NEW DELHI: The family of 27-yar old shawl seller from Kashmir Sajjad Khan, who was allegedly picked up by the Delhi police last month on the pretext that he was a key aide of the alleged mastermind of the Pulwama terror attack Muddasir Khan, claimed that his (Khan’s) involvement in attack was framed.
Khan’s father also claimed that his son was detained in February and not on March 21 as claimed by Delhi police. As per a story published in ‘The Hindu’, Sajjad’s father Ghulam Nabi Khan debunked Delhi police’s claim that he (Sajjad) was arrested on March 21. The newspaper report quoted Sajjad’s father saying, “We came to know that the Delhi police’s special cell picked up my son and six other people from Delhi Gate around February 22. It was published even in local newspapers. I rushed to Delhi and met the police officials at Lodhi Road. The police confirmed his arrest and promised to release him soon.”
Last week, the Special Cell of the Delhi police claimed that on March 21, it arrested Sajjad Khan, a key aide of the alleged mastermind of the Pulwama terror attack, Muddasir Khan. Twenty-seven-year-old Sajjad was arrested in Red Fort, it said. The police claimed that during the Pulwama attack, in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed, Sajjad was constantly in touch with Muddasir. It said Muddasir alias ‘Mohd Bhai’ sent Sajjad to establish sleeper cells in Delhi.
The police said Sajjad was communicating with Mudassir and a Pakistan-based terrorist Yasir through an app, using numbers not registered in his name. Muddasir was subsequently killed in an encounter on March 11. Sajjad was arrested for criminal conspiracy, waging war and under the relevant sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). He was also paraded before the media.
Subsequently, the police handed him over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). In a press note, the NIA said it arrested Sajjad for terror activities. “Sajjad Khan was specially sent to Delhi to set up hideouts in Delhi. This was done to select specific targets and also to radicalise and recruit Muslim youths to further terror activities,” a release issued by NIA said.
However `The Hindu’ report quoted Sajjad’s father contesting NIA’s claim saying that his son was only a shawl seller and had left for Delhi last November. “After the Special Cell detained Sajjad in February, Ghulam said the family came to know about it through the local media,” report added.
As per report, father feared son would be framed in another attack. Ghulam, who works as a carpenter and is a part-time farmer, was also quoted as saying, “I reached home with the hope he would be released. Within days, I saw him being framed in an attack in Kashmir. How can he be a part of any attack when he has been in Delhi from November and in police custody since February?”
He admitted that two of his other sons were killed soon after they joined the militancy. One of them was Ishfaq Ahmad Khan, who was killed on April 24, 2018, while Showkat Ahmad Khan, was killed on October 30, 2018.
Ghulam says that Sajjan was trying to lead an ordinary life when he was framed.
“The issue has rankled both the Delhi police and the NIA. The agency, which registered a case against the Jaish-e-Mohammad leadership on March 15 for hatching a conspiracy to carry out subversive activities, has stated that the Delhi police knows when Sajjad was arrested. The Delhi police have now gone silent on the subject,” newspaper report stated.