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Bhatkal arrest: A wife who keeps to herself, a factory no one approaches

On the wall outside the Delhi home of Yasin Bhatkal’s in-laws, a handwritten invitation to free Quran classes. Tashi Tobgyal

Across the city, people were switching on TV sets to check on the arrest of one of India’s most wanted. But in a narrow lane in Abul Fazl Enclave in south Delhi, there was deathly silence. This was where Yasin Bhatkal once stayed with his wife Zahida and his in-laws.

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Fifty-three-year-old Mehajani Khanum was in the middle of her prayers when this reporter showed up at the doors of D5/1 in Thoker No 8. Mehajani looked up, wondering what had brought a visitor so early in the morning. It was clear she had no idea that her son-in-law had been arrested.

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When she was told that he had been picked up, Mehajani rose, letting out a loud cry: “Shahrukh pakda gaya? Allah ka lakh lakh shukr hai humara dushman pakda gaya. Meri beti Zahida ki zindagi tabah kar di thi usne. Ab saara sach saamne ayega (Has Shahrukh been arrested? Thank God, our enemy has been arrested. He ruined my daughter Zahida’s life. Now the truth will emerge).”

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Two years ago, men of the Special Cell had come to the house with her husband Mohammed Irshad Khan who had been arrested for his alleged role in terror attacks across the country. The police left with a pressure cooker, Rs 30,000 cash and an M16A1 assault rifle box from Yasin’s room — the family knew him as Shahrukh, only to be told that his name was Yasin.

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The house remains the same but a room on the ground floor, where Zahida, now 23, lived with Yasin, has remained locked. No one goes in.

… contd.

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