Is Ahmed Murtaza Abbasi, the IIT graduate sentenced to death for Gorakhnath temple attack, mentally ill?

Mohammad Bilal
Mohammad BilalJan 31, 2023 | 18:41

Is Ahmed Murtaza Abbasi, the IIT graduate sentenced to death for Gorakhnath temple attack, mentally ill?

Ahmed Murtaza Abbasi, an IIT graduate who was sentenced to death by NIA court for attacking two policemen outside Gorakhnath temple on April 3, 2022. Photo: PTI

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.

Ahmed Murtaza Abbasi. Photo: Facebook

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.

  • Muneer, who spoke to Times of India, said that his son was taken to a psychiatrist in 2017 who recommended him to Dr Nilesh Shah. The doctor examined him and diagnozsed him with schizophrenia.
  • "Since then, we never left him alone. We took him to Coimbatore, where my father-in-law lives, and then to Hyderabad thinking it was a result of some evil spirit," Muneer said.
  • Abbasi, who is an IIT-Mumbai graduate in Chemical Engineering, comes from a good family. His father, who lived a large part of his life in Mumbai, was a legal advisor to financial companies while his uncle is a renowned doctor in Gorakhpur.
  • Munir said that his son was tortured in school and the locality he was living in, but since he was good at studies, he made it to the IIT.
    Ahmed Murtaza Abbasi. Photo: Facebook


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.

  • Bu his father said that his son had never been to any foreign country except once when the family had taken him for a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

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.

  • It also came to light that Abbasi's mental issues came in the way of his married life and he had to part ways with his wife in 2019. The woman belonged to UP's Jaunpur and the two got married in 2019.
  • However, the woman's family said that the couple broke up because of constant fight between her daughter and her mother-in-law.
  • Talking on behalf of the Abbasi's family, his lawyer Riza ul Rehman said that "the family has a history of mental illness. Ahmed Murtaza Abbasi was under treatment. We had also presented all medical papers before the investigating agencies. But they did not take note of it," Hindustan Times quoted Abbasi's lawyer as saying.
  • He further said that the family has decided to challenge ATS court's order in the High Court. Also, Abbasi's younger brother, Khalid Abbasi, refused to comment on the order.

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.

  • Even the police officers who had arrested Abbasi had said that he looked perfectly fine and was speaking well and did not exhibit any sign of mental illness.

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.

Last updated: January 31, 2023 | 18:41
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