Mentally unsound man spends 16 months in jail for 'bike thefts'

Mentally unsound man spends 16 months in jail for 'bike thefts'

A 37-year-old mentally challenged man spent 16 months in jail on the charge of stealing motorcycles. He fears the cops will come for him again.

Irshad Ahmed, a resident of Kushalnagar in KG Halli, was first picked up in December 2014 near KR Puram railway station. Police accused him of stealing motorcycles in RT Nagar, KG Halli, KR Puram and Baiyappanahalli, and interrogated him for two days though he had no criminal record. They dismissed his mother Haseenabi’s appeals that he was innocent. They produced him before a magistrate, showing that he was arrested the previous night. The judge remanded him in judicial custody.

Ahmed spent about 15 months in Central Prison, Parappana Agrahara, as his family could not arrange money for his bail. “His mother once approached the police with Rs 2,000 for his release, but they said the bail would cost at least Rs 8,000,” said R Kaleem Ullah, an activist with Movement for Justice, a human rights NGO. “Ahmed is a person with special needs. With his demeanour, anyone can make out that he is not normal. What’s more, he cannot ride motorcycles and travels either by bus or on foot. It’s highly unlikely that a person like him could be involved in bike thefts,” Kaleem Ullah said.

Ahmed was released on bail in March 2016 with the NGO’s help after it came to light that he had spent more than a year in a theft case. But police picked him up again — in December 2016 — after learning about his “criminal record”. He was arrested from Bengaluru Cantonment railway station and sent to Bangarpet prison. This time, police said he was part of an armed gang of robbers.

The NGO again helped him get bail on March 8, 2017. Now, he has to fend for himself. His grandmother died when he was released the first time. His mother died just a week after he was released from Bangarpet jail. He fears the cops will come calling again.

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