The family members of Zayeda, the estranged wife of Yasin Bhatkal, living in Shaheen Bagh here shut their doors to outsiders on Thursday after news of his arrest broke.
It was not just the media that the family has been keeping a distance from, even the neighbours said that they had been keeping mostly to themselves after they came to know about his “deeds” and following the arrest of his father-in-law Irshad in connection with an illegal arms factory.
Neighbours said it was difficult for them to believe that the modest house located in a congested, dark lane was frequented by one of the most dreaded terrorists in the country.
It was three years ago that Yasin Bhatkal married Zayeda. A neighbour said he had introduced himself to the bride’s family as Imran alias Shahrukh and told them that he hailed from Lucknow and that his family had moved to Dubai. “Even the nikaah was kept a private affair, no grand ceremony was organised and only close relatives were invited. The family agreed to the marriage as he impressed them with his deep knowledge of religious texts and came across as a humble and spiritual person,” he said.
That perception, however, was to change soon. Just a few months after the wedding, Yasin left Zayeda at her parents’ house and promised to be back soon to take her along. He never did.
Even as the family, comprising Zayeda’s five sisters and four brothers besides her parents, was coming to terms with Yasin’s sudden disappearance, the subsequent revelations about his alleged terror activities meant that another taboo was attached to them. “What worsened the situation was that his father-in-law Irshad was arrested in 2011 in connection with the 2010 Pune bombing and the blasts at Chinnaswamy Stadium of Bangalore in the same year. This also posed financial challenges for the family,” said the neighbour.
Following Irshad’s arrest, Zayeda and her mother had been eking out a living by teaching Urdu and the Quran to children in the neighbourhood. A slip pasted on the door of their house states in Hindi and Urdu: “Urdu and Quran are taught here.”