“My father died hearing allegations against me:” Tripura Muslim man acquitted after 4 years in jail in terror case

A Tripura Muslim man, Habib Mia, now 41, was acquitted by a National Investigation Agency (NIA) special court last week after four years of imprisonment in the 2005 Indian Institute of Science (IISc) blast case in Bengaluru under draconian UAPA.

The NIA had picked up Habib Mia, a resident of Jogendranagar in Agartala and a plumber by profession, from his residence in March 2017 on the charges of his involvement in the IISC blast case. At the time of arrest, Anti Terror Squad of Karnataka had claimed that the prime accused of the case, Sabahuddin had named Habib Mia after he was arrested by UP Police. The police in their chargesheet had alleged that Habib Mia helped Sabahuddin to cross the Indian border, while the latter was making his way to Bangladesh through Tripura.

He was charged under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Explosives Act, and various sections of the Indian Penal Code.

“My father died hearing the allegations against me. I was kept in jail without any trial for four years and now discharged as they couldn’t provide any evidence against me. I had never come to Bengaluru before,” ND TV quoted Mia as saying.

Now, the kin of Mia are seeking justice as he was put behind the bars for four years for no fault of his own.

“We lost everything in fighting the case for four years. We have no money. He was arrested on a completely baseless allegation. Police claimed that the prime accused in the case, Sabahuddin, had named my husband. However, he is unknown to us,” Times of India quoted Mia’s wife Jharna as saying.

While talking to the media, Mia’s sister Maya Begam said that she feels there’s a conspiracy against her brother.

“He has never been to Bengaluru and there’s no possibility of a terror link. We are poor people and have been living in Agartala for two generations. Nowhere is there any report of any such activities against any of our family members,” she adds.

Maya also said that her parents had broken down after hearing the arrest and imprisonment of their son.

“We want justice now,” said Maya Begam.

Mia’s advocate Tahir Amir told reporters that “he is not alone to be kept behind bars without trial for many years.”

While acquitting Mia, the special court disagreed with the prosecution and accepted Habeeb Mia’s plea that the “police have not stated anything in the chargesheet about the accused and also not collected any evidence which show that the accused has any distinct knowledge of the incident or crime involved in this case at any point of time.”

The judge said: “On the basis of the materials available on hand, I am of the considered opinion that there is no sufficient grounds to proceed against accused.”