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'For five days we were searching for him. The uncertainty was killing us'

September 13, 2007

Text: Krishna Kumar | Photographs: Sanjay Sawant

On September 3, Ibrahim Ali Junaid, a final year student at the Government Unani Medical College in Hyderabad, got off a train from New Delhi at the Secunderabad railway station.

Junaid, 25, was returning from Delhi after attending a medical conference at the Jamia Millia Islamia university. He took a local train to Yaqudpura where his hostel is located. Around 11:30 am, Junaid called his parents and told them he was tired and would rest in the hostel for some time before coming home.

His brother Jahir Ali Umer, photographed left, decided to pick him from the hostel.

When Umer reached the hostel, Junaid was not to be found in his room. Umer says the attendant at the phone booth told him he saw five to seven people bundle Junaid into a sports utility vehicle without license plates and speed off.

"The attendant said he saw the people hanging around the hostel from the morning. I searched all the places. We went and met the intelligence chief of the Hyderabad police. He said if Junaid was in police custody, he would ensure that he is produced in court. But there was no action," Junaid said.

"For five days we were searching for him. The uncertainty was killing us. At last the police produced him in court on Friday evening (September 7). They did not even intimate us. We came to know about this from a family whose son was also remanded on the same day."

Junaid is one of at least 20 Muslim youth who have been arrested in the aftermath of the August 25 blasts in Hyderabad, in which 42 people were killed.

While Junaid's family says he was kept in detention for five days, the police say he was arrested on September 7 in connection with an earlier case and produced in court on September 8.

His 59-year-old father Fayaz Ali says this is not the first time the police has done this. "Soon after the Mecca Masjid blasts, the police picked him up. I would go with him to the police station. They interrogated him for 8 hours a day for many days. I used to go with him all the time. They made me sit outside and interrogated him for many hours at a stretch," Ali said.

"They coaxed him to become an informer. They grilled him on why he frequented the Mecca Masjid. The Mecca Masjid was very close to his college. He offered namaz there. The only thing he had to do with the blasts was that he rushed there soon after the explosion with other students and some professors of his college and helped the injured. If your college is in the vicinity, would you not do that? Is that a mistake?" the father asks.

Also read: Coverage: Terror rocks Hyderabad

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