Hypocrisy of Maharashtra govt: Opposes NIA’s clean chit to Muslims, accepts it for Hindu radicals

June 21, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Mumbai, June 20, 2016: In an apparent display of dubious action, the state of Maharashtra state has decided to challenge the discharge of nine Muslim youths in Malegaon 2006 blasts case, even as it has decided to not even appear before court in Malegaon 2008 blasts in which Hindu radicals are accused.

Two serial bomb blasts had taken place in Muslim-populated areas at Maharashtra’s textile town Malegaon in 2006 and 2008.

On September 8, 2006 Malegaon was rocked with three serial bomb explosions near a Muslim cemetery at around 01.15 pm soon after Friday prayers leaving 37 dead and 125 injured.

Two years later, on September 29, 2008 bomb blast had taken place at Bhiku square opposite Shakil Goods Transport Company in Malegaon. The blast was caused by LML Freedom motorcycle with explosives concealed inside. 4 people had dead and 79 injured due to the blast.

Initially both the cases were investigated by Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and in 2006 case it accused nine Musim youth of orchestrating these blasts. The team of Hemant Karkare, former chief of ATS,arrested 10 Hindu radicals including Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and Col Purohit in relation to 2008 blasts.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs transferred both these cases from ATS to NIA in April 2011 to unearth the larger conspiracy as the role of Hindu radicals was established in both the cases after Swami Aseemanand confessed in 2010.

Subsequently, NIA provided clean chit to Muslim youths in 2006 case and did not object to their discharge from the case. On April 25, a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court discharged nine arrested by the ATS in connection with the Malegaon blasts, observing that “they became scapegoats at the hands of the ATS.”

On May 13 this year,NIA provided clean chit to Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and five others in 2008 case. It also lifted MCOCA from the case. On the basis of NIA chargesheet Thakur has applied for bail before NIA court which is not opposed by NIA.

Government action reeks of bias against Muslims

Even if NIA has given clean chits to some accused in both the cases, it has maintained that both blasts were the handiwork of Hindu radicals. However, the BJP-led Maharashtra government is now siding with ATS in the 2006 case, maintaining that Muslims had orchestrated blasts. The state has backed ATS and decided to challenge the discharge of nine Muslim youths. Public prosecutor Sandip Shinde on Friday informed Bombay High Court that the government had filed an appeal challenging the discharge of the accused.

Shinde was responding to a public interest litigation filed by journalist and AAP leader Ashish Khetan alleging that Muslims were being framed by the Maharashtra ATS in cases of terrorist attacks. Khetan sought the intervention of the high court in the July 11, 2006 local train bombings, the 2006 Malegaon blasts case and the 2010 German Bakery bomb blast case. He alleged the ATS had created bogus evidence and extracted false confessions through torture.

ATS had strongly objected discharge applications of Muslim accused in 2006 case but in 2008 case it does not even appear for hearing. In 2008 case, ATS has neither objected to NIA charge sheet nor is objecting to bail of accused.

Importantly, the NIA is not objecting to Thakur’s bail application. As ATS is not appearing in court, a victim of the blast, Nisar Ahmed, is opposing this bail as an intervenor.

Ideally, to save its face, ATS should have abided by its charge sheets submitted in both the cases but surprisingly it is a mute spectator in 2008 case where Hindu radicals were arrested by it but strongly opposing discharge of Muslims in 2006 case.

– tcn

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