Mumbai: ISIS suspect attempts suicide due to alleged harassment by ATS
One of the men from Malwani who had left home with the aim of joining the Islamic State has been in the medical intensive care unit of KEM Hospital for over 10 days now, after allegedly attempting to kill himself by consuming rat poison. Sources said alleged harassment by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), which has been questioning him about his disappearance, was the reason.
Noor Mohammad Shaikh is believed to have attempted suicide in the first week of January after the ATS allegedly threatened to arrest him. He is currently admitted to KEM Hospital’s MICU ward 22, in bed number 2. His wife was at the hospital yesterday (right)
Noor Mohammad Shaikh, 32, is believed to have attempted suicide in the first week of January after the ATS allegedly threatened to arrest him under stringent charges. He is currently admitted to KEM Hospital’s MICU ward 22 and is on bed number 2.
Doctors treating him told mid-day that his condition was initially very serious and that he is “critical but out of danger.” A source in the ATS told mid-day that Noor was being questioned for more than 14 hours a day after he was traced.
“After Noor was traced from the Sangli, he was constantly questioned by the ATS over links to join ISIS,” said the source, who did not want to be identified. “He had alleged that he and his family were harassed by ATS officials in the name of interrogation, but the policemen maintained they were just doing their job. After the ATS registered a case against Ayaz Sultan, who is believed to have left the country, they were threatening to apply the same stringent sections against Noor and Wajid Shaikh, who too had returned home. Just two days before the ATS was to arrest them, Noor consumed poison.”
Another officer added: “Noor consumed one full bottle of rat poison. His body had turned yellow and his condition was extremely serious when brought to the hospital. Noor has alleged that he attempted suicide because he and his wife were being harassed by the ATS. Security in the ward is tight and doctors are monitoring Noor’s health.”
Sultan was charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on December 30. Noor’s family refused to comment when mid-day contacted them. mid-day called Maharashtra ATS chief Vivek Phansalkar and ATS Special IG Niket Kaushik several times, but neither answered the phone. Text messages to the two were also unanswered. KEM Dean Dr Avinash Supe also refused to comment on why Noor was hospitalised.
“I have been asked by the Special IG Niket Kaushik not to divulge any information about this patient,” Dr Supe told mid-day in response to several detailed questions about Noor’s condition and hospitalisation.
When mid-day visited the hospital on Thursday night, ATS personnel in plainclothes were manning the ward. Noor gestured to this correspondent that he wanted to speak, but was stopped by three ATS men in plainclothes posted inside the ward. This correspondent then tried speaking to Noor’s wife Rahimunnisa, but the ATS men warned her not to speak to the media.
“I don’t know anything and can’t say anything on the matter,” she said. Other family members also have been warned not to speak to any visitor.
mid-day was the first to report the disappearance of four Malwani men and the ATS’s suspicion that they had left home with the aim of joining ISIS. Ayaz Sultan, 23, left home on October 30, saying he had to go to Pune in connection with job offer he had from Kuwait company. Mohsin Shaikh, 26, left home on December 16 saying he was going to attend a friend’s wedding in Surat.
Wajid Shaikh, 25, left home on December 16, saying he had to get his name corrected in his Aadhar card. Noor too left home on December 16, saying he is going for a cup of tea with a friend.
Wajid and Noor were traced by the ATS while Mohsin still remains absconding. ATS has confirmed that Sultan has left the country.
“It is clear case of negligence by the ATS,” said a senior police officer aware of the developments.
“Noor is an important witness and can even be made an accused in the case. The ATS should have been with him all the time. And since he was supposed to be arrested, the ATS officials should have taken extra care.
An inquiry in the matter should be initiated and action should be taken against those who let this happen.”