On Monday, January 30, a special NIA-ATS court in Lucknow awarded death penalty to a 35-year-old IIT graduate, Ahmed Murtaza Abbasi, for attacking 2 Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) men outside the Gorakhnath temple in Gorakhpur, UP, on April 3, 2022. Abbasi was arrested on charges of Unlawful Activities and Prevention Act (UAPA) for waging war against the country and for a murderous attack.
The NIA court had been hearing the case for the past 60 days and Special Judge Vivekanand Sharan Tripathi, along with sentencing him to death, also slapped him with a fine of Rs 44,000.
But an argument that is constantly coming forth in the case is that the accused Abbasi, who is an IIT graduate, was not in a sound state of mind when he committed the crime and that he has been facing mental issues since 2017.
This was revealed by his father Mohammad Munir Abbasi, who had said then that the government should adopt a sympathetic stand towards his son. "What my son has done is not right. However, the government should take a sympathetic attitude with him, because he is not mentally sound," he said.
However, the court, while establishing that Abbasi was indeed mentally fine and that he had certain motives behind his crime, sentenced him to death.
What Ahmed Murtaza Abbasi's father said: Muneer Abbasi said that even his family came to know about his son's mental health in 2017 when he was working at an oil refinery in Jamnagar, Gujarat, in 2017. The family came to know that he would not come out of his room for days and would remain without eating and interacting with others.
Did Abbasi ever go abroad? The ATS claimed that data extracted from Murtaza's laptop, mobile, other electronic devices showed that he was highly radicalized and believed in the ideology of ISIS. The ATS team also claimed to have recovered transactions conducted by Murtaza where he had used paypal mode for financing ISIS fighters and was preparing to leave for Syria.
Did Abbas show suicidal tendencies? Muneer said that he had once foiled his son's attempt of suicide. He said that soon after he gifted his son a bicycle, his son told him that he felt like ramming it into a car. Muneer mentioned the Gorakhpur incident saying, "It seems like he went there to give away his life," India Today reported.
Court rejects mental illness claim: Special Judge Vivekanand Sharan Tripathi, however, rejected the mental illness argument of the defence team and convicted Abbasi under terror charges awarding him death penalty.
What Abbasi had said after his arrest: After he was overpowered by the police outside the Gorakhnath temple, Abbasi had cited discrminiation against Muslims on the basis of CAA-NRC and hijab controversy in Karnataka that left him mentally disturbed. "Wrong things being done with Muslims, CAA-NRC is wrong, hijab controversy is wrong. Someone or the other has to do something. There was a lot of mental depression and I couldn't even sleep," Abbasi had said at the time of his arrest.