Jaipur, Dec 20 : Mohammad Sirajuddin, the Indian Oil marketing manager, arrested for his alleged Islamic State links on Dec 10 here, is going to move the court tomorrow for his immediate release as his 10 days police remand ends.
Mohammad Sirajuddin’s father Sarwar, who is in Jaipur was allowed to meet his son for about 20 minutes yesterday. Sirajuddin is said to have his father to hire the best legal team to secure his immediate release.
Sirajuddin’s immediate legal team said the FIR filed against him under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967, does not mention any evidence to prove his role in propagating violence or resorting to violence.
His legal counsel, Packer Farooq, said they would file the case as no case is made out against him. In their application, they would cite the Supreme Court judgment in the Arup Bhuyan versus Assam state case of 2011. Arup, who was alleged to be a member of ULFA was convicted under the Terrorist And Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 court under Section 3 (5), which makes mere membership of a banned organisation criminal.
But Arup was released as the Supreme Court ruled that only material produced by the prosecution against the appellant was his alleged confessional statement made before the police and that confession is a very weak kind of evidence. Such non-judicial confessions are generally not valid because of the involvement of tortures etc, but in TADA cases they are considered admissible. Going with the convention of rejecting such confessional statements before the police, the Supreme Court has questioned their admissibility even in these ‘exceptional’ cases. It says, “in the absence of corroborative material, the courts must be hesitant before they accept such extra-judicial confessional statements.”
Hence the courts have to be very cautious in accepting confessions made to the police by the alleged accused.
The court had said even assuming he was a member of ULFA it has not been proved that he was an active member and not a mere passive member. The Supreme Court had ruled that a mere membership of a banned organization will not make a person a criminal unless he resorts to violence or incites people to violence or creates public disorder by violence or incitement to violence.
On the same premise, Sirajuddin’s legal aide Farooq said the Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS), Rajasthan only found Sirajuddin’s laptop, phones CDs and nothing more to suggest that he was going to resort to violence or incite violence.
He said Sirajuddin’s mere exchange of views on Facebook, What’s app and Telegram cannot brand him as terrorist and prove his links with IS.
Sirajuddin, 33, completed his BE (mechanical) from Gulbarga, Karnataka and his masters in Advanced Manufacturing Technology from Coimbatore. He is fluent in English and Hindi.
His father said the family is in a state of shock and disbelief and could never imagine of any such links. He, however, admitted that Sirajuddin was a staunch Muslim and read the Namaz five times a day.
Rashid Hussain, the former Infosys electronic engineer, who faced the same fate in 2008 when he was detained by the Special Operations Group (SOG) for nine days after the Jaipur blasts, said he now practices self-restraint on the social media and also counsels and holds workshops to make the Muslim youth aware that airing their views on the social media can be risky.
Rashid’s service was terminated by Infosys, citing inadequate experience and without giving him a chance to explain. Infosys, later, had to pay him Rs 20 lakh as compensation.
A recluse in real life, Sirajuddin, was otherwise a master communicator on social media. According to ATS, he was on the verge of radicalizing many more jehadi sisters and spreading the ideology of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) through his Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram pages.
Sirajuddin was arrested by the ATS under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967. He is in police custody for 10 days and is cooperating with the investigations, Alok Tripathi, ADG, ATS, Rajasthan said.
His chat logs show that Sirajuddin had been actively spreading the ideology of IS through his posts and chatting to mostly young women from places like Argentina, Syria, Hyderabad and Maharashtra.
His penchant to connect with more and more people to indoctrinate them about the virtues of IS points to his fundamentalist ideas, said Tripathi. “Why would someone ask hundred others to embrace the IS ideology?”
Tripathi said his interrogation showed that he is self-radicalised and till now hasn’t talked of any incentive from the IS for his services.
Interestingly, many at Sirajuddin’s Jawahar Enclave, a five-floor apartment, where he had been staying for the past one-and half years (since June 2014) do not even know him by face.
The enclave with 100 flats, is centrally located in the city and has a mix of upper middle-class families.
Sirajuddin stayed in a fifth floor flat owned by IOC. The society’s treasurer, Mr N. Arora, has never met him. The society’s secretary K S. Poonch, said: “Since IOC owns two flats here, they send the occupants themselves and we never bother about who they are sending. The verification is supposed to be done by them, not us. We practically had no interaction with him. But with this incident, now we have asked all corporates to tell us who are they allotting the flats too as the residents are scared now.”
Sirajuddin kept to himself and nobody really bothered in a colony of around 500 people.