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‘A cleric made me see sense’

india Updated: Jul 27, 2009 01:22 IST
Vignesh Iyer
Vignesh Iyer
Hindustan Times
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Lashkar-e-Tayyeba operative, Jahid Patni (32), was arrested on October 2, 2003, after he confessed to his involvement in the twin blasts and turned approver. He was later granted bail. Here’s his first-person account of how he gave in the other accused.

“I grew up in Mira Road. Ashrat Ansari [co-accused] and I are childhood friends. In 1999, I took up a job in Dubai. In 2000, I befriended some men — Naim, Nasir, Mohammad Hanif, Samiullah and Bilal Rehman. Nasir was from Hyderbad, Hanif from Mumbai, the others Pakistanis.

Naim was a Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) member.

We often discussed atrocities committed on Muslims in India. Samiullah and Bilal spoke of jihad (holy war) and showed us films of the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Another LeT member, Maulana Hafiz Hasan, would give us talks on Pakistani jihad. LeT had ‘branches’ at Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

Here I met LeT member Abdul Razzak who was trained in Pakistan to make bombs.

Hanif, Nasir and I joined the LeT. In 2002, Nasir went to Pakistan and Hanif was in Dubai to learn to make bombs.

On vacation in Mumbai I met Ashrat. Disturbed after witnessing the Gujarat riots, Ashrat wanted revenge. I told him I had joined the LeT and that also Hanif would contact him when he visited Mumbai.

Back in Dubai in August 2002, we met at Nasir’s home. Samiullah and Bilal chastised us for living comfortably in Dubai while Muslims in India suffered. “Carry out blasts there. Only then will there be fear of our religion,” they said.

In December, Hanif and Ashrat told me they had carried out a blast in a bus in Ghatkopar.

I visited India in May 2003 when I met Ashrat, Hanif and Nasir and planned the next blasts in Mumbai.

I returned to Dubai. On August 25, 2003, Nasir called me in the morning. “Watch television this evening,” he said. That evening we called Hanif and Nasir to congratulate them.

A few days later after Ashrat, Hanif and his family were arrested, my name as a suspect was on television. Yasin advised me to go to Pakistan and then to another country on a Pakistani passport.

But a meeting with Maulvi Zafar in Dubai changed my mind. Maulvisaab said bombs don’t differentiate between Hindus and Muslims. That is when I felt I should be punished for my crime in my own country. I returned to India on October 1, 2003.”