Mufti Abdul Qayyum, who was acquitted by the Supreme Court in the 2002 Akshardham temple terror attack last year, has a story to tell.
After spending 11 years of his life behind bars, for a crime he never committed, Mr Qayyum has spent the last one year penning a 200-page book recounting his personal account of injustice due to state excesses. The book will be released next week.
In his book, titled ‘Gyarah Saal Salakhon Ke Peeche,’ Mr Qayyum provides a detailed account of what he calls is a life branded as a terrorist without evidence. “This book is not just for the Muslims, it is for the most oppressed class of the country. If through my book, even one person is spared from state sponsored excesses then I will be happy that I have achieved something,” Mr Qayyum told NDTV.
He was 29 at the time of arrest in 2003 – a year after the attack on the Akshardham temple. The police had accused him of writing a letter that was recovered from the possession of two terrorists, who were killed in the attack.
A lower court in Gujarat later convicted him and two others, sentencing them to death. But on May 17 last year, the top court acquitted him of all the charges.
Since his release, the 40-year old Madrassa teacher has been trying to piece together his fragmented life. At the time of his arrest, 12 years ago, his now grown up son was barely ten months old. His wife Sujiya, not only struggled to bring up their children, but also had to live with the stigma of being called a ‘terrorist’s wife.’
“As my son grew older, his only constant question was about his father. Every day before going to school he would always ask; when will father come home. Every moment was filled with pain,” says Mr Qayyum’s wife.