A sessions court in Surat, Gujarat, cleared a Kashmiri man of terrorism charges. Bashir Ahmed Baba was cleared of all charges, including under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, eleven years after he was arrested.
What Was He Accused Of?
Baba was arrested in 2010 from Gujarat on charges that he was visiting the state to recruit young men and send them to Pakistan for terrorist training, reported The Wire.
He had come to Ahmedabad from Srinagar for training with the Gujarat Cleft & Craniofacial Research Institute. He was arrested on March 10, 2010, from Anand when hen he had gone to meet an acquaintance.
According to Baba, between February 27 and March 13, the Anti-Terrorism Squad of the Gujarat Police kept him under detention and interrogated him until they pressed charges against him. Some media outlets branded him as the "Pepsi bomber" for his supposed skill to make explosives in soft drink cans.
Baba, however, maintained his innocence. "I spent 12 years in prison because I was accused falsely of a crime I didn't commit. But this too must be a test from Allah or maybe even better. Maybe I was meant to go through something even more terrible. Maybe I would have met an accident and spent the next 12 years in a comma. Who knows, maybe this was Allah's way to protect me," Baba told TRT World.
Life Before Arrest
Baba has a diploma in computer applications. Before his arrest, he devoted his time to building a computer training centre for the Kashmiri youth. He also worked for an NGO that provided medical help to poor and vulnerable children. In light of his performance at the NGO, he was sent to Gujarat for a sophisticated 'camp management training'.
Misuse Of UAPA
Baba's case, however, is not an isolated one. According to a report by Outlook, the UAPA has regularly exacted its highest toll in the Kashmir Valley. In one particular instance, a man who was wrongly accused of terrorism under UAPA was acquitted of all charges in 2012 after spending 14 long years in prison.