Bhatkali youth released after being wrongly accused of being an ISIS terrorist

Source: Vasanth Devadiga | Published on 28th April 2016, 12:15 PM | Coastal News | National News | Special Report |

Bhatkal: In a dramatic sequence of events, a young man from Bhatkal, who was earlier accused by NIA and IB for being an ISIS terrorist, was released after the agencies admitted that his arrest was a mistake.

On April 5, 2016, Mohammed Ismail Musba was arrested at the Pune International Airport when he was taking a flight to Dubai. Immediately after his arrest, reports were leaked to media that he was "Abdur Rawoof", a notorious recruiter of ISIS in India. The report had spread among various media outlets and Bhatkal was once again named as the hub of terror. However, a day after his arrest, NIA released Ismail saying that the arrest was a case of mistaken identity and that he had no links with ISIS.

A blunder or a deliberate attempt to tarnish Bhatkal's image?
According to official statements of the security agencies, Ismail was being watched and his activities were being tracked since a long time. When he was arrested, agencies reportedly said that a lookout notice had been issued by the Home Ministry against him. The authorities were also reported for saying that Ismail was recruiting youngsters for terror activities and was planning to travel to Syria, the base of ISIS.‎

Surprisingly, a day after his arrest, the National Investigation Agency admitted their blunder  and tried to cover it up saying that they were actually looking for a man named Abdul Rawoof. It seems hilariously astounding that after stating that they were monitoring him since several months, the NIA and IB now say that they had the wrong person. On one side, this proves their incompetence and on the other side, this also seems a clear indication of the hostility shown by some securitu agencies towards the scenic town of Bhatkal.

Pune: a practising place to arrest innocents?
Pune and Bhatkal seem to be entwined in a strange relationship, especially when it comes to the matters of terror related arrests. 

‎In 2010, a youngster from Bhatkal, Abdul Samad, was arrested at the Mangalore Airport and instantly painted as the terrorist who masterminded the German Bakery Blasts. It was alleged that Abdul Samad was spotted in the CCTV footage nearest to the bakery. Within hours of his arrest, Abdul Samad and Bhatkal's name was splashed in the media and even the then home minister P. Chidambaram had congratulated the NIA on his arrest and had proclaimed that they had been able to nab the mastermind of the German bakery blast. However, after a court battle, he was released within 40 days as a case of mistaken identity.

Similarly, another man named Shabbir Gangawali was arrested in a fake currency notes case in Pune, but later also charged with terrorism. Although the fake currency notes case was unprovable at the Mumbai court but he is still being jailed as a terror suspect.

The case of Yaseen Bhatkal is perhaps the most well known terror related arrest in recent times. The accused is actually named Ahmed Siddibapa and is being tried for his alleged involvement in the German Bakery Blasts.

When Yaseen was arrested, the security agencies seemed quite sure of his involvement. However, sources have revealed that he has not been named as a prime suspect in the charge sheet filed in the case.

A report has also surfaced that the court where he is being tried, has ruled that the person photographed in the CCTV cameras at the blast site, is not Yaseen.  

According to political analyists, these arrests were made to create a certain public perception in which they succeeded, however their validity seems to be falling in tatters in the courts of law.

"We are being defamed"
The arrests and the media trials that follow have created a sense of indignant rage among the people of Bhatkal, who are otherwise famous for their unique culture and lifestyle. 

"We are not against strict measures taken for our country's security and peace. However arresting our people just because they happen to be Muslims or from Bhatkal is very offensive and unfair." says the media watch convener Dr. Haneef Shabab of Majlis e Islah wa Tanzeem, a local NGO.

"They arrest our people and instantly term them as terrorists and leak false reports in the media. This is not security, this is a blatant attempt to induce fear among our people. This is unfair and we won't accept this." he said.

He further added that how can such a big agency which handles our nation's security make such blunders? "Do they have any idea what do these false arrests and defamation cost us?", he asked.

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