“Begunah Qaidi (Innocent prisoner) by Abdul Wahid Sheikh, one of the most important books to be published in Urdu in the last decade, is perhaps the first police procedural which shows us state power in all its vulgar glory from below.”
Abdul Wahid Sheikh was a teacher arrested for alleged involvement in the 2006 Mumbai train blasts. In 2015, he was given a clean chit by Maharashtra Court of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
He – and his book – are a searing indictment of the very idea of Indian democracy. Abdul Wahid spent almost a decade in prison before being acquitted of all charges.
“The book speaks about how the ATS trouble the youth and falsely implicate them. It’s about how we were tortured, how a false witness was presented against us and we were made to give false confessions. The jail superintendent did not allow me to write the book, the pages of my book were torn and burnt because of which I could not complete the book,” Wahid Sheikh said.
In a poignant conversation with scholar and master dastango Mahmood Farooqui, Abdul Wahid Sheikh talks about the brutal apparatus of the Indian state against its most powerless citizens.
Watch the video: