New Delhi: After 12 years in prison over blasts in Delhi that killed 67 people just before Diwali, 34-year-old Mohammad Rafiq Shah of Srinagar was let off by a court yesterday. "I said three words to the judge - justice has prevailed," Shah told NDTV. He is among the three men who were freed for lack of evidence.
- Mohammad Rafiq Shah is among the three men freed for lack of evidence
- Hope culprits are caught so blast victims get justice like me, he says
- Serial blasts in New Delhi killed over 60, injured hundreds in 2005
A third accused, Tariq Ahmed Dar, was convicted, not for his involvement in the bombings but for his links with a banned group.
All three were charged with waging war against the state, conspiring, collecting arms, murder and attempt to murder in 2008. But the prosecution's case collapsed. In its 147-page judgement, the court flagged lapses in investigation and also the case stacked up by the prosecution.
"There were 325 prosecution witnesses. I knew right then that this would take a long time, but I was convinced that I would be acquitted," said Shah, sharing that he used to keep himself positive by reading the Quran, playing Badminton and reading.
"I want the real culprits to be caught. Even the victims of the blast case must get justice like I did."
Shah was studying for a master's degree in Islamic Studies at the Kashmir University when he was arrested. He claims he was in class when the blasts took place and his attendance record showed that, but the police didn't listen when they took him away from his home. He also says he only visited Delhi as a child and never knew his fellow accused before jail.
"The only thing I have to say to the police is that they should know they are humans first, and then policemen. They should behave in a more humane manner," he commented.
Shah completed his master's degree in jail. He says he wants to work with "boys who are innocent" and are arrested on terror charges.
For now, he wants to spend more time with his parents. "They had to run around in courts for me, while I should have served them," he said.
In Srinagar, he plans to resume his studies. "There were so many such boys in Tihar still there. I feel lucky," he shared, helping himself to his favourite "paneer" dish cooked by his mother.