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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

2 Bihar men 'branded' IM terror suspects turn up in Patna to claim innocence

Anirban Guha Roy, Hindustan Times  Patna, February 20, 2014
First Published: 01:57 IST(20/2/2014) | Last Updated: 01:59 IST(20/2/2014)

Two Bihar men, alleged to have links with Indian Mujahideen, on Wednesday turned up at Bihar assembly complex and threatened to commit suicide unless it was probed how they came to be viewed as suspects.

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Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), a paramilitary force guarding Bihar-Nepal border, had asked the Bihar Police to investigate Bihar minority affairs minister Shahid Ali Khan's alleged links with two IM operatives, Jameel Akhtar and Majid Dewan.

Following Opposition criticism, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar had asked SSB what was the source of its inputs that prompted it to investigate Khan's role. The police had found the allegation false.

Reacting to the charges, Khan had said that the question of probing his role will arise if it was established whether the suspected duo had any links with the terror outfit in the first place.

The BJP had created a furor over Khan's alleged links with IM and Pakistan spy agency ISI.

To claim their innocence, Akhtar and Dewan turned up in the capital and demanded an investigation into the charges.

"We were under tremendous mental stress for the past one week after being labeled as terrorists," said the men who were brought to the legislature complex by Pawan Kumar Jaiswal, an independent MLA from Dhaka in east Champaran,.

"We will commit suicide along with our family members, if a high-level probe is not ordered to probe how the SSB branded us as terrorists without any evidence," they said.

The two had come to meet Kumar. Their appearance in Patna is being viewed by many as JD (U) move to counter Opposition criticism.

"As both reside in my constituency, I thought it fit to bring them to Patna for a meeting with the CM," said Jaiswal.

Akhtar and Dewan, both middle aged impoverished workers, said they were labeled IM suspects because a few years ago they had opposed the construction of a wall on their land in their native village after SSB moved in.

"We have never been to Pakistan and we have come to Patna for the first time," they claimed, while denying any association with the minority affairs minister.

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