The arrest of a family member usually brings gloom, but the mood in the house of SIMI activist Zakir, who was arrested from Odisha, is anything but sombre.
“I am happy that he (Zakir) was caught alive, as now I can meet and see him (in jail),” said Salma Bi, mother of Zakir Hussain. Zakir was caught along with three other operatives of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) in Rourkela district of Odisha on Wednesday.
Zakir and three others including Sheikh Mehboob alias Guddu and Amjad (who were among the six SIMI men who escaped from Khandwa Jail in October 2013) and Mohammed Saliq alias Sallu, another SIMI operative from Khandwa district, were arrested in a joint operation by different security agencies.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, a day after her son’s arrest, Salma Bi, who lives in a slum behind Sales Tax colony in Khandwa town said, “I am more relieved and happy as he was caught alive.”
“After Nalgonda (Telengana) encounter on April 9, 2015, I was a bit worry about my son’s fate. But now at least I can see and meet him in any jail,” Salma added.
Two SIMI operatives, Aijajuddeen and Aslam, were gunned down by Nalgonda police in the encounter. Claiming that her son is innocent, she said, “My son is not involved in any terror activity.”
Six SIMI operatives had escaped from Tantya Bheel Jail of Khandwa district on October 1, 2013, and Zakir and two others were eluding arrest ever since.
On being contacted, Khandwa superintendent of police (SP), MS Sikarwar said that one team was rushed to Rourkela with documents to identify them. “Soon we will bring all the SIMI members to Khandwa for interrogation.” In November 2015, National Investigation Agency (NIA) pasted posters of the four absconding SIMI operatives in various part of Khandwa district besides announcing cash reward of Rs10 lakh.
At that time, sources had said that the absconding SIMI operatives, who also have connections with Indian Mujahiddin, were seen in Maharashtra.