Bangalore, Aug 29: Arrested Indian Mujahideen (IM) co-founder Yasin Bhatkal’s father Zarar Siddibapa Thursday said he was relieved that his 30-year-old son was alive and not killed in any staged shootout as feared earlier by his family.
“We are extremely relieved to know through the media that our son Ahmed Siddibapa is alive and in police custody as we feared earlier that he would have been eliminated in a fake encounter long ago,” Siddibapa told IANS from Bhatkal, a small town on the west coast of Karnataka, about 400 km from Bangalore.
Expressing full faith in the judiciary, Siddibapa said his eldest son Ahmed should be punished if found guilty of any offence after the due process of law was followed.
“Till then, the cardinal principle that every person is innocent until proved guilty should be followed,” Siddabapa said.
Clarifying that his son’s name is Ahmed, Siddibapa wondered why police and the media had been referring to him (Ahmed) as Yasin though there is no evidence contrary to his original name.
“Ahmed was born here (Bhatkal) in January 1983 and studied up to Class 10. Later, he joined me in Dubai in 2005 where I have a business. He disappeared from Dubai in January 2007 and has not been in touch with us since then,” Siddibapa recalled.
Regretting that a lot of falsehood was being spread in a section of media against his eldest son, Siddibapa said his second son Samad, 26, was arrested in 2010 by the Mumbai anti-terror squad in connection with some terror incidents but was set free 40 days later as he had no connection with any terror organsiation.
“We are confident that Ahmed too will be proved innocent and set free soon. We have faith in our courts and the rule of law,” Siddibapa said.
Asked if he would go to Bihar or Delhi to meet his son, Siddibapa said he had not thought about it yet and would engage a lawyer to ascertain how to go about securing Ahmed’s release.
“There is no official intimation to us about Ahmed’s arrest. It is only through news channels and media persons we have learnt about his arrest from the India-Nepal border and that he was presently in Bihar Police custody,” Yasin’s uncle Yaquib Siddibapa told IANS.
Yaquib also clarified that the other two terror suspects Riyaz Bhatkal and Iqbal Bhatkal were not related to Ahmed alias Yasin.
“They are two separate families. We don’t know much about Riyaz or Iqbal except that they hail from Bhatkal and are said to be brothers. Many people from this small town have ‘Bhatkal’ as surname just to relate and identify them when living away,” Yaquib said.
Located in Uttara Kannada district of the state, Bhatkal has a population of 1.5 lakh population, with farming and fishing as main occupation of the minorities and the majority community.