Sabarmati Express blasts: Proven innocent 16 years after, here is the story of Kashmiri scholar Gulzar

Gulzar Ahmad Wani (Photo courtesy:

‘Alhamdulillah’, says father after his son’s acquittal

Srinagar: “Truth has won,” exclaimed Ghulam Ahmad Wani, father of a Kashmiri scholar who was acquitted of all charges leveled against him in the August 2000 Sabarmati blast case.

A session court in Barabanki (Uttar Pradesh) on Saturday acquitted Gulzar Ahmad Wani for lack of evidence in the Sabarmati express train blast case.

Just after exiting the court premises, Advocate Abu Bakar Sabaak, spoke to FreePressKashmir from Lucknow detailing the court procedure and acquittal of Gulzar.

Sabaak said that a special cell of Delhi police arrested Gulzar Ahmad Wani from a railway station in Aligarh when he was on way to Aligarh Muslim University from his home on 21 July 2001. “Police revealed his whereabouts after ten days,” he said terming Wani’s ten days detention as illegal.

A resident of Tapper Pattan in Baramulla district, Gulzar is the eldest amongst his siblings. During his 16 year long illegal detention, he missed out on various milestones of his six siblings.

His one brother and three sisters have been married off while his other two brothers are purusing studies in Jaipur: one studies Journalism and another Medical Biology.

Representational Image

Accompanied by father of Gulzar, Advocate Sabaak said that the blasts took place in Sabarmati Express around 10 pm on 14th August, 2000 in Rozagaon area of Uttar Pradesh.

“Gulzar was accused of hatching a conspiracy to blow many cities across India on August 15 in 2000 along with another person,” he said. Explaining the case further, “however, we fought our case on the premise that the two accused don’t have an agreement of mind nor they have any connectivity.”

Gulzar was slapped with 14 cases; six in Uttar Pradesh, seven in Delhi and one more in Maharashtra.

“The (Delhi) police alleged that conspiracy was hatched at behest of Gulzar on May 10th, 2000 in the Habib Hall of AMU where Gulzar stayed during second year of his PhD,” Sabaak said.

“Gulzar completed his Masters degree from AMU in Arabic before he qualified the National Eligibility test (NET) twice in the subject”

“Hizb ul Mujahideen (HM) and Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) were said to be plotters of the imagined blasts,” he further informed.

However, on Saturday, the Barabanki session court acquitted Gulzar of his last case. In April, a bench comprising of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud in the Supreme Court termed the incarceration of Gulzar a “shame”.

The case was being heard by Additional Sessions Judge M A Khan who acquitted Gulzar and co-accused Mobin, of all the charges as the prosecution could not establish any of the charges levelled against them, Sabaak said.

Gulzar, who was 26-year-old youth in 2000, finished 12th as Aalmiyat student from Jamiat-ul-Falah, Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh before entering AMU as an under-graduate student.

“Gulzar completed his Masters degree from AMU in Arabic before he qualified the National Eligibility test (NET) twice in the subject,” Gulzar’s father, Ahmad, told the FreePressKashmir.

Sabaak claimed that Delhi police had only one thing in hand to support the allegations: “a forcible confessional/disclosure statement taken by the cops from Gulzar Wani in custody.”

“They had nothing to corroborate,” he said, “there was no circumstantial evidence; there was no proper sanction.”

After today’s verdict, Gulzar has been sent to jail wherefrom he is supposed to be released in the evening.

“It may take us some more days as there is a technical fault in two more cases which were registered against Gulzar in Nagpur,” Ahmad said, “Gulzar will have to travel to Nagpur now before we fly home, honourably.”

Sabaak, however, said, “given the new rules, an acquitted person has to obtain a six months bail after court pronounces him/her innocent in any such case.”

Ahmad – father of seven – was an employee in J&K Power Development Department.

“Alham du lillah!” he exclaimed when asked about acquittal of his son.

“It was fight fought collectively by my family,” he asserted.

He said that the family would meet Gulzar which depended on the financial health of the family. “We would usually meet Gulzar after interval of six months,” Ahmad said who also owns an apple orchard.

“The travel costs would be huge.”

Gulzar, his father said, was jailed in Tihar for almost eight years before he was shifted to Kanpur for three to four years and finally he was detained in Lucknow wherefrom he is being released now.

Gulzar is one of many such Kashmiris who was declared innocent after spending their youth in different jails across India on frivolous charges.

In March, three Kashmiris, Muhammad Rafiq Shah, Tariq Ahmad Dar and Muhammad Hussain of Srinagar were released from Tihar jail after being illegally jailed for twelve years.

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