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Call him Yasin, spare Bhatkal, say villagers

Last Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013 - 09:04

Mumbai: The ancient trading town of Bhatkal in Karnataka heaved a sigh of relief on Thursday after one of its estranged residents -- Yasin, also known as Mohammad Ahmed Sidibapa – was arrested.

The people of Bhatkal have one request to the media: not to suffix ‘Bhatkal’ with the name of Yasin.

“This has created a serious social problem in the town.

Bhatkal is a town that loves peace and progress. But ever since the media broke the story on the three brothers and started calling them Bhatkal brothers -- Yasin, Iqbal and Riyaz -- our town’s image fell. We are also finding it difficult to find grooms and brides for the youngsters,” said Rathnakar, a merchant in old Bhatkal town.

The town, known for its jewellery, biryani and special Bhatkali ice creams, showed no signs of grief at his arrest.

Yasin’s father Zarar Sidibapa, too, said, “I am glad he has been arrested... Put him behind bars for life if he had committed crimes against the state and its people. I have no passion for my son who has lost touch with this town or with his family for a long time. Me and my wife Rehana don’t consider him bigger than our country and the people.”

Of the three brothers, while Iqbal and Riyaz got themselves associated with some Pakistan-based terror organisations, Yasin founded the Indian Mujahideen and the promoted Deccan Mujahideen to operate from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

“Yasin also forged ties with Islamist underworld groups operating from the Gulf and Pakistan.

“We have disowned Riyaz, Yasin and Iqbal ever since they have been alleged to be carrying out terrorist activities,” Yasin’s uncle Yaqub Sidibapa said.

A family member said Iqbal and Riyaz were Yasin’s cousins and not direct brothers.

DNA/ M Raghuram

First Published: Friday, August 30, 2013 - 09:04
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