Sanjarpur still living in fear, hasn’t lost hope – By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, TwoCircles.net

http://www.twocircles.net/2008nov18/sanjarpur_still_living_fear_hasn_t_lost_hope.html

Sanjarpur still living in fear, hasn’t lost hope

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, TwoCircles.net,

New Delhi: What greets you first when you enter Sanjarpur is the graveyard-like silence and a curfew-bound deserted street. There is no curfew officially but people think it safe to remain indoor even in daytime. So much is the impact of havoc and fear caused by the follow-up of the Batla House encounter.

 

 

The narrow, dusty road snakes through the village and a few minutes in car after you leave the highway you are at the heart of sleepy Sanjarpur – an open space surrounded by houses with some dozen chairs in the middle indicating people, both mediapersons and human rights activists, have frequented the place since one of the most controversial encounters took place in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar on September 19.

Sajid (17), younger of the two slain suspected terrorists, and Saif who was picked by the ATS from the House L-18 on the day, were from this village.

 

Sajid’s brother Arif in centre
 

Sajid’s brother Arif looks shocked and traumatized and also tired of talking to press persons and social workers. He just says that F word is still ruling the roost as the village of 15000 people (with 65% Muslims) is yet to fully come out of the trauma and fear.

Someone informs elders of the village and soon come in many including Saif’s father Mohd Shadab, a politician and a famous district court advocate Wasiuddin. Shadab is former vice president of Azamgarh district unit of Samajwadi Party.

 

 

About two months after the encounter, has the situation improved?

“The entire Azamgarh district particularly the village of Sanjarpur is still frightened. Every child is in fear. Even small children are in tension and not taking much interest in education. They fear any sudden and sad incident. The guardians also are not giving much attention to children’s education. They fear STF or ATS may anytime land in the village and pick one,” Shadab told TwoCircles.net.

 

(From right) Saif’s father Shadab, Advocate Wasiuddin and others
 

Students who were living in Delhi are not willing to go back. Their guardians also fear the worst, says he.

“We have worked hard to educate our children but the incident has forced us to pull them back. Guardians are concerned about their children’s safety in Delhi, so they are not willing to let them go again. They even think to give them village level education but not send them out,” says Shadab who is locally known as Mister.

But how far will you keep your children at home, how will you give them higher education, what is the way-out?

“First of all there is a need for the government to remove the fear of people. There is a need for promotion of peace and security and this can be done only by the government, state and central. The government should take initiative. They should remove fear and instill confidence among people,” he says, adding, only then people can think of sending their children out.

 

 

He relates his visit to Delhi Police’s Special Cell office to meet his son Saif who was arrested from the flat and some others picked later from Jamia Nagar area. All were from Azamgarh. “Saif and other youths in the custody were looking very frightened mentally. We went there after gathering much courage. We were holding back our tears so that they do not get nervous,” Shadab says in choked voice.

Why was Azamgarh targeted?

“Apparently because people here were doing well financially and in education. They are financially sound and literacy rate was going up, people were pushing their children to higher education. Sanjarpur was leading the district in education and youths from the village were going ahead. The incident has shaken their confidence and ambition and shattered their dream,” he says.

Most of the students from the village living in Delhi have come back. Some went back but many are staying back as their guardians are not allowing them to go. They say they will not educate but not sacrifice their children.

Around a dozen students have stayed back. But none of them were willing to come before the media. Though this TCN correspondent was accompanied by known locals faces including two village heads, guardians were not ready to bring them out.

Advocate Wasiuddin is angry over the manner the encounter took place and the refusal by the government of judicial enquiry into the incident.

 

 

“They failed in nabbing culprits behind Delhi serial blasts and under pressure and to get accolade they did Batla House. The youths were innocent, why didn’t they arrest them if thousands of security men had surrounded the area and the building,” Wasiuddin asks.

Why they have refused to order enquiry into the case is because they know they committed wrong and want to hide something. To say that the enquiry will dampen the spirit of security persons is absurd as enquiries have been conducted in several encounters in the blast and only then truth could come out and guilty officers were punished. The Sohrabuddin and Connaught Place encounters are living examples, he adds.

“We condemn terrorism and want hardest punishment for terrorists, but first crime should be proved. Muslim religious leaders have condemned it and issued fatwas but after every blast innocent Muslims were picked and no proper investigation was carried out,” says he adding that this will give way to uneasiness in the society and increase terrorism.

Saif’s father Shadab hopes that “all the youths from Azamgarh arrested in connection with blasts will be acquitted as they are innocent. The blood of those killed will not go in vain.”

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