Medical treatment

Accused Gorakhnath’s family and doctors say he was under medical treatment

Family members run from pillar to post trying to convince the authorities that 29-year-old Ahmad Murtaza Abbasi suffers from serious mental illness. May the deeply troubled young man be in the hospital and not in prison.

They carry files of medical reports and advice from psychiatrists as proof of Murtaza’s disturbed state of mind, but no one seems to have time to ask the doctors who have been treating Murtaza and his hallucinations for some time.

Earlier this month, IIT graduate Murtaza attacked Gorakhnath temple security guards with a sickle in the eastern Uttar Pradesh town of Gorakhpur. Both guards were injured in the shuffle but Murtaza was quickly overpowered.

In one video, the accused is seen chasing security guards with a sickle. Murtaza was immediately arrested. Police have labeled the incident an act of terror and a special team and the counter-terrorism squad are continuing to investigate the matter.

Speaking to The Citizen, Dr Khalid Abbasi, an uncle of the defendant said his nephew had a history of schizophrenia and had been on medication for several years. The doctor showed medical bills and reports from doctors who have been treating Murtaza Abbasi since 2018.

For the same reason, the chemical engineer was never able to enjoy a stable career despite his IIT degree. His marriage also didn’t last long as he always struggled to tell the difference between real and unreal experience.

Murtaza is unable to think logically and his emotional responses to others are not typical. Socially too, Murtaza’s behavior is often odd and he is prone to living in a world we cannot see.

He is imprisoned in Gorakhpur prison, which according to the media, Murtaza calls jannat, or paradise. Prison authorities report that he spends most of his time sleeping and never shows any signs of fear or regret over the attack on the security guards.

He is in solitary confinement (considered a form of torture by the UN Mandela Rules if prolonged) and is closely watched by seven people.

According to a psychiatrist, patients like Murtaza see, hear and feel what others don’t. They imagine what seems unreal and have their own idea of ​​what is happening. Often what they say seems absurd and they may show other unusual behaviors like a lack of emotional display and social withdrawal.

Prison authorities report that Murtaza was offered a cup of tea. He took a sip or two and said he had heard that the tea served in the jannat was the best, but what he was given to drink was tasteless. He also complained about the roti he was served and asked for bread, which he simply ate with a plate of vegetables.

Murtaza also asked prison authorities for a special brand of toothpaste.

Despite his strange mannerisms and unusual state of mind, authorities consider Murtaza Abbasi a dangerous terrorist. UP police and ATS members say they uncovered information about his alleged ‘radicalization’, including allegations of a trip to Saudi Arabia, social media contact with extremists and several attempts by him to go to Syria.

Investigators also claim a desire on Murtaza’s part to join the Islamic State organization and achieve shahadat or martyrdom. The real reason for his attack with a sickle on the guards of the temple of Gorakhnath, led by the chief minister Yogi Adityanath, is not clear.

Senior police officials have told media that Murtaza is very radicalized and enjoys browsing ISIS-affiliated literature online.

They claim his laptop is undergoing a ‘forensic examination’ and add that he traveled to Saudi Arabia in 2016 and made several attempts to travel to Syria between 2017 and 2018 to join the Islamic State, but that plan did not materialize.

So far, the media and the state are portraying Murtaza Abbasi as a “lone attacker”, and say investigations are underway to find out if the Gorakhpur incident is part of a wider terrorist network.

Also Read: Behind the ‘Attack’ on Police in Gorakhpur by Dr Ashoka Jahnavi Prasad