In 14 terrorism cases, the SP government wanted to drop, acquittal in 8, conviction in 4

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A year after coming to power in the UP in 2012, the Samajwadi Party (SP) government of Akhilesh Yadav has decided to withdraw terrorism cases as promised in its election manifesto. The SP government decided to withdraw 14 such cases in which 19 people – all from UP and West Bengal – were charged.

However, the High Court in Allahabad suspended the state government’s decision after hearing a PIL filed by a lawyer, Ranjana Agnihotri, and five others. Agnihotri’s lawyer, Hari Shankar Jain, said the then PS government had filed a Special Leave Application (SLP) with the Supreme Court against the High Court stay order, and that she is still waiting.

Meanwhile, trials in eight of the 14 terrorism cases ended in acquittal, either for lack of evidence or because the judge gave the defendant the benefit of the doubt. In four others, the courts convicted the accused. The trial in one of the cases is still ongoing, and in the last case the accused is still at large.

The Indian Express lists the 14 cases below.

Case 1 & 2

Accused: Yakoob

UP Police arrested Yakoob, a resident of Bijnor, from Lucknow on June 21, 2007, for allegedly supplying RDX to different parts of the country. Police claimed to have recovered explosives from his possession and alleged that he was an agent of a terrorist group – HuJI. He was convicted in two terrorism cases along with two others – Naushad Hafiz and Jalaluddin. The cases were registered at Hussainganj police station in Lucknow.

The SP government had sought to drop the charges against Yakoob only.

Eight years later – on August 6, 2015 – a court in Lucknow acquitted Yakoob and the other two on the benefit of the doubt.

Case 3&4

Accused: Nasir Hussain

Nasir Hussain, a resident of Bijnor, was arrested at a hotel in Lucknow in June 2007. Police claimed to have recovered RDX and detonators in his possession. Two FIRs were registered against him at Naka Hindola Police Station in Lucknow.

On March 20, 2014, a court in Lucknow acquitted Nasir due to lack of evidence.

His lawyer, Syed Ahsan Abbas Rizvi, had said that a seer – Swami Shivanand – who runs an ashram in Tehri Garhwal district, Uttarakhand, gave a statement in court saying Nasir was part of a team construction work at his ashram when the police ‘chosen’ him on June 19, 2007. He added that the police theory was wrong as their file stated he was arrested in Lucknow on June 21. the benefit of the doubt should go to the accused.

Case 5

Accused: Mohammad Kaleem, Syed Abdul Mobeen

The two were booked in connection with an explosion which took place near Sahkarita Bhawan in Lucknow on August 15, 2000. Although there were no human casualties, the explosion left a breach in a wall and broken windows.

A terrorism case has been filed at Qaiserbagh police station in Lucknow against the two. Mohammad Kaleem and Syed Abdul Mobeen are residents of UP.

On April 10, 2014, the trial court acquitted the three men giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Case 6

Accused: Mukhtar Hussain, Mohammad Ali Akbar, Ajijur Rehman, Naushad Hafiz and Noor Islam

The five sub-trials were booked for allegedly shouting anti-national slogans when they appeared in a court in Lucknow on August 13, 2008. Other than Naushad, others were residents of West Bengal. They were arrested in 2007 for allegedly planning an explosion in Lucknow.

The PS government had demanded the withdrawal of the case in which they were accused of having allegedly launched anti-national slogans. On January 14, 2016, a court in Lucknow acquitted the five people in the slogans case. They were later acquitted in the terrorism case as well.

Case 7

Accused: Maqsood, Javed and Taj Mohammad

Rampur Police arrested Maqsood, Javed, Taj Mohammad and Mumtaz Mian on August 13, 2002, for allegedly leaking Indian military secrets to Pakistan. The police claimed to have given vital information on the movements of the army and claimed to have found maps of military installations of several locations, including those of Dehradun and Meerut, in their possessions. Police also invoked the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) against three. All four are residents of Rampur. The case was transferred to Moradabad after POTA summons.

