Prashant Dayal (Deewal Part-54): The crime branch was successful in nailing Danish’s lie after Yusuf recognized him and told the police that it was Danish who had come to buy the bicycles from him, which were later used in planting the bombs. Yusuf was sent back to Jadeja’s office and now there were only Danish, DCP Sinha and inspector Jadeja in the office. Danish was made sit on the floor with Jadeja and Sinha, with a stick in his hand, pulling up a chair each next to him. Sinha had slapped Danish so hard that blood had come out his mouth. Sinha ordered three coffees, including one for Danish. Though he denied to have it, Sinha insisted he drink it. Sinha began his interrogation and Danish began to speak. “Sir, I am a real estate broker in Hyderabad. I have a wife and four kids. I knew Naseeruddin from the last five years as he was a community leader. He would teach Islam to people and I never had any other conversations with him other than that regarding religion. Six months ago, I was called up by him, that is when I also met Mohammed and Yunus for the first time.” Sinha signaled Danish to pause for a moment as he picked up a diary and a pen from the table and noted down something and then looked at Danish, and asked, “Who  all were a part of this meeting?” Danish continued, “Sir only the three of us. Naseeruddin sahib spoke about the 2002 riots of Gujarat and was telling us how our community members had suffered during that time and we must do something for our community. I was expecting something along the lines of collecting charity money for the victims, so I told him that I am ready to follow his orders. Nothing much was discussed in that meeting then, but after fifteen days, I was called up again, this time other than the three of us, there Abu and Riyaz too who came along with Chand. Sahib spoke of the horrors of 2002 riots again and how our community made to suffer till date. He said we are not allowed conduct any businesses nor are we given any jobs in the government,”

Hearing this, Sinha looked at Jadeja and asked, “How many Muslims do we have working with us in the crime branch?” “About six to seven constables and two sub-inspectors,” said Jadeja after a few seconds of thinking. Sinha looked at Danish and asked him to continue. Danish felt that this statement didn't go down well with the DCP, so he clarified that this was not him but Naseeruddin who said it, but Sinha didn’t respond and signaled him to continue talking. “Sir we were not so clear about the agenda of the meeting, that is when Naseeruddin showed us a video on his computer. It played scenes from the 2002 Gujarat riots.  It showed shops and houses of people belonging to our community being burnt. We saw children and our women being subjected to violence and being butchered. Some other videos were of the relief centers, and interviews of the victims of the riots.” Danish took a deep breath and said, “Sir, our blood boiled on seeing those videos. Even after so many years since the partition of India and Pakistan, who do you people still don’t consider us as Indians?” DCP Sinha looked at Danish, who then clarified, “Not you sir, I mean the ones from the Hindu Sena”

The DCP again noted something in his diary and Danish continued speaking, “We all felt that we must do something for our community, but had no clue what. That is when Naseeruddin sahib said that we should do Jihad as the one who fights for the religion is a Jihadi. So we all agreed to his plan of doing Jihad. Except for Major Mohammed, none of us were educated, so he was tasked with the planning. We were told that we would need some local boys for our work, so I traveled to Ahmedabad with Mohammed about two months ago. Naseeruddin sahib commanded great respect in the city, but it didn’t work in our favor as none of the boys we met weren’t ready to be a part of the Jihad. Thus we decided that the six of us would have to do this task.” “Who decided this task you are talking about?” asked Sinha interrupting Danish’s flow. “I am not aware who decided what the job was about, all I knew was the plans were being executed by Mohammed Bhai. I even inquired with Major once on how can only six of us do something as big as Jihad, to which he had told me that Naseeruddin would get us some men to our help from out of state,” Sinha interrupted again, “Were you aware what was this so-called task?” “I was of the thought that we would be killing off some big shot Hindu leader. It was Mohammed Bhai who knew literally everything about the plan.” Sinha noted the tinge of aggression that would come up in Danish eyes everytime he would mention about the Hindu Sena.

Danish spoke again, “Sir I saw how the Hindu Sena were carrying swords in their hands and attacking our community. The burnt alive some of our community members too.” Sinha wasn’t a part of the Indian Police Service during the 2002 Gujarat riots, but he had done enough study of the incidents to understand the horrific nature of the communal clashes. “Sir I wanted to kill of one of the Hindu leaders who had led this violence on our community, but Mohammed informed me that Naseeruddin has told him that the plan is to kill the Hindus the way they did with our men, and we’ll see if their Hindu police could save them” said Danish. Sinha and Jadeja exchanged glances, Danish understood the situation and again clarified that how he had seen in the videos that the violence against his community were perpetrated in presence of the police. Sinha nodded his head, which Danish thought was in agreement to his clarification. “We decided that we will destroy this city, which had tried to wipe out our community,” said Danish. Sinha then asked him that where did they source their bombs from, to which Danish paused and took a deep breath, as if he was about to confess something huge.

The 54th part of the serialized novel 'Deewal' based on the Sabarmati jailbreak attempt, written by Prashant Dayal, the editor of MeraNews