Declared ‘innocent,’ AMU scholar to return home after 16 years

For Ghulam Ahmad Wani, it is like a dream getting fulfilled after his son Gulzar Ahmad Wani was acquitted by a local court in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki district after 16 years. Gulzar was arrested for being involved in the Sabarmati Express blast case that had occurred in the year 2000.

Gulzar, a research scholar, was arrested from New Delhi on July 31, 2001, when he was pursuing his Ph.D in Arabic from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).

Hailing from Taapar, Pattan in Baramulla district, it has been a tough journey for his father—a senile, white bearded person. From last 16 years, the family members have been running from pillar to post, struggling to get their son back home.

On Saturday (22nd May) a local court ordered his acquittal and pronounced him innocent, and thus came a relief to his family—relief of bringing their son home—after an eternity.

“The court has given its judgement; and finally he (his son) has been acquitted, and that means a lot to me; can’t even explain the feeling,” said Ghulam Ahmad Wani to me, whose tone revealed that he was yet to come to terms, with what just had happened.

Currently lodged in Lucknow jail, Gulzar’s family members are also in the town, busy in completing the formalities that are prerequisite for Gulzar’s final freedom from the prison, “we are currently busy in completing formalities and soon, he will walk free,” said his father.

Gulzar, as per the family sources has done Post Graduation from AMU, and has qualified prestigious National Eligibility Test (NET) as well.

Revealing details about the case, his father said that “he was accused of being a conspirator in 10 other cases of explosions and slapped with 14 FIRs in different police stations of Delhi, Maharashtra and UP prior to 2000.”  However, he was acquitted in all other cases, and on Saturday “court ordered his acquittal in the blast case as well,” he added.

The family members are questioning the judicial system, which as per them took 16 years to decide whether he was an innocent, or not, with his father saying that “I fail to understand that what sort of system is this, where they ruin a person’s life, and after failing to prove anything, they declare a person innocent,” said Ghulam Ahmad Wani in a dejected tone.

The other family members, back home in Taapar, are eagerly waiting for Gulzar’s home coming after almost two decades, where he is expected to live a completely changed and a different life, with his father asking a question: “who is going to return his lost youth; a period that everybody is eager and enthusiast to live and achieve something for themselves and for those who are dependent on them, who?”

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