The heartbroken and angry father of suspected militant Saifullah, who was killed in a 13-hour standoff with security forces in Lucknow, refused on Wednesday to accept the body of his son who he said was a “traitor”.
The 23-year-old youth was accused of triggering a blast in the Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train on Tuesday, and officers suspect he was an operative of the Islamic State terrorist group’s Indian wing.
“How can I bury him when he was against the country? I do not want to see his face,” father Sartaj Khan said.
Saifullah, a graduate in commerce, had left home in anger two-and-a-half months ago.
He had a tiff with his father, a supervisor with a tannery, who was unhappy that he remained glued to WhatsApp and did nothing else.
“He never listened to me,” he said, recalling he had scolded his son publicly and even thrashed him in December for his wayward ways.
Before he left, Saifullah informed the family that he was going to New Delhi for a visa to Dubai, where he would look for a job.
Around the same time, friend Atif Muzaffar was pressing his widowed mother to let him go and work in New Delhi.
She was reluctant. “I was scared of his anger. I asked him to join his brother in his dairy business. He left without telling me.”
The friends left Kanpur together. Saifullah was a jovial fellow until his mother died last year.
“He will leave early in the morning, he will come late at night, if he was home I found him fiddling with his cellphone or the laptop he bought last year; he will not allow anyone to touch the gadgets, he will become hysterical even if a child touched them,” his father said.
Another friend found Saifullah, Atif and cousin Danish meeting quite often on the banks of the Ganga, close to his home in the Jajmau Teela locality, or in a dhaba along the highway.
“These boys were fond of tea, they will down several cups. But they won’t lift their eyes off their phones all the while. They watched videos quite a lot,” said the owner of the highway eatery where Saifullah and his friends used to frequent.
Atif dropped out of Aligarh Muslim University after his father’s death in 2013. He was doing a diploma.
His father was chairman of the Muslim Association, a group that runs colleges and schools.
“Atif didn’t like being questioned. He will get angry to a point that he can do anything,” his brother said.
In the past two months, Atif tried calling his mother. But she didn’t speak. “I was angry with him. He told his sister he was moving to Mumbai where he has landed a job. That was the last time anyone of us heard from him,” she said.
According to his family members, Atif went for Haj in Saudi Arabia 10 months ago without informing anyone. Investigations revealed he sold a piece of family land for Rs 22 lakh.
Saifullah had told his brother he has taken up a job and he would earn “so much in this life” that the family would be proud.
Madhya Pradesh police arrested Atif and another two — cousin Danish and a friend from Aligarh — for their suspected role in the train blast that left 10 people wounded.