Areeb Majeed, a 27-year-old man from Kalyan had been recruited by the international terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS) in 2014. On May 24, 2014, Majeed and three others had left for Iraq to take part in the IS’ ‘pious jihad’. Over the next six months, the men fought in Syria and Iraq as IS terrorists. Subsequently, Areeb Majeed flew back to India alone and was nabbed on arrival by Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS). He was then handed over to the NIA and has been in jail for the past six years. Areeb Majeed was granted bail by a Special Court on March 17, 2020. The order was subsequently stayed after the NIA approached the Bombay High Court in appeal.
The Bombay High Court, in recent news, upheld the bail granted to the terrorist on Wednesday, on the grounds that the NIA seemingly failed to make much progress in the case, and that Majeed was an educated man from an even more educated family of doctors and engineers. Since the man ably represented himself before the court, felt sorry for his serious mistake of becoming a terrorist and was a civil engineer at heart, the honourable court decided to uphold his bail.
Areeb Majeed from Kalyaan, the only Indian to return after allegedly fighting the Islamic State (IS) War in Syria, walked out of Arthur Road prison on bail, today.
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) March 5, 2021
“We have observed that the respondent is an educated person, who was completing his graduation in Civil Engineering when he left for Iraq at the age of 21 years. He categorically stated before us that as a 21-years-old, he was carried away and that he had committed a serious mistake, for which he had already spent more than six years behind bars,” the bench, comprising of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale said, according to LiveLaw.
The slow pace of trial and Majeed’s ‘incarceration of six years’ seems to have formed the fundamental premise of the Bombay HC upholding the IS recruit’s bail. “In the past more than six years of his incarceration, the respondent has argued his case on his own before the NIA Court. He represented his own case before this Court as well as the NIA Court and we could find that he was presenting his case by maintaining decorum and in a proper manner,” the bench observed.
Effectively, a known terrorist will now be roaming the streets of Mumbai as a partly free man. Although the conditions of his bail are quite stringent, Majeed will no longer be behind bars, which too is a rather merciful venue for terrorists, to put it bluntly. The IS recruit has been charged under sections 125 of the IPC (waging a war against any Asiatic power in alliance with the government of India) and sections 16 (punishment for the terrorist act) and 18 (punishment for conspiracy) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and will face life imprisonment if found guilty.