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How emotion softened terror

india Updated: Aug 07, 2009 01:37 IST
Debasish Panigrahi
Debasish Panigrahi
Hindustan Times
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Playing on emotions can transform hardened criminals. That’s how interrogators of the 2003 twin blasts got convict Fehmida Hanif to confess to her role in the 2003 twin blasts.

It was no easy task given that she had been indoctrinated by none other than her husband.

Recalling his interaction with Fehmida, following her detention, Joint Commissioner of Police, crime, Rakesh Maria said she was highly motivated by her Laskar-e-Tayyeba-trained husband Hanif.

“Like him, she kept pleading innocence although the police had gathered all evidence about the duo’s involvement in the blasts by the time we picked them for questioning,” said Maria, then additional commissioner, crime.

When the interrogators told her that they would spare her daughter, who had been pushed into the terror act by her parents, if she (Fehmida) confessed, it stirred the maternal bondings in her.

And the tough nut that Fehmida had evolved into, cracked.

She requested the police to allow her to meet her husband in private for a few seconds. The request was promptly granted. The couple emerged from the room after about five or 10 minutes and their confession/s followed.

It was during her (and Hanif’s) interrogation, that the police learnt of their plans.

Accordingly, Maria said, they had planned to bomb the Bhabha Atomic Reaesrch Centre, the crime branch office at the police commissionerate at Crawford Market, the domestic airport and conduct multiple blasts at dandiya venues during Navratri festivities that year…

A day after the 2003 twin blasts on August 25, 2003, Ashrat met Hanif at the latter’s home and told him to take a look at the newspapers (for blast coverage).

Ashrat said the taxi driver (at the Gateway blast site) had survived and had helped the police prepare sketches of the occupants (Hanif and his family had taken the taxi).

On hearing this, Hanif suggested that Ashrat crop his hair while he would grow a beard to conceal their identities.

That, however, did not work well for them.

The duo was arrested within a week of the blasts, Maria said.