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Teenager's Anguish-5

by Bala

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Chapter 5 : Tension Post Court Judgement

Two days after the re-arrest of Habib in connection with the Vijaya case, there was tension in muslim areas at the time of the friday prayers.

Police had made sufficient bandobast to thwart any untoward incidents in sensitive areas. The imams and maulanas of different mosques appealed for calm to their followers while expressing great grief for treating muslims in a partial manner, arresting muslims at the slightest pretext, when some terrorist attacks took place etc.

But after the speeches were over, the maulanas, maulvis and other heads of the muslim community were freely venting their anger against the police and the government in their private discussions between themselves and other senior community members.

While elderly people were somewhat resigned to their fate of being treated in a step motherly way (as per their thinking), the younger generation was not willing to restrain themselves in what they considered as being treated like scapegoats, whenever any terrorist attacks took place.

Such youngsters were talking in groups among themselves after the namaz and wondering how to "teach a lesson" to the government, police and the kafirs, since they felt that the minority community was always targeted the moment some terrorist attack took place somewhere in the city or elsewhere in the country.

But their anger was very subdued due to the warnings of their elders, that they should not indulge in any activities, which will create disturbances in the community, inviting the police to raid their localities, with the added danger of them being arrested.

The elders had clearly told them that in case of any problems with the police, they would not be able to help them in anyway and so they told them to remain calm and quiet.

Dealing with lawyers involved lots of expenses, which they could not afford, being poor or low income earners.

4 such youths Abdul, Yusuf, Fayyaz and Kazi were engaged in serious discussions on the matter.

Kazi told the others, "When the news of the release of Habib as an innocent in the terrorist case was being telecast in different news channels 2 days back, I was watching the TV closely. I felt that I had seen him some 2 months back in a friend's house in Kurla" and gave a meaningful pause.

The others immediately asked him, "2 months back? What are you talking man? As per the news reports, he was in jail for the past 3 months as a suspect in the bomb blasts case. Then how could you see him 2 months back in your friend's house? You must be mistaken. You would have seen somebody else and not Habib".

Kazi said, "That's why I was also getting confused. If he was in jail for 3 months as per the news reports, how could he have visited my friend's house 2 months back? That is very puzzling. But I am reasonably confident that it was definitely Habib only, whom I had seen in the Kurla house of my friend".

After a pause he continued, "Shall we do one thing? We will all go to my friend's house now and clear our doubts. What do you say?"

His friends thought for a few minutes and agreed with Kazi's suggestion.

All of them immediately rushed to Kurla, to his friend's house. At the entrance of the chawl, where his friend resided, they again had a conference for sometime on how to approach the topic with Kazi's friend. Should all of them go inside his friend's flat, or only should Kazi go in?

Finally, they decided that it would be better for Kazi to go alone to his friend's flat and tactfully ask him about Habib and think about what to do depending on the answer to the question.

So, Kazi went inside and the 3 others waited down on the pavement of the building with anxiety. A few minutes later, Yusuf's mobile started ringing. When he looked at the screen to know the name of the caller, he found it to be Kazi.

When he spoke to him, Kazi called all of them to come up to the flat of his friend, which was in the 3rd floor of the building. He gave the flat number to them.

Immediately they went to the staircase, running up the 3 storeys of the building quickly. Kazi was at the entrance of the flat, he called them in and so they entered the flat hesitantly.

Kazi introduced his friends to the friend in the flat, whose name was Khalid. His parents were also there in the flat as also a couple of elderly ladies.

Khalid offered cold drinks to all of them and after a few minutes of introductory pleasantries, he confirmed Kazi's suspicion that it was Habib only who visited their flat some 2 months back along with 4 or 5 other men.

They told him and his parents that they were members of a non govt organization (NGO) for the service of the muslim community in general and for those in the very poorer sections of the community in particular.

They were involved in several activities to help the muslim citizens to find good vocational courses like electrician, plumber, tailoring, embroidery, carpentry, air conditioning servicing, welding etc. They were also conducting travel/tourist related courses involving railway/air tickets booking, hospitality industry, computer courses, basic data entry courses, basic accounting and a few other courses helpful for 10th pass and 12th pass students.

They said that such courses were being conducted at very nominal charges for the youngsters and also to the elders who had lost their jobs due to various reasons.

If the people taking such courses were not able to get jobs in a reasonable time, they were ready to help them start their own enterprises jointly with the other students by arranging for loans from some co-operative banks and muslim charity trusts.

For running such enterprises successfully and profitably they would give them some orientation courses on advanced accounting and basic management topics also additionally, again at nominal charges.

The important condition was that once their enterprises started running successfully, earning reasonable profits, they were supposed to repay the loans with interest over a period of time. They promised them that the reasonable time would be much better than what the regular banks were offering to the general public.

After listening to all this information, when Kazi and his friends broached the topic of Habib, Khalid confirmed that he and his parents also thought that it was Habib only, who had visited them on that day and all of them were thoroughly puzzled as to how it could be possible as per the TV news of 2 days back.

They had introduced Habib as the teacher for the computer courses!

After lengthy discussions for several minutes, none of them were able to come to any conclusion, whether it was Habib only or somebody else, who visited them on that day.

(To be continued)

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