If you have been on the internet since yesterday, you may have seen the trailer of Omerta- a Hindi film on the life of terrorist mastermind Omar Saeed Sheikh. The trailer of the film looks gritty and intriguing, with Rajkummar Rao looking mighty intense, as he almost always does.
However, according to Rajkummar, this has been one of the most difficult roles to portray in his career. To go into the mind of a monster who has killed and butchered countless innocents was a very bleak and lonely path for the actor.
But who is Omar Saeed Sheikh? What’s his story? Let’s find out more about the man whose life you are soon going to witness on the big screen.
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, better known as Omar Saeed Sheikh, is a British terrorist of Pakistani origin. His initial schooling happened in the UK, in Walthamstow, North East London. For a couple of years, he studied in Pakistan, before returning to the UK. During his education, he was suspended on multiple occasions on accounts of violent behaviour. He is a graduate from London School of Economics (LSE).
His first major crime was kidnapping of three British nationals, and one American national, in India, in 1994. He was subsequently arrested, and was serving term in a prison in Ghaziabad. He had to be released in 1999, when terrorists hijacked Indian Airlines Flight 814. They demanded the release of Omar, alongwith two other terrorists, Masood Azhar and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, who were known leaders of Harkat-ul-Mujahiddeen.
After escaping to Afghanistan, he next surfaced when 2002 killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who at the time was in Pakistan investigating connections between the ISI and Islamic militant groups. In Pakistan, Saeed was sentenced to death for killing Pearl, however his reasons behind it are still unknown. He has possible links to 9/11 as well, but his complicity is not proven till now.
His list of crimes doesn’t end here, however. k Dawn newspaper broke the news of Omar using a fake British sim card, and making these hoax calls from a prison. Apparently, Omar was also going to make calls to Mukherjee, and US Secretary of State, Condolezza Rice, posing as Zardari, but the calls did not go through. He was put in solitary confinement post this incident.
Clearly, a lot of things have happened behind-the-scenes in his life. Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, in his book In the Line of Fire, stated that Saeed was originally recruited by British intelligence agency, MI6, while studying at the London School of Economics. He alleges Saeed was sent to the Balkans by MI6 to engage in jihadi operations. Musharraf later says, “At some point, he probably became a rogue or double agent”.
Let’s hope the film is able to shed some light on this rather mysterious man.
Omerta releases on 20th April 2018.