A computer professional from Srinagar who came to Gujarat for healthcare training and was arrested by the Gujarat Police on terror charges has been acquitted by a Vadodara court as the prosecution failed to prove the charges. Bashir Ahmad Baba, who spent 11 years in prison on charges under the stringent UAPA, reached his home in Rainawari, Srinagar, on June 23.
The Gujarat ATS had arrested Ahmad and had accused him of conducting a recce to establish a terror network in the state and to recruit Muslim youth who were angry over the 2002 riots for the Hizbul Mujahideen. The ATS had alleged that Ahmad was in touch with Hizbul chief Syed Salahuddin and one Bilal Ahmed Shera through phone and emails.
However, since they failed to prove the charges, the court upheld the defence argument that Ahmad came to Gujarat to attend a four-day training camp on post-cancer care with an aim to provide such services to patients in the Valley through the Kimaya Foundation. The defence had said that Ahmad was a part of the foundation. Ahmad was arrested on March 13, 2010 and was released late last month.
The court in its verdict said the charge that Ahmad had received financial aid in order to set up a terror network in Gujarat has not been proven and the prosecution has also not presented any evidence to prove that he received alleged benefits or set up a terror module.
Speaking to The Indian Express over the phone from Srinagar, Ahmad said he had left for Gujarat expecting to be back home after 15 days. He was to return on a pre-booked ticket dated February 28, 2010. However, he was picked up by the ATS which paraded him before TV cameras branding him as a Hizbul militant.
Ahmad said he knew he was innocent and never lost hope. “I knew I would be released honourably one day,” said Ahmad who completed his Master’s degrees in politics and public administration.