Saquib Nachan’s conviction in the 2002-2003 triple blasts case spread an uneasy calm in his village Padgha, which falls in the Bhiwandi rural region and is around 50km from Mumbai.
Learning a lesson from the 2003 incident, when a police team that went to arrest Nachan in Padgha was attacked by villagers, the police had heightened patrolling in the area. The police are also keeping an eye on history-sheeters so they don’t cause riots. “We are here to maintain law and order,” said a police constable, on condition of anonymity.
During the trial, all witnesses from Padgha had turned hostile.
All doors of the area where the Nachan family lives, called Nachan mohalla, were shut. The police said most members of the family were in court for the verdict. “Saquib was born in this village. After his arrest, he has come to the village twice – once when his father was ill and the second time was last month when his father died,” said a police officer from Padgha police station.
A police officer said 78 small villages come under the jurisdiction of Padgha police station, but Boriwali village, where Nachan stays, is the most sensitive.
A 20-year-old resident of the Nachan mohalla said, “We are not sure whether he was behind the blast or not, but his family is suffering. Whenever we see police in our area, Saquib’s name crosses our mind. On hearing of the conviction, I asked my family to stay indoors.”
Another resident said, “Saquib was arrested, then set free and rearrested later. The police should do their investigation properly. Such a thing not only affects the Nachan family and relatives, but us too.”