A REUNION TO REMEMBER
Mateen Hafeez & Rebecca Samervel | TNN
Mumbai: “All our relatives have gathered back home in Malegaon to welcome my son. We are just waiting to take him back as soon as he comes out,” said Iqbal Makhdoomi, a senior citizen and father of Dr Farog Makhdoomi, waiting for the gates of the Arthur Road jail to open up on Wednesday.
His son was one of the seven 2006 Malegaon blasts accused who walked out of the Arthur Road and Byculla prisons on Wednesday after being granted bail on November 5.
The seven men came out of the two jails around 5.30pm, much to the delight and relief of the scores of people who had gathered outside. The area around the Arthur Road jail was particularly crowded, with family members of the accused jostling for space with media personnel and curious passersby.
The families had been persistently making the 300-km trip from Malegaon to Mumbai to attend court hearings, never losing faith. On Wednesday, too, that persistence showed as the 63-year-old Iqbal waited outside the jail. Iqbal, a retired schoolteacher, has spent most of his of provident fund money and pension fighting for his son’s release.
Taking time off from school, 13-year-old Osama, who was only eight when his father Raees Ahmed was arrested in 2006, jumped with joy on seeing his father and hugged him. “Our family members have been offering namaaz since morning and my mother has cooked lots and lots of special food.” “No one in our hometown sees my father as a conspirator and I believe he has been falsely implicated by the police,” he added.
Jamil Masiullah, brother of Shabbir Ahmed, said: “We have renovated our house, changed carpets and installed huge lights. We are excited and very happy.”
Fighting off tears, Masood Ahmed, brother of another accused, Dr Salman Farsi, said: “The residents of our town stood by us. We are thankful to the people of Malegaon.”
The Times of India, November 17,2011