M A I N   N E W S

Delhi Blasts
Manhunt in Azamgarh
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Azamgarh, September 23
Teams of Delhi Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) today raided the house of four youth in Sanjarpur who, they claimed, were the absconding associates of Atif and Ajid who were gunned down during an encounter in Batla House last week.

Residents of Sanjarpur village, approximately 30 km from the district headquarters, are a traumatised lot. Two youth have been gunned down, another Saif is in police custody and four others, Sajid, Arif, Salman and Khalid are being shown as absconding. Of these, two were studying in Lucknow.

This is the first time the police raided this village since the Batla House encounter last Friday.

When this reporter visited the home of Arif, who was taking medical coaching in Lucknow, his mother, grandmother and sister sat terrified. They were the only women present in the house when a team of hundred of policemen descended on the village and entered their house at the break of dawn.

Books and magazines were scattered all over the house. A district- level cricket player, Arif’s trophies were displayed with pride in the sitting room. He was a friend and co-team player of Saif, arrested by the ATS in Batla House last week.

Since the Delhi encounter, Arif’s family and the family of the other boys from the region studying in Delhi, Lucknow and other cities, have switched off their phones in dread. “We have no news where Arif is. Last time he called was a few days before the encounter from Lucknow,” Shamsha, his sister, told this reporter Tariq Shafiq, a resident of the village, said young men in the city had for the past one week. “We keep vigil wondering when the police will come and pick somebody,” he said.

Dr Javed Ahmad, a reputed doctor from Azamgarh, was also picked up from Azamgarh city and later released on bail. The name of his son was also on the ATS list of absconders. Families in Azamgarh today dread who will be the next to get a midnight knock from the ATS and on which grounds.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that Atif had only Rs 1,408 in his account with a nationalised bank in Pavai Ladpur, Sarai Meer, Azamgarh. Earlier a report that appeared in a reputed Hindi daily claimed that Atif, who was killed in the Batla House encounter in New Delhi last week, had Rs 3 crore in his bank account. The news not only stunned his family and those who knew him but also brought a hoard of mediapersons to this sleepy town of Sarai Meer today.

Speaking to The Tribune, the regional head of the bank, Bharat Singh, said that Atif's account (No. 836688366) had only Rs 1,408. Saif, who is in police custody after he was picked up from Batla House during the encounter, has Rs 30,000 approximately in his account no. 88263 in the same branch.



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