Aug. 18: Brother Abdul Malik, 67, doesn’t want to set his eyes on him. Sister-in-law Tahira, 54, curses him for bringing shame and suspicion on the family, not to speak of unemployment.
The many victims of Abdul Karim Tunda’s terror career, in a way, include his own kith and kin in his native village of Pilakhuwa in Ghaziabad, 60km from Delhi.
“He must pay for his sins. We have suffered a lot because of him,” said Tahira, younger sister of Tunda’s first wife Zarina.
“The Delhi police arrested my husband in 1998 on the charge of having links with Tunda and is facing trial,” the mother of three said.
“The neighbours keep asking us to leave: they say Tunda has brought the village a bad name.”
Her husband, Rasool, is now on bail but is unemployed. “Nobody gives him a job because of Tunda’s antecedents. Where will we go now?” Tahira sobbed.
Policemen visit the village whenever there is a blast in the country. The family is once again in the limelight following the 70-year-old Lashkar-e-Toiba militant’s arrest on Friday.
Malik and Tahira said they had last seen Tunda, his (then) two wives Zarina and Mumtaz, and their six children 20 years ago.
“One night in 1993, he (Tunda, who lived in Mumbai then) arrived at the village and took away his wives and children. They never returned,” said Malik, a carpenter and a cancer patient with a flowing beard like his brother.
Zarina, Mumtaz and the children left the country with Tunda in 1998 and now live in Pakistan.
Malik says he cannot understand how his brother rose from village carpenter to one of India’s most wanted terrorists.
Tunda’s father died when he was eight and the family had to struggle to survive. Tunda dropped out of the village school in Class VII and took up carpentry. “But he was a voracious reader and read a lot of Urdu and Arabic books,” Malik recalled.
Tunda later moved to Mumbai to sell and dye cloth before becoming a terrorist and leaving for Pakistan and Bangladesh for training.
In 1986, when he returned to the village, family members were shocked to see him without one arm — which Tunda had lost while making a bomb. “He told us it had been amputated after an accident,” Malik said.
“If I ever meet him, I shall ask him why he became a terrorist. I don’t want to have any relations with him.”