Hugs End 18-years Of Separation Of Liyaqat's Family

Hugs End 18-years Of Separation Of Liyaqat's Family

17 May 2013
Times of India
Indrani Basu

New Delhi: It was after 18 years of living in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), two months of incarceration in Tihar Jail and another seven hours long wait outside the jail complex before suspected Hizbul terrorist Liyaqat Shah's family finally met him on Friday night. And not a moment too soon - with just 20 minutes to spare, Shah was rushed off in a waiting autorickshaw by his family to catch a train to Kashmir. 'Our train leaves at 9.40pm from the Delhi Cantonment station,' Liyaqat's elder brother Syed Anayat Shah explained. The scene outside Tihar Jail was both jubilant and sombre. While Liyaqat's brother and friends rushed to hug him in joy, none of them were able to express themselves in words to each other. Thronged by photographers and curious members of the public, it was just Liyaqat who could form his thoughts coherently. 'I'm thankful to Omar Abdullah and have faith in the justice system. I am confident that the entire truth will come out and justice will prevail.' Asked if he was worried about the investigations, he smiled and said, 'I'm not scared of dying.' He described how he was arrested by police officers on his way back home. 'I was going home with my wife, deaf and dumb teenage daughter and about a dozen others when the policemen came. They told me they were taking me home. I didn't know what happened to my wife and daughter until much later. I didn't even know that they were claiming to have found guns and grenades at my instance until I was in jail, where some people in jail told me the entire story that was in the media,' he said. Claiming that he was well treated in Tihar Jail, he said, 'They were good to me and gave me respect. I have no complaints against jail staff and I was given good food. The jail administration even arranged sevadaars for me.' Jail officials told TOI that they gave Liyaqat auto fare till the railway station and a warrant so that he could safely reach home. Ghulam Ahmed Sheikh, president of Liyaqat's village told TOI that Liyaqat's arrest had discouraged many others from return home. 'There were around 30 more villagers who were supposed to return but got scared after Liyaqat's arrest. They had all filled their forms and got permission from relevant authorities. At least 20 of them would have been home by now if this arrest had not taken place,' he said. Abdul Gaffar Lohar, the sarpanch of Liyaqat's village explained, 'Once you've seen a snake in your path, you are even scared of ropes.' 'This incident made him a toy. He was a farmer, and taken by force to become a militant. When he tried to return, he became a victim again,' said Sheikh. Back home, it was Liyaqat's mother who was looking forward to his return the most, said Syed. 'I've been lying to her and saying he has been with me all day. She cannot bear to hear that her son was in jail, so I told her he had been with me ever since the bail order. She has been very sick but she sounded young again after hearing the good news,' he said. 'It is like our family has seen Eid ka chaand. There are festivities planned back home. We have relatives from everywhere who have assembled at home.'