Intense drama was witnessed at the Lucknow district jail here on Sunday morning when the Meerut family came face to face with convicted Jaish–e-Mohammad terrorist Mohammad Abid alias ‘Fathe’ amidst elaborate security. While Mahesh Devi and her elder son Pawan Jatav looked for a tattoo on his hand and a scar on his face, the convict brazenly denied any connection with them. The family later demanded DNA test of the convict to clear all doubts.
Mahesh Devi and her elder son had gone to meet Fathe after permission from the district administration on Saturday. The woman suspected that the convict was her missing son Pravin, who disappeared under mysterious circumstance on May 5, 2006. The meeting took place in the presence of special task force (STF), anti-terror squad (ATS) officials, local intelligence unit (LIU)and jail authorities.
“The convict himself denied having connection with the Meerut family and said it was sheer coincidence that his face resembled the missing Pravin. A major identity sign, Pravin’s name tattooed on his right hand, was also not found. The family looked for the scar on his face but it was also not found,” said Shashi Kant Mishra, jail superintendent, who was present during the interaction for around 50 minutes.
Pawan Jatav, however, demanded DNA test of the convict to clear identity doubts.
Rihai Manch, a civil society organisation, had presented the Meerut family before the media on Friday. The family claimed that they came to know about Fathe when his photograph was published in a newspaper in Meerut on July 1, after the special jail court in Lucknow convicted him along with two others Mirza Rashid Beg ‘Raja Kazaffi’ and Shafi–Ur-Rahman ‘Yusuf’. On July 14, the court awarded life imprisonment to the trio and imposed a fine of Rs 1.30 lakh, holding them guilty of waging war against India.
Spokesman of Rihai Manch, Shahnawaz Alam said the family had demanded DNA test, as it still had doubts that the convict was not accepting his real identity under police pressure. “According to Pravin’s mother, the convict was very emotional while talking to her and his accent was of Meerut people,” he emphasised, adding, “Other than the tattoo and scar on the face, two more injury marks on the leg, which Pravin got in childhood, were present. The injury marks were smaller than those described by the family but it is quite possible they became smaller with time”. Besides, the scar could not be checked properly as the convict was sporting a beard, he said.
Alam said another thing that raised doubts was that Fathe said during the interaction that he was arrested from Ghaziabad, merely 55 kilometres from Pravin’s native place in Meerut.
But the STF had shown his arrest from Gudamba here on November 15, 2007. “The ultimate solution to solving the mystery is to conduct the DNA test of the convict, which will clear all doubts related to his identity,” he said.