Bihar’s Darbhanga district is perceived to be what Azamgarh is for Uttar Pradesh – a terrorist breeding ground.
In 2011-12, a dozen men were arrested from the district for links with terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM).Four hailed from Barh Samaila village.
Efforts to shake off the terror tag have failed. The arrest of Yasin Bhatkal from Nepal in August 2013 led the investigators to his network of associates in Darbhanga.
This time, the district became a reference point for BJP chief Amit Shah’s speech on terror.
The stigma has become too heavy for Firoz Ahmad, a doctor, to carry. He also happens to be the father of Fasih Mehmood, one of the village’s four alleged IM operatives.
Mechanical engineer Fasih was arrested in Saudi Arabia in May 2012 on the charge of being a close aide of IM’s co-founder Bhatkal. Fellow villagers Kafil Akhtar, Gauhar Aziz Khomaini and Qateel Siddiqui were caught in India.
“Punish my son if he has committed any crime but please don’t spoil his life if he is innocent,” Ahmad said, adding that polarisation has destroyed the Hindu-Muslim bonhomie.
“There was a time when the two communities voted for the same party or candidate. Something has gone terribly wrong,” Ahmad said.