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'I was branded a terrorist, but now I am free'

By Vicky Nanjappa
February 26, 2013 14:42 IST
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Vicky Nanjappa talks to Bangalore-based journalist Muthi-ur-Rehman Siddiqui, and Mohammad Yusud Nalband, a technician who were arrested along with 10 others in August last year, for plotting to assassinate right-wing politicians and journalists, and were released on Monday, after the National Investigation Agency found no evidence of their involvement,

Rehman, the journalist does not know if he would go back to work again. “I have not decided anything,” he said briefly after his release. “I was branded a terror mastermind, but now I have been set free of all charges,” Rehman, who looked relieved, said.

There was a lot of hype surrounding this name considering the fact he was a journalist with a reputed newspaper.

His job at the newspaper appears to be open. His name has not been deleted from the rolls and even the newspaper felt that no action would be taken unless a court of law pronounced him guilty.

However, it is for Rehman to decide now whether he would want to get back and work as a journalist again.

Rehman was picked up on allegations that he had taken the house on rent in which the rest of the accused were living. The Bangalore police was looking to charge him with harbouring the other accused who had plotted to eliminate several right-wing leaders and journalists.

However, the NIA, the investigating agency, found that he had not individually rented out the apartment. There were four others who had rented it out and he was just staying there and had no knowledge of what was happening.

Nalband says that he is relieved. “I thank God who put an end to this trauma,” he said. He could not stop smiling as he addressed the media while he said that he wants to gather his thoughts, spend sometime by himself before he could get back to his life.

Rehman was fighting tears as he spoke. “It has been a very difficult time for me. I just want to be with my family. Even they have gone through an ordeal for the past six months. I was branded a terror mastermind, but those allegations have fallen flat. I will speak to you in detail later,” he added.

Nalband on the other hand recollected the horror that he underwent while in police custody.

“I had no idea why I was even picked up. The police asked me a lot of questions right from my background and also everything that I did from the day I was born. I am so glad that it is all over. My thoughts are with my mother who was all alone since the past six months,” he added.

From the manner in which the case is going, it appears that a few more releases are on the cards. The NIA has not found very concrete evidence against several others arrested in connection with this case.

“They say that there are a couple of them who were hardcore. There is a Nanded link to this plot, which we need to ascertain before we could close the case,” an NIA official pointed out.

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