On August 20, Maulana Gulzar Azmi, a well-known representative of the Jamiat Ulema-I-Hind headed by Maulana Arshad Madani and widely recognized for his legal representation of people charged with terrorism, passed suddenly in Mumbai. Azmi, who was over 90 years old, was being treated in the hospital for a brain injury he got in a recent slip and fall incident, according to Jamiat Ulema members.
Born in the vicinity of Pathanwadi near Bhendi Bazaar, Azmi became associated with the Jamiat in 1954. He held the position of secretary within the organization and took on various other roles throughout his lifetime. Arif Umri, the son of the late Maulana Mustaqeem Azmi, who was the president of Jamiat in Maharashtra, stated, “He was one of the senior members here. There was no one else senior to him.” Umri added, “My father and Azmi Sahab were the senior members. There is none of their time.”
Azmi gained prominence for leading the legal cell of Jamiat, which took on the legal representation of individuals accused of terrorism. Over the past 15 years, Jamiat has undertaken the legal defense of many such accused individuals. In a display of gratitude, some of these individuals even attended Azmi’s funeral, which took place at Bada Qabrastan.
Mufti Abdul Qayyum, who was among those present at Azmi’s funeral, shared his personal experience: “I was falsely accused of harbouring terrorists in the Akshardham terror attack. The police had accused me of providing shelter and guidance for the attack. They even alleged that I led prayers for the success of the terror attack. I was initially sentenced to death in a lower court, a verdict upheld by the high court. It was only in the Supreme Court that I was eventually acquitted. I have now filed a case for compensation. There are many individuals like me for whom Azmi Sahab fought legal battles.”