‘Court overlooked mental health’: Family of Gorakhnath temple attack accused | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘Court overlooked mental health’: Family of Gorakhnath temple attack accused

By, Lucknow
Jan 31, 2023 12:23 AM IST

Soon after arrest of Ahmad Murtaza Abbasi, 35, for attacking security personnel at Gorkhnath temple in Uttar Pradesh, his family had claimed that he was suffering from mental illness and undergoing treatment.

Soon after arrest of Ahmad Murtaza Abbasi, 35, for attacking security personnel at Gorkhnath temple in Uttar Pradesh, his family had claimed that he was suffering from mental illness and undergoing treatment.

Abbasi had obtained a chemical engineering degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in 2015 and lived in Mumbai and Jamnagar before returning to Gorakhpur in 2020. (PTI)
Abbasi had obtained a chemical engineering degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in 2015 and lived in Mumbai and Jamnagar before returning to Gorakhpur in 2020. (PTI)

The temple premises houses Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s residence as he is head priest of the temple. A special court in Uttar Pradesh on Monday awarded death penalty to Abbasi.

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In April 2022, Abbasi had attacked Provincial Armed Constabulary personnel Anil Kumar Paswan deployed at the temple gates. After injuring Paswan, he had injured two other constables of the PAC, after which he was apprehended. Police, which initially termed him as a lone wolf, later said it was a terror attack and booked him under several sections of the Indian Penal Code and under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Abbasi had obtained a chemical engineering degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in 2015 and lived in Mumbai and Jamnagar before returning to Gorakhpur in 2020. His father is a retired bank official and his uncle is a medical practitioner in Gorakhpur. Another family member is in the Indian Administrative Service, according to his family.

Soon after his arrest, his family had said that Abbasi got a job with Reliance Petrochemicals after graduating from IIT Bombay. He quit the job in 2017 because of his illness, his father Muneer Ahmad Abbasi said after his arrest.

In a brief interaction with media, Muneer Ahmad Abbasi claimed that his son suffered from mental health issues, which had aggravated into suicidal tendencies. He was suffering from mental illness since 2017 and was being treated by several doctors, including one in Jamnagar, at the time of arrest, his father said.

Talking on behalf of family members of Abbasi, lawyer Riza ul Rehman, who had represented Abbasi in court, said: “The family has a history of mental problems. Ahmad Murtaza Abbasi was under treatment. We had also presented all medical papers before investigating agencies. But they did not take note of it.”

Vivekanand Sharan Tripathi, special judge at the ATS court, however, rejected the mental illness argument of the defence team, convicting Abbasi on terror charges and awarding him death penalty.

Abassi got married in 2019 and, within a year, his wife left him. His in-laws told Uttar Pradesh police that the couple had parted ways because of strained relations between his wife and his mother.

“I had been keeping a close watch on him. I also foiled an attempt by him to die by suicide. At the time of attack in the temple, I was in Mumbai to hand over my flat on rent. We don’t know how he left the house and reached the temple,” his father had said.

“The family has decided to challenge ATS court’s order in the high court. The agencies investigating the case did not take note of Ahmad Murtaza Abbasi’s mental sickness,” Rehman said. His younger brother Khalid Abbasi refused to comment on the order.

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