Released from prison after almost 14 years and having been acquitted in 17 of the 19 terror cases lodged against him, Mohammad Amir Khan is picking up pieces of life together and seeking a decent rehabilitation from the State
Mohammad Amir Khan considers January 9, 2012, his new “birthday”. That is the day he was released from prison after 13 years 10 months and 10 days. But just as he is piecing together his life, having been acquitted in 17 of the 19 terror cases in which he was made an accused, the Delhi Police have engaged the services of Solicitor General Harin Rawal to further pursue some of the cases against him.
Following his release, Amir had met Delhi Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Ray on February 24 to seek proper rehabilitation. Among other things, he had demanded Rs.10 crore in compensation and a respectable job from the State. While he is now planning for his wedding in October and is working on a book, the Delhi Police has vehemently questioned his claims before the Delhi Government.
Asked about the progress on his rehabilitation, Mr. Ray said the Delhi Government had raised the issue with former Commissioner of Delhi Police B. K. Gupta and the matter was discussed. “However, the Delhi Police wants to contest the cases further and has engaged Solicitor General Harin Rawal. They claim their cases fell due to lack of proper appreciation of the evidence.”
These behind-the-scene developments apart, Amir is taking each day as it comes. In his plea before the Delhi Government, he had said that following the serial bomb blasts during 1996 and 1997 in Delhi, U.P. and Haryana, when he returned from Pakistan in 1997, where he had gone to meet his sister, he was picked up by the police on February 18, 1998. Subsequently, he was produced in a court on February 27, 1998 and was booked in 15 cases of bomb blasts in Delhi; one in Ghaziabad (U.P.) and two in Rohtak (Haryana).
Father lost business
Amir, who was just 19 at the time of his arrest, said during his incarceration, his father lost his business, became a pauper while trying to defend him and ultimately died in 2001. “He used to tell me just one thing. There are just two types of people – good and bad. In jail, the bad ones are more. So either just stay with the good or stay alone.”
In jail, Amir pursued his studies vigorously. “In 1998 itself, I enrolled in the Bachelors of Primary Program of IGNOU and pursued it till 2001, when a Superintendent took me off it and in the wake of the 9/11 and Parliament attacks all terror suspects were confined to the high security prison and were forced to leave their studies.”
Learning to stay calm in the face of adversity through Yoga and Vipassana meditation, which he learnt in Tihar jail, Amir again returned to formal education in 2010 when he was shifted to Dasna jail in U.P. But he had to start all over again as the gap in education was of over two years. Undeterred, he completed the course, which is proving useful to him now.
“At present I am working with well-known non-government organisation Anhad of Shabnam Hashmi. I help with various programmes and arrangements. Besides, I am also learning simple things like operating computers and mobile phones,” he quips with a smile.
Penning a book
Amir is also penning his thoughts and experiences in a book, which he hopes would bring out his entire story before the world.
Living with his mother in a small rented accommodation at Kishangunj, Amir is also hoping to get compensation so that he could get her proper treatment as she had suffered a paralytic stroke in 2008. “After my father’s death, she stepped out of the house all by herself for the first time to fight my cases. But she took ill in 2008 end. Now she walks with support as her right side is paralysed. She still can’t speak and I am yet to hear the word ‘son’ from her.”
As for his cases, he said: “I was acquitted in 16 cases at the trial stage and of the remaining three cases, I have been acquitted by the Delhi High Court in one, while in the other two cases the basic case against me is the same as in all the cases as is the nature of the evidence by which they were sought to be proved.”
Amir’s case was also one of 16 which figured in a recent report on Special Cell of Delhi Police which was released by the Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association.