Blasts accused, your candidate from Zakir Nagar

Zia-ur-Rehman files papers from Ahmedabad Jail

An accused in the 2008 serial blasts in Delhi has filed his nomination from Zakir Nagar constituency for next month's municipal elections. Zia-ur-Rehman, resident of Jamia Nagar in Okhla, is lodged in Central Jail Ahmedabad.

He submitted his papers through jail authorities to fight as an independent for the South Delhi Muncipal Corporation.

Zia has the dubious distinction of having 40 cases pending against him, besides being accused in the Delhi serial bomb blasts on  September 13, 2008 which killed around 20 people.  

A week after the blasts, Delhi police carried out the infamous Batla House encounter in which two alleged terrorist responsible for the attack were killed.

An inspector, Mohan Chand Sharma, too lost his life. Soon after the encounter, Zia, a third-year BA student at Jamia Millia Islamia University was arrested for being an Indian Mujahideen operative and playing a role in the terror attack.

In the affidavit submitted to the Delhi Election Commission, Zia said he had no cash in hand, and no bank balance, jewellery, house or even agricultural land anywhere in the country.

However, going by the kind of emotions that he has evoked in the primarily Muslim neighbourhood in south east Delhi, money to fight the polls should not be an issue for Zia.

His contesting the election, and possibly winning it, is already being seen as a referendum on whether he is guilty or not.

“Just because Delhi Police pick up someone from his house and accuse him of planting bombs or helping  terrorists, he does not become one. The people here have long been victimised by the police and contesting and winning election will be the best way for Zia to prove his innocence,” said Imran, a student of Jamia Millia Islamia University who  lives in Zakir Nagar.

Zia's name, first floated for the polls  by local leader Amanatullah Khan is already giving sleepless night to the Congress sitting councillor Shoaib Danish.

While Danish was not available for comment, the general perception is that it will be hard for him to save his seat this time around.

“Zia and others who were arrested in the Batla House encounter case were not terrorists. They were students. People will vote for Zia, and rest of the candidates will struggle to save their deposits,”  said a businessman from Okhla.

According to information, Zia has the support of not only local MLA Asif Mohammad Khan but also of Ulema Council and Peace Party which managed four assembly seats in the recent Uttar Pradesh elections.

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