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Our concern is livelihood: father of terror accused

The NIA has claimed Atitur had connections with Al Qaida and so did his elder brother Mosaraf Hossen, who was living in Ernakulam in Kerala
Among the nine arrested from Ernakulam and parts of Murshidabad on Saturday, almost all, barring one, have been struggling with their family income for some time now. Some had left their homes for Kerala in search of additional income, but had to return during the lockdown after losing jobs.

Kinsuk Basu, Alamgir Hossain   |   Calcutta, Murshidabad   |   Published 21.09.20, 12:58 AM

Tazimuddin Sheikh’s house at Ghoshpara in Jalangi, Murshidabad, has become a spectacle of sorts as people are turning up to check the home that an NIA team had surrounded early on Saturday to arrest a man with alleged terror links.

“Is this the house of the two terrorists?” asked a young man, who came from a neighbouring village to see the house.

The disbelief in his voice after he walked along a winding mud-road, cutting through rows of fields and ponds, to reach the house — built of jute-sticks with corrugated tin shades on the top — was palpable.

A local youth pointed to the corner of the house that Tazimuddin had left for Atitur, his sixth son and a college student.

The NIA claimed Atitur had connections with the banned terror outfit al Qaida and so did his elder brother Mosaraf Hossen, who was living in Ernakulam in Kerala.

The father, who has around a bigha of land for himself and cultivates jute, pulses and occasionally wheat, said he had no clue that his sons had terror links. “We are poor people.... Our concern is earning a living. How can you believe that we will have links with terror outfits?” asked Tazimuddin.

According to him, he could barely earn Rs 6,000 to Rs 7,000 a month with his toil in the fields, while his sons were all fending for themselves by using their labour.

Officers probing the case said they were aware of the poor background of the detainees. “The al Qaida handlers were also aware of the abject poverty of these people,” said a source, without explaining how he was aware of this.

“Youths from such families are usually the targets of handlers who are tasked with recruiting people,” said a senior office, adding that the promise of “economic stability”, along with “fame and glory”, is dangled as carrots to take the youths under their fold.

Among the nine arrested from Ernakulam and parts of Murshidabad on Saturday, almost all, barring one, have been struggling with their family income for some time now. Some had left their homes for Kerala in search of additional income, but had to return during the lockdown after losing jobs.

Al Mamun Kamal from Jalangi, for instance, had been to Kerala as a migrant labourer and had returned a few months back with others during the lockdown. A father of two sons, he had been making a living these days as a stop-gap driver of private vehicles. The others, who were living in their villages, didn’t have any gainful employment.

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