LUCKNOW: The doors of Abu Kaif’s house in Sanjarpur have not opened since Thursday. Abu Kaif is the younger brother of gangster Abu Salem who was convicted in the 1993 Mumabi blast case by a TADA court in Mumbai on Friday.
He and his family live in the ancestral house in Saraimeer town in Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh, not welcoming any attention. Anticipating the TADA court order. the family confined itself to the house, snapping all communication even with their immediate neighbours. As soon as news of the verdict came in, media crews started thronging the place but the family were in no mood for interviews.
However, Saraimeer in general welcomed the TADA court’s verdict. They feel strongly about Azamgarh hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons. This is the birthplace of Abu Salem. And Sanjarpur is where Indian Mujahideen terrorists Atif Amin and Mohammad Sajid, slain in the 2008 Batla House encounter in Delhi, came from.
“Azamgarh is not only known for being the native place of the likes of Salem. This place has also produced the likes of Kaifi Azmi and Shabana Azmi,” says Santosh Kumar, an advocate.
He added that Friday’s verdict should be cautionary signal to the youth of Azamgarh about what the ‘glamour’ of Mumbai’s underworld can lead to. Sanjarpur resident Mirza Ali Beg said the verdict would certainly be a lesson to the youth of the district but the entire community should not be seen with suspicion.
The people of Sanjarpur last saw Salem when he was taken there by the Mumbai police in February 2011 to attend the last rites of his aunt Shakira Ali. He was kept in a local jail overnight and was flown back to Mumbai the next morning. Before that, Salem was brought to his native place in 2007 when his mother died.
Abu Salem's father Abdul Kayyum was an advocate in Azamgarh. He died in a road accident when Salem was just a kid. That left the family in penury and Salem had to work at a motorcycle repair workshop to make ends meet. He got a driver's job and went to Delhi and entered the world of petty crime. He came in contact with Anis Ibrahim, younger brother of Dawood Ibrahim, which drew him inexorably to Mumbai.