Accused in serial blasts, candidate contends Delhi civic polls
Ziya Ur Rehman, lodged in Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati prison and accused of being involved in the 2008 Ahmedabad and Delhi serial blasts, is contesting the Delhi civic body polls and hoping a good result could aid his acquittal.
Amidst the poll frenzy in the national capital, a mother is preparing for a different battle. Hoping to highlight her son's innocence through electoral victory, Shakira Begum, whose son is accused of being involved in the 2008 serial blasts in Delhi and Ahmedabad, is canvassing door to door for the Delhi civic polls.
Ziya Ur Rehman, lodged in Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati prison, is an independent candidate in the upcoming Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections from South Delhi’s Zakir Nagar area.
“More than winning, it is about giving the message that my son has been framed,” says Shakira Begum, a housewife.
Ziya Ur Rehman was friend of Atif Ameen and Mohammad Sajid, the two persons killed in Batla House encounter in September 2008.
Shakira Begum’s husband and Ziya’s father, Abdul Rehman, was the care taker of L- 18, the house in which the two used to live on rent. Soon after the encounter, police accused Ziya of being involved in serial blasts in Ahmedabad and Delhi which took place in 2008.
Ziya’s trial in Delhi cases has begun and 100 witnesses have been produced before the court. His trial in Ahmedabad cases is yet to start.
For over two weeks, Shakira Begum has been going door to door, asking people to vote for sewing machine, the election symbol of her son. At times, she is accompanied by her three daughters and at others by a group of 15- 20 women.
“The women are with us. We are sure about it,” she said when asked about the mood of 53, 000 voters who will decide the fate of ward number 205, in which Ziya is contesting.
Shakira Begum believes that if a sizeable chunk of electorate votes for her son, it could create pressure on the judiciary and could increase the chances of his acquittal.
Ziya’s father, Abdul Rehman, is a retired clerk from Uttar Pradesh People’s Works Department. He says that nothing but the sympathy of the people will help Ziya win the election.
“Our appeal is simple. If you believe that Ziya is innocent, vote for him. Otherwise, vote for anyone else,” he said.
The election pamphlet for Ziya's campaign is a picture which shows him behind bars. “Lodged in Gujarat prison, I, Ziya ur Rehman, am a living example of atrocities on Muslims. I want justice,” reads the pamphlet printed in Hindi and Urdu.
A factor in Ziya’s candidature is also a latent anger against the Congress party. Residents of Batla House in general and family of the accused in particular, say they want to teach a lesson to the political party and Ziya is competing against Shoaib Danish, the incumbent civic legislator from the Congress party.
“We are not living on their mercy. We have given them enough time. They just played with us. Now we have taken things in our hand,” Shakira Begum said
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