Terrorism

Enough evidence to nail the saffron brigade in 2006 Malegaon blast

Mumbai: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is re-investigating the 2006 Malegaon blast case after Aseemanand’s confessions, has found enough evidence to establish the role of saffron brigade into the incident, a media report said. “Though the Hindu fundamentalist has retracted his confession, CBI investigations have found enough - forