Every time there is a knock at the door, fear strikes his heart. The 22-year-old spends sleepless nights. Mehrajuddin isn’t studying for his final year Mechanical Engineering examination either as he cannot appear for it because the college has suspended based on reports branding him a terrorist. If the college calls him back, he will still be haunted.
Last month, Rajasthan police picked him up along with a roommate in Jaipur, questioned him to unearth alleged Indian Mujahideen links and drove him to Delhi Police Special Cell for further interrogation. Nothing was found against him.
“I knew I am innocent and thought they knew that too that’s why they released me. I didn’t know this clean chit didn’t matter,’’ Mehrajuddin says. “I wasn’t even arrested.”
He says his family in Gangapur is facing social boycott after the media called him “aatankwadi (terrorist)”. “My father Niyazuddin is a driver in the railways. His colleagues stopped speaking to him.’’
Mehrajuddin, frail, short and sporting a sparse beard, is the eldest sibling of three. He was good in studies, especially mathematics. He got into Global Institute of Technology (GIT), Jaipur. “After four years of hard work, I was getting ready for the final exam. I was planning to apply for a job,” he says.
On March 23, everything changed. “It was around 4.30 or 5 in the morning. I had rented a flat with my coursemates Waqar (Azhar) and Ammar (Yasir). Ammar had gone to Delhi on his way for Umrah pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. Waqar was also asleep. I was woken up and saw more than a dozen men in the flat. They were policemen in civvies who had sneaked inside. They drove us to a police station where they separated us. They (police) started to ask questions. They asked me about my family and religious beliefs. Then they started asking about samaan and I kept saying which samaan. There was nothing in our flat that was dangerous. A policeman slapped me and kicked me several times. They insisted I knew about samaan and they meant weapons.”
After hours of questioning, he was put in a vehicle where a few men in uniform were carrying guns. “Waqar had been taken to some other room and I had no idea what was going on. The policemen told me they are taking me to Delhi. I was in panic. I started pleading with them to let me make a phone call to my father. They didn’t agree.”
In Delhi, he was taken to a police station. “I was scared to know it is Special Cell. I kept pleading to let me make a phone call home. Soon, a few officers started asking the same questions,’’ he says. “They asked me about what I think about Jihad and my views on Tableegi Jamat and Ahle Hadees. They were very harsh but didn’t hit me.”