After 15 years of imprisonment, 7/11 case convict Kamal Ansari dies of COVID-19 in Nagpur

Kamal Ahmad Ansari and his mother.

Kamal Ahmad Ansari, a 50 year old Muslim youth from Bihar’s Madhubani and a convict in the 2006 Mumbai train bombings case, died of COVID-19 in the Government Medical College and Hospital in Nagpur on Monday.

Ansari who had been sentenced to death by a special court in September 2015 in the case, had appealed against the verdict to the Bombay High Court through the legal aid by Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind.

According to Abdul Wahid Sheikh, Mumbai based human rights activist and lawyer, Ansari’s mother had talked to her son on 2 April and Ansari was alright. After a week, on 9 April, mother received a call from the jail authorities informing her that Ansari has been admitted to a hospital in serious condition due to COVID-19. She reached the hospital in Nagpur on 17 April and the mother was allowed to see her son only from a distance.

In a widely circulated image, Ansari’s mother was seen waiting the body of her son outside the hospital.

Ansari, his family members and lawyers have consistently been denying Ansari’s role in the serial blasts.

In a written statement submitted to the Moca Court, Ansari said that the Mumbai-based ATS (Anti Terrorism Squad) has implicated him in “a fake terror case.”

“I came to Mumbai for the first time and that too along with ATS while never before have I seen Mumbai in my lifetime,” the Bihar Muslim youth said to the Court.

He went on to say: “Having employed 3rd degree torture, ATS policemen began to tempt me saying, “You must be ready for this false charge and we will give you a lot of money.” They told me that they will give me about four lakhs if I agree to be an official witness. But, when I rejected this offer, ATS tried to tempt my co-accused to be given money and flats while the ATS Chief, P Raghuvanshi even threatened to implicate our family members in the same charge. The same threat still continues on their part, the complaint of which has been logged (in the court) by accused number 2 and 6, Dr. Tanveer and Muhammd Ali respectively.”

“I haven’t given any (confession) statement in this regard. I was forced to sign the blank papers having inflicted 3rd degree torture upon me and a video of me was also shot in which I was compelled to utter and get recorded the script I was given to read that is totally fake. The fact is that I haven’t yet gone through the T.I.P. round. On the other hand, I was taken out (of Indah-barrack under the title of TIP) at 1:30 and was again locked in Indo-barrack at 1:50,” read the statement.

Innocence Network, a legal aid group by human rights defenders, also claimed that Ansari was falsely implicated in the case.

“According to ATS, on the day of bomb blast Ansari was in Mumbai and he had himself placed a black bag containing bomb in a local train which caused a bomb blast in Matunga. As a matter of fact, Kamal was not in Mumbai on 11/07/06, rather he was in Madhubani and on the same day he had gone to Nepal Border. To substantiate the same fact, Kamal came up with two important evidences as: (1) CDR of his mobile (2) Papers of Nepal Border,” it says.