking me so many questions. I am very much an Indian and for the past 36 years I have been living in Hyderabad. I never left the city despite these allegations. If I was not telling the truth, then I would have left this place right? I lost my son Mujahid in an encounter. Why can't anyone tell me what is happening to that investigation?"

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