Bhaderwah : Akin to three persons from Srinagar, Abdul Gani Goni of Bhaderwah also walked home after spending 23 years in prison following which he was acquitted by the Rajasthan High Court in 1996 Samleti Blast case. Goni was earlier acquitted by Delhi and Gujarat courts in different cases as well.
Following the fresh acquittal by Rajasthan High Court, Goni reached his home town with jubilation where rousing reception was given to him by locals and his relatives. As soon as Goni reached home, he walked to the graveyard were his parents are laid to rest. Goni was in prison when his parents passed away.
Accordion to KNO Correspondent, emotional scenes were also witnessed at the graveyard as Goni shouted loudly after seeing the graves of his parents. He was arrested from Gujrat from a tea stall and booked on charges on being part of the Samleti blast. “It took more than three decades to prove his innocence in the court.
They arrested me on charges of blasts. I kept on pleading that I had never been involved in any such activity ever in my life and was teacher at Islamia Middle School Bhaderwah in Jammu and Kashmir but they never listened to me,” said Goni who only 25 when he was arrested. Goni is one of the four Kashmiris who were recently acquitted by the court.
The family of Goni had lost all the hopes of his return. “I didn’t even inform my brothers and sisters that I could be released soon. I was not sure of the final outcome in the court. Anything could have happened. So, I didn’t want to build their expectations. They had already faced hardships,” said Goni.
For him, these years changed everything. “I can’t even remember the exact address of my home in Bhaderwah now,” he told KNO. Although Goni is happy for his release but has many questions for the government and the security agencies. “I want those people to be brought before the law not for myself only but for all others who are suffering in jails like I did,” added Goni.
Goni can’t even believe that he was set free. His relatives and local people of Bhaderwah visited his house with bouquets to welcome him. Recounting his time in jail, he told KNO that he would exercise and pray regularly. “I didn’t lose hope because I knew I am innocent, but I couldn’t imagine that I would have to spend 23 long years in jail for a crime I never did,” Goni said.
“I have no grudges and wouldn’t blame anyone. Not seeing my parents at home pains me a lot,” Goni said, adding that “the time had stopped for us when we were in jail but the world outside has moved beyond us in these years.”
“I think it will take a long time to get used to this new life. This freedom has come at a huge cost. I lost my almost life to this injustice. I am completely broken. My parents meant the world to me but they are they are gone now. Who will take responsibility for this?” asked Goni.
Meanwhile a rousing reception was also given to Goni by Anjuman Islamia Bhaderwah led by its president Khairat Hussain Frash in the premises of historical Jamia Masjid Bhaderwah where hundreds of people greet him and shouted slogans in his favor.