12 Years Behind Bars For No Fault, Tariq is Back Home

SRINAGAR:- Tariq Ahmad Dar, who was first acquitted of all charges in 2005 Delhi serial bomb blasts case and then charged for alleged money laundering but subsequently bailed out, reached his Srinagar home on Friday morning to a warm welcome. 

He was released from Tihar Jail on last Wednesday.

Tariq, along with Muhammad Rafiq Shah and Muhammad Hussain Fazili, were detained in 2005 soon after blasts rocked Delhi killing 67 people.

All the three were released as prosecution failed to prove their involvement after being held for over 12 years in various jails from Central jail in Srinagar to Tihar in New Delhi. They all walked free, innocent, but it took the courts twelve long years to pronounce the verdict.

The unusual early arrival of spring here has also given new hope to Tariq’s family in city’s uptown Solina locality.

In the first flight from New Delhi this morning, Tariq drove to his home with a few of his family members. A large number of his friends, relatives and neighbours assembled to welcome him.

Tariq, now 40, worked as a medical representative with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) company in Valley before he was picked up by Special Cell of the Delhi Police on November 05, 2005.

Tariq’s family comprises of his aged parents, wife and two daughters. Tariq was arrested only two years after his marriage. Two months later his daughter was born. Tariq saw Fatima, now 12,  today for the first time.

“I had gone to (Anantnag) Islamabad for some work and on way back home some people stopped my car at Pampore,” Tariq told Kashmir Observer at his home soon after he landed here. He had some friends along with him that day. “Those who stopped my car were travelling in a car which was following me from Islamabad.”

“As soon as I stepped out of my car, several guns were pointed at me, and… I was blind folded…,” he recounted the fateful day. Soon, he was taken to some undisclosed location where “I was tortured brutally for next night”, Tariq narrated the ordeal.

“I was under shock as I was not able to figure out why I was arrested,” he added. “I kept repeatedly asking them for my fault but they kept torturing me.”

Next day, Tariq was flown to Delhi. “I was driven to anti-terror headquarters, where I saw entire agencies waiting for me,” he said. “You have carried out Delhi blasts’’ he was told by interrogators. “I have done no wrong and I am not involved in any blast,” he responded. “And they started beating me ruthlessly,” Tariq said.

Soon Tariq’s nightmare started and he was taken to courts, day in and day out. “I was taken to Lodhi Colony Police Station in Delhi where the cops behaved in worst possible manner. They behaved like animals. The cops would put 5- 6 big rats in my trouser and I was made to stand, naked, for whole night,” Tariq said.

“In the night, when I would fell asleep, the cops would start beating me. I was forced in to cold water for hours. My legs would be stretched and worst they made me drink urine,” Tariq narrated the torturous days under Delhi police.

“To hurt my religious sentiments, the police men brought a pig and rubbed my body with it. The pig was put on my stomach,” he said adding that these moments were “worst” moments of his life. “I will never forget it.”

He said that torture continued for next 55 days but “Delhi police could not to extract anything from me”. “They knew it that I am innocent and I was being framed.”

“The jail in charge, Mohan Chand Sharma told me: you are a Muslim and that is why you are being framed.”

The jail in charge, Mohan Chand Sharma told me: you are a Muslim and that is why you are being framed.”

Tariq said that the Delhi police wanted me to sign “confession papers” but “I resisted despite their brutality”.

Meanwhile, Tariq said that people from his company, Jhonson & Jhonson, arrived. “I showed my carrier records; officials from J&J told Delhi Police that the company was satisfied with me and I can’t be a terrorist.”

Finally, he added, “the cops took me, along with two Kashmiris who were recently released, Norco analysis to Southern city of Bangalore but results were in our favour.”

Notably, Delhi police had arrested two more Kashmiris along with Tariq in the 2005 serial blasts of Delhi. Shah and Fazili were proven not guilty and released from Tihar jail on February 17, 2017.

According to Tariq, the report was submitted before the court in the form of Compact Disk (CD).

“However, the CD was dubbed by agencies and telecast by Star News channel. The judge took notice of incident as how a report was telecast by a news channel.”

“The news report is not based on facts which was telecast by the news channel thus it means you are framing an innocent,” Tariq quoted the judge as having told the cops of Delhi police.

Despite such observations by the court at times, Tariq said, the police man who framed us in the case were honoured with medals and promotions. “But the thing is, justice was neither delivered to blast victims nor to us,” he rued.

Finally on February 20, 2017  a Delhi court issued bail orders in favour of Tariq who was convicted for alleged money laundering case.

“First I was acquitted of all charges in the blast case but then I was convicted for money laundering,” he explained. “However, the court said that I had already spent over 11 years in the jail thus I was released.”

Issuing bail orders, the court had noted that he was in custody in the “money laundering” case for over five years which was 70 per cent of the maximum sentence of seven years for the offence.

“Now my lawyer, Satish Tamta, will appeal against the money laundering charges,” he said. “It is astonishing as how such a case was filed against me suddenly when I was being held for blasts.”

Tariq Spent 2 Years With Afzal Guru

As Tariq’s house was abuzz with people who greeted, hugged and kissed him, Galib Guru, son of Muhammad Afzal Guru, who was hanged in Tihar jail on February 09, 2013, arrived along with his family members.

The atmosphere turned emotional, and Galib, told the guests, “Abu (Afzal Guru) would always talk about Tariq uncle whenever I would meet him. It is a happy moment for all of us that he is back in his family unlike ours.”

Tariq told this reporter, “I spent two years with Afzal Guru in Tihar Jail. We were lodged in same block.” “I learnt a lot from him.”

“Afzal sahib would always encourage us; spending two years in jail with him are special to me,” he added.

‘Baba’s Home Coming Goes Live on Facebook’

Fatima can’t believe that she is seeing her ‘Baba’ for the first time. It was two months after Tariq’s arrest that his daughter was born who is now 12-year-old.

As soon as Tariq entered his home premises, Fatima took to social networking site, Facebook to express her feelings. She was recording and playing homecoming of ‘Baba’ live on Facebook.

“Seeing my Baba first time,” she wrote on Facebook.

“I never allowed my daughters to travel to Delhi to meet me as I didn’t want them to see their father in prison,” Tariq told Kashmir Observer.

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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is a Srinagar-based journalist and tweets @AuqibJaveed.

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