The house with yellow tiles and an iron door is sealed and locked in north-east Delhi’s Bhajanpura. It has been locked since the night of May 9 when policemen in plain clothes barged in and picked up its occupant Sajid, accusing him of being a member of the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad.
His wife and children have moved to a one-room house owned by his brother in the same locality as the police sealed the house, claiming Sajid and other youths made bombs there.
Sajid’s brother Tayyab said, “He has done no wrong. He has not complained of any police torture. They are treating him well. I pray that he returns.”
His wife and children await his return.
Sameer from Loni and Shakir Ansari from Deoband in Uttar Pradesh, who were also picked up on Tuesday, too are in police custody but nine other youths, who were picked up from Bhajanpura, have returned.
With the return of the youths, life seemed to have normalised for the locals. In the two crowded lanes, where the detained youths live, the locals were busy playing cricket, shopkeepers were selling their wares and old men were holding discussion in small groups.
The five youths, who had been detained since Tuesday night, were let off for want of evidence.
On Monday afternoon, when HT visited the locality, the youths were not at home. Some said, they had gone to the market, another family said their son who returned chose visit his in-laws. “Tired of the media attention and cameras” outside his house, a man whose son was released refused to speak.
Locals said they were always optimistic that the youths would return. Amir ul Hasan Usmani, one of the neighbours, said, “I have seen these youths since the day they were born. I have seen them grow and can say with conviction that they have not done anything wrong. We knew they would return.”
A local said, “They were accused of making bombs. Do our houses look like the kind of places where bombs are made?”
The police, however, said the youths had not been given a clean chit.
Police said the youths have to present themselves before the investigating officer and inform him if they plan to go out of the city. Out of the 12 youths picked up on Tuesday, three were arrested and booked under sections of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
“We did not arrest the others because there was no direct evidence. If ever we get any evidence against them, they will be interrogated. The other three accused are being interrogated,” police said.