An advocate associated with the case of Khalid Mujahid, the terror accused who died under suspicious circumstances on Saturday, was brutally assaulted by other lawyers in the Faizabad court compound on Tuesday.
Mohammed Saleem, an assistant of Jamal, Khalid's lawyer in the 2007 Faizabad blast case, was attacked suddenly, leaving him bloody and passed out. He received head injuries. No FIR has been lodged.
The attack came after the local Bar association passed a resolution against Jamal and his colleagues, who participated in a protest on Monday demanding justice in the Khalid death case, said a reliable source.
Besides Jamal, Saleem, Nadeem and Saliul Rehman had been removed from the association for protesting against Khalid’s “suspicious death.”
According to sources, the rampaging lawyers also vandalised the desks of the other three lawyers and when they found Saleem, assaulted him. The other three escaped as they were not in the compound.
Randhir Singh Suman, who is Khalid’s lawyer in Barabanki, said he faced similar threats in Barabanki and had a near escape. “Of course, I feel under threat even now,” he told The Hindu.
Mohammed Shoaib, another lawyer, who was assaulted in the past for counselling Khalid, also said he felt threatened.
Tortured to death?
Meanwhile, Khalid’s family and lawyers alleged that he was tortured to death. The initial post mortem report said the cause of death was inconclusive.
Uncle Zaheer Alam Falahi, who saw the body before post mortem, said the face was blackened, and the neck swollen as if someone had wrung it out. There was also a dark spot just above the left ankle, Mr. Falahi added. This, he said, indicated that Khalid was attacked with an object.
The photographs of the body, taken before autopsy, show visible marks on the face and blood clots. The photos were released by Rihai Manch, a Lucknow-based forum that works for release of innocent persons implicated in terror cases. The post-mortem report mentions that the body had black lips, black nails and bleeding from the ears. “These could be indications of poisoning or strangulation,” said Mr. Suman.
The deceased’s family and civil right groups have contested the police claim that he died of sudden medical complications after reportedly suffering heart attack or heat stroke.
According to the police, Khalid, who was the prime accused in the 2007 serial blasts in the district courts of Lucknow, Varanasi and Faizabad, fainted at Barabanki while he was being taken back to Lucknow after a hearing in Faizabad. He was rushed to the Barabanki district hospital where he was declared brought dead, the police claimed.
Mr. Shoaib told the court that Khalid received threats that he would be eliminated in an “encounter.” Despite his informing the courts in Faizabad, Barabanki and Lucknow of this on various occasions through written complaints, the matter was not taken into consideration, Mr. Shoaib said.
Rihai Manch has called for enhancement of security for all inmates lodged in U.P. jails on terror charges. It also called for action against STF and ATS personnel who allegedly tortured Khalid during his arrest in 2007. Khalid had submitted complaints in writing, and yet no action was taken, said Rihai Manch spokesperson Rajeev Yadav.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday various Muslim organisations, political parties and activists came together in a meeting at Mariyahu in Jaunpur and decided to make an issue out of Khalid’s “killing”.
They would stage a dharna with an 11-point demand in Lucknow from Wednesday, sources said.