I will be safe, Jundal had told his fatherr before disappearing
BEED: “Dont worry about me, I will be safe. I will come home after a while,” were the last words that Lashkar terrorist Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Hamza, alias Abu Jundal had spoken to his father Zakiuddin Ansari. It was on the same day in May 2006 that the Aurangabad rural police and the state anti-terrorism squad seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition from Ellora ghat. Jundal was allegedly involved in the gun-running case and managed to escape from the police.
“On that day, the policemen came to our home and told me that my son was involved in an arms transportation case,” the 70-year-old Zakiuddin told TOI on Wednesday. “I didn’t have the faintest idea of his activities. He was attending to some work at his shop when I called him on the phone. After waiting for him for about an hour, I went to the place where he was working. People there said that Zabi had just left for home, saying he would be back soon.”
Zakiuddin said that since then they had no news of him, except the newspaper reports attributing “negative” things to him and suggesting that he was a terrorist. “I wonder where he got the time to indulge in all these activities. He used to get up early and go to work, as my earnings were too little to meet the household expenses. He was very hardworking and honest. So people would give him work.”
After his son disappeared, some people with whom he had worked paid the amount they owed him but some others refused to pay, Zakiuddin said. Some of them started threatening him with dire consequences if he demanded his money, he said.
“Three days ago, I was going to the insurance office when a friend called me and said that my son has been arrested in Delhi. I felt like I was going to faint. I took an autorickshaw and went back home. By that time, my wife had also got the news,” Zakiuddin said.
After the news broke, media persons began arriving at his house, wanting to speak to the familiy. He said he and his wife had to be admitted to hospital twice because of high blood pressure. They are now staying at a relative’s house. On Tuesday, a senior police officer visited him and said he was there to ensure that they were not harassed, Zakiuddin said. The officer advised him to shift residence temporarily to escape media attention.
Zakiuddin once operated a touring talkies and had invested his earnings in it from the sale of his shop and a three-acre farm in Georai. But he suffered losses in the business and shifted to Beed about 12 years ago with Zabiuddin, his only son, and five daughters.
He started working as an insurance agent and sometimes at a cinema-hall in Beed. One of his daughters got married when Zabiuddin was around.
“After Zabi disappeared, even close relatives kept a distance and the only frequent visitors were from the anti-terrorism squad or policemen in plain clothes. They would visit us during day and night, search the home and leave, saying that it was their duty. They would ask questions about his friends,” Zakiuddin said.
“Zabiuddin’s friends would also come home but would not say anything. It was only in 2006 that the family got to know that he was allegedly involved in illegal activities. If I had the faintest idea, I would have stopped him from any illegal activity. But he appeared quite normal and obedient,” Zakiuddin said.
“We had no word from Zabi and would refer to newspaper reports about him. One day, the ATS officials asked why we were preserving these clippings and took away them. We had told the policemen whatever we knew about Zabi and his friends,” he said.
Zakiuddin said that Zabiuddin had got associated with the Ahle-Hadees sect. “We didn’t know that this association would cause so much trouble in our lives. We had a tough time. People avoided giving me insurance work. Still I managed to earn between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,500 per month and my daughters helped me by sewing clothes in our mohalla. Fortunately, all my daughters are married. I still have to visit the insurance office in search of work to earn a living,” he said.
Zakiuddin said that if his son is a traitor and a terrorist, he should be hanged. “Now that he is arrested, we hope the police and the media will spare us. We had enough trouble and stress in our lives. We want to spend our remaining days in peace,” he said.
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