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Friday, June 24, 2011

TEHELKA: FAKE TERRORISTS 1, A series on Kashmiri youth: Grounded for 5 years, will he ever fly again?

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From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 8, Issue 26, Dated 02 July 2011.

WHY: Arrested on the purported charges of being a Lashkar-e- Toiba operative planning to carry out 9/11-style terror attacks in the country. He was sent to Tihar Jail.
WHEN: 15 November 2006.
WHERE: Dwarka, New Delhi.

Imran Ahmad Kirmani
Photo: Fahad Shah
ANYBODY ACCUSED of crime is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. But Kashmiri youth Imran Ahmad Kirmani didn’t enjoy that luxury. For nearly five years, the aeronautical engineer was left to cool his heels inside the notorious Tihar jail on the cooked-up charges of being a terrorist who was planning a 9/11-style attack in the country.

On 15 November 2006, national media outlets screamed that the Delhi Police had foiled a major terror plot by nabbing a terrorist. The police alleged that Imran was a Lashkar-e-Toiba operative and 4 lakh was found on him, which they claimed was to be used to carry out terror attacks.

“Those were the dark days of my life,” recalls Imran, 29, who was acquitted by the Tis Hazari Court on 12 May of all the charges slapped by the police. “I am a free man, but who will return my five years and a promising career? No one answered that in the courtroom.”

Hailing from Nelipora hamlet of Handwara, almost 70 km from Srinagar, Imran’s is a story of Kashmiri youth who had a modest background and doting.parents. He joined the Rajiv Gandhi Memorial College of Aeronautical Engineering in Jaipur for which his father Ghulam Rasool Kirmani, a retired government teacher, spent most of his life savings. Imran also worked part time at a Gurgaon-based aviation academy to supplement his fees.

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