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NIA faces witch-hunt slur

Ranchi, July 18: Youths of Chakla, who refused to record their statement in a Ranchi court on Tuesday in relation to the Patna serial blasts at the Narendra Modi rally on October 27 last year, today accused the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of using brute force to falsely implicate them.

Holding a news meet at a city hotel, four of the five youths alleged that the NIA had threatened them with dire consequences if they refused to become witnesses against suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative and Chakla resident Muzibullah Ansari. Muzibullah was arrested from Ranchi on May 21 with one of the key blast accused, Haider Ali.

The quartet of Abu Rehan, Iftekhar Ahmed, Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Mohammed Taukir Alam turned up before the media with parents and relatives, seeking the government’s intervention to stop “victimisation” of innocents.

Muzibullah’s elder brother Mohammed Zikrullah Ansari, also produced in court on Tuesday, did not come to the news meet.

“Since November last, we have been summoned and questioned many times by the NIA. On July 12, we were asked to turn up before the agency again. For the next two days, we were stripped and beaten up black and blue. We were asked to memorise a text, which they wanted us to speak as our statement in the court,” Faiz claimed.

Iftekhar told the media that they had been “assured of a peaceful life in future” if they obeyed the NIA order and became their witnesses. “They want us to confess we were aware of Muzibullah’s suspicious activities and had seen him with Haider.”

Faiz and Iftekhar also alleged that they were tortured to admit they had provided SIM cards to Muzibullah, which were allegedly used in cellphones during the Patna serial blasts.

“I knew Muzibullah as he used to be my neighbour. I don’t know anything about Muzibullah’s activities. We fear for our life now,” Rehan said.

The NIA and other intelligence agencies, probing the Patna blasts, believe Chakla village was a key hideout for IM operatives who planed and executed the Patna blasts.