The SP government had decided to drop the charges against Maqsood, Javed, Taj Mohammad.

On January 20, 2014, the court acquitted the four men due to lack of evidence.

Case 8

Accused: Ahmed Hasan

Truck driver Ahmed Hasan and his neighbor Wasif were arrested in Bijnor on June 21, 2002, for alleged spying for Pakistani agencies. They were convicted on various charges, including the Secret Officials Act.

The PS government had offered to drop the case only against Hasan.

Hasan was acquitted last month. said his lawyer Nisar Ahmed.

Case 9

Accused: a minor

After four police officers were injured in an explosion in the Arya Nagar neighborhood of Kanpur on August 14, 2000, 10 people, including a minor, were arrested under the Explosives Act and charged with attempted murder, sedition and war against the state. One of the defendants was shot dead during an encounter in Kashmir in 2005.

A local court in Kanpur acquitted the eight defendants, who were adults, due to lack of evidence. However, the trial of the last defendant, a minor, continued. The SP government had wanted the case against the minor to be withdrawn.

According to the minor’s lawyer, Azizul Rehan, the trial is still pending before the Juvenile Justice Council, and the statements of 12 prosecution witnesses have been reviewed so far.

Case 10

Accused: Imtiyaz Ali

Imtiyaz Ali, a resident of Jhansi, was arrested in Kanpur in September 2009 for allegedly spying for the Pakistani intelligence agency.

The police claimed that he was on their payroll and had been guaranteed a monthly salary of Rs 5,000 by the ISI. The police then claimed to have recovered eight SIM cards and documents containing details of the Indian army in their possession.

Ali was convicted in 2017 and sentenced to 13 years in prison. His lawyer said an appeal had been filed in Allahabad High Court against the verdict of the lower court.

Case 11 & 12

Accused: Mohammad Tariq Qasmi

The SP government had decided to withdraw two complaints lodged against Tariq Qasmi, a resident of Azamgarh, in Barabanki and Gorakhpur.

Qasmi was arrested along with his associates Khalid Mujahid of Barabanki on December 20, 2007, allegedly with explosives. He was later booked for the Gorakhpur serial explosions case in May 2007 in which six people were injured.

While Khalid Mujahid died in 2013 during the trial, a court in Barabanki sentenced Qasim to life imprisonment in April 2015. In December 2020, a court in Gorakhpur also sentenced Qasmi to life imprisonment in the case of the blast. He was also sentenced to life imprisonment for the Lucknow and Faizabad court blasts in which five people were killed.

His lawyer said pleas against the lower court’s verdict were pending in the High Court.

Case 13

Accused: Sitara Begum

Sitara Begum, a resident of Auraiya, was arrested in August 2010 for allegedly harboring Pakistani citizen Waqas Ahmed.

Police claimed Waqas was a Pakistani spy and had been passing information on Indian military installations to the ISI since 2005. He had married Sitara’s daughter.

Sitara was accused of helping prepare a fake voter ID card for the Waqas.

In April 2017, a court in Kanpur found Sitara guilty and sentenced her to six years and 10 months in prison. The court also sentenced Waqas to 10 years in prison.

Case 14

Accused: Shamim Ahmed alias Sarfaraz

Chandauli resident Shamim Ahmed was charged with allegedly planting a bomb in a public place in Varanasi in 2006. The bomb, which did not explode, was found shortly after March 7, 2006, two explosions in Sankatmochan Mandir and Varanasi Cantt Railway Station in which 21 people were killed.

All bombs were made by packing explosives in pressure cookers.

The UP STF arrested Waliullah, the imam of a mosque in Prayagraj, on April 5, 2006, and said he was the mastermind of the blasts.

Police said the blasts were carried out by three Bangladeshi men with whom Waliullah had studied in Deoband.

While Waliullah is currently being held in Dasna prison in Ghaziabad, the trio have never been arrested. In December 2006, police named Shamim in the indictment and he too is on the run.

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