Khan’s memoir, Framed As A Terrorist, reflects stories of Muslims caught in the web of farcical terrorist investigations
21 June 2016
There he was. Prime focus of the stage lights. Addressing a largely decent crowd, achingly answering to the questions posed by Sidharth Bhatia, Founding Editor, The Wire, as we all sat in another hollow wooden room of National Centre for the Performing Arts at Mumbai. His bated breath while recollecting the horror evidently choked something inside him and silently within us too.
I was listening to the same story for the second time in over a year. While the narrator was constant, the setting had considerably improved. “My education has been so much different from you,” Khan had said while we were travelling in a local bus from Delhi to Muzaffarnagar, in the wee hours of cold February 2014. He’d also said about how he wanted more young journalists to cover situations like Muzaffarnagar Riots and how exuberant he was to accompany me on my way to interviewing victims of the riots.
While I observed that a lot of things had transformed in him since then, his smile had the similar tinge of fright and melancholy. Mohammad Aamir Khan was here to speak about his autobiographical account, Framed as a Terrorist: My 14-Year Struggle to Prove My Innocence, co-written with Nandita Haksar, released in February 2016 by Speaking Tiger. The book vividly talks about him being kidnapped by the police, accused of being a terrorist, planting bombs and being in league with dreaded Pakistan-based militants. He was tortured and framed in about nineteen bomb blast cases at the age of 21 in 1998.