Muhsina, a mother of three, decided to take her seven-year-old son Athif and mother-in-law this time to meet her husband, Anshad Badruddin, languishing in a jail in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, since February. She boarded the flight on 23 September, leaving behind two-year-old Danwa Mariyam, thinking the trip would be brief.
But a week has passed since Mariyam met her mother.
Three women from Kerala, including Muhsina and her mother in law Naseema, were arrested on Sunday night for using allegedly “fake RT-PCR certificates” to visit their UAPA accused kin in jail. With no immediate family around, Athif was also sent to prison with his mother.
Badruddin’s co-accused, Firoz Khan’s 65 years-old mother Haleema is the third woman, incarcerated far away from home.
The news has triggered an outrage among Muslim activists in Kerala, demanding immediate bail.
“They had plans to return on 25th or 26th,” says Azhar Badruddin, elder brother of Anshad Badruddin, who is worried for his family from whom he had not heard since Sunday night.
“My mother has serious health issues. We don’t know if she has been given care in prison,” Azhar told Maktoob.
Anshad Badruddin and Firoz Khan, members of the Popular Front of India, were arrested in February for allegedly planning multiple blasts in UP. PFI refutes this allegation and claims they were sent to North India to strengthen the organisation.
Firoz Khan’s wife, Saujath and her four children had also come with Haleema to see him. The group claims all the tests were taken from the same lab.
“How can only three out of 10 certificates become fake,” asks KC Naseer, lawyer accompanying the family.
Both the families are worried about the situation of the prisoners. Both the elderly women are diabetic and suffer from many old-age diseases.
Naseer says he has not received the FIR yet. The story will be updated once Maktoob gets access to FIR.
Saujath and her children reached Kerala on Wednesday, following a “traumatic experience”.
PFI officials told Maktoob they are taking stock of the situation. According to Naseer, the bail application is listed on 05 October in the local court.
Mariyam is with her grandmother in Panthalam, a southern town in Kerala.
Police “foul play”
The group reached Lucknow on 23 September, in anticipation of seeing their jailed kin at the court hearing. But, the accused were produced through video conferencing, foiling their plan.
They decided to make a visit to the jail where RT-PCR certificates were mandatory.
According to events narrated by Naseer, police tried to pressure them to go to a police station but they refused to tag with them. That evening police barged into the hotel, intimidating children, and detained the families.
On Sunday night, a case was registered against three women in the Gosaiganj Police station. and they were sent to jail the following day.
PFI alleged that the arrest was part of UP Police’s political vendetta at the organisation and its people.