(Left) Bhatkal’s father Zarar Siddibappa
Mateen Hafeez & Dwaipayan Ghosh TNN
Mumbai/New Delhi: Yasin Bhatkal’s family says they’re relieved that he’s been arrested and not eliminated in a fake encounter. “He should be punished if proved guilty,” a statement from the family on Thursday says.
The typed statement in English bears the signature of Yasin’s father Zarar and uncle Yaqub. “Truth will come out. We have complete faith in the judicial process. The cardinal principal that every person is innocent until proved guilty should be followed,” it says.
Yaqub spoke to TOI in December 2010 when Yasin’s younger brother Abdul Samad was given a clean chit in the Pune German Bakery blast case. “We don’t have any family member called Yasin Bhatkal. My nephew is Ahmed Siddibappa. Since 2006, he has not been in touch with any family member,” Yaqub had said back then.
Thursday’s statement says: “He (Yasin) studied at Bhatkal from Class I to Class X. He never set foot in Pune to the best of our knowledge until he disappeared from Dubai. Ahmed couldn’t pass his 10th grade. He left for Dubai in November 2005 and disappeared from there in January 2007. Despite the best efforts of the family and Dubai intelligence agencies, Ahmed Siddibappa could not be traced.”
It doesn’t mention Yasin’s wife Zahira, who lives in Okhla, a Delhi neighbourhood. Now a third-year student of Jamia Millia University, neighbours describe 22-year-old Zahira as a “nice girl”. They cannot figure out how she got involved with a “terrorist”.
Some two years ago, Zahira was confident and talked to reporters freely with the conviction of a wronged woman. On Thursday, she refused to open the door to journalists. In 2011, her mother had married her off to Bhatkal. A man from Darbhanga, Bihar, had played matchmaker.
The matchmaker convinced Zahira’s mother that her would-be son-in-law was a “well connected businessman”. Barely a year after the wedding, the Delhi police arrested her father Irshad Khan for alleged involvement in the 2010 blasts in Delhi. Zahira had then said that her father’s arrest had scarred her. Now, with her husband in police custody, she’s gone silent. In an earlier interaction with TOI, she had said: “I need to study. That’s my road to salvation.”
Speaking from their home that occupies two floors of a building Zahira’s mother says: “I
remember the day Yasin married my daughter. She was happy. We had no inkling of what was going on till the police arrived one day. We have faith in Allah.”
The Times of India, August 30, 2013