Election 2019

Sanjarpur village in UP’s Azamgarh wants to shun ‘terror tag’

Azamgarh Lok Sabha constituency goes to polls on May 12 in the sixth phase of voting, with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav trying to retain his father’s seat.


Sanjarpur (Azamgarh)| People in this Muslim-dominated village in Azamgarh district, which hogged the limelight as a “terror hub” after 2008 Batla House encounter in Delhi against suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorists who all belonged to it, have no expectations from politicians they just want to get rid of the ‘terror tag’ on their village.

“We want to get rid of the terror tag on our village that has been given by the media after the Batla House encounter. We don’t have many expectations from politicians who come and go. There are no issues before us but we only want authorities to ensure the release of innocent youths caught by security agencies,” Mohammad Shadab alias Mister, whose son Saif is lodged in Jaipur jail these days, told PTI. “When accused of Samjhauta Express and Malegaon blasts have been set free for lack of any proof. The youths of our village arrested after Batla House encounter should also get similar justice. They are all innocent like those who are accused of Samjhauta and Malegaon blast,” he told a visiting PTI journalist.

About Saif’s involvement, his father said, “Undoubtedly he is innocent. The case is going on and no witness could stand in the court. There is no eye witness. All of them are policemen who are witnesses. The matter should be raised by politicians contesting polls. We are waiting for justice.” In Batala House encounter, two suspected terrorists, Atif Amin and Mohamed Sajid, were killed. Other suspects Mohd Saif, Salman and Arif were arrested. All of them belong to Sanjarpur village, which is over 25 km from the Azamgarh district headquarters.

In the charge sheet, police claimed Mohd Saif was also present in the flat in which the Batla House encounter took place on September 19, 2008, in the national capital.

The prosecution claimed Saif had disclosed that he was involved in causing serial blasts in the national capital on September 13, 2008, in which 26 people were killed and 135 injured.

Tariq Shafiq, a local and founder member of Rihai Manch, said the village will be exercising their franchise to elect its representative expecting they will do something.

About their choice in the ongoing polls, he said, “We will vote for the less harmful one though no one has yet taken up the cause of the youths of this village. Every time elections come, politicians and media visit us but no one really comes for the help.” “The people here never expected such an allegation and label of terror on our village. We are fighting and what if one day all the youths are acquitted? How and who will they return their golden years,” Tariq asked.

After 2009, politicians like Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shivpal Yadav, Congress leader Digvijay Singh and others visited the village promising to take up the case, but nothing happened and stigma remained, he said. For social activist Mahisuddin Sanjari, “no one takes politicians seriously here. There are no issues here. There is an undercurrent of pro- and anti-Narendra Modi on which voting will be done”. When asked about Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s statement that Azamgarh was made terror hub by the SP, Sanjari said “Attempts are underway to polarise voters. But there is no reaction here as people have faced a lot and seen the real face of politicians”. “We have learnt a lot in the past 11 years with our experience. We know that we can get justice from legal fight,” he says.

Legendary Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi was born in this district. His actor-daughter Shabana is developing his birthplace Mizwaan. The area is also famous for the Shibli College, which was set up before Independence. Sanjarpur is a big village with over 6,000 voters including Muslims, Dalits, Yadavs and Guptas. The village has a primary madarsa, a government-run primary school and junior high school, a primary health centre and recently some roads were made by local MLA, villagers said.

Rashtriya Ulema Council President Maulana Aamir Rashadi, who organised protests in national and state capital as he took people from here on the train said, “The innocent youths’ release will pave way for removing the stigma. Our demand for unbiased probe remains.”

Azamgarh Lok Sabha constituency goes to polls on May 12 in the sixth phase of voting, with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav trying to retain his father’s seat.

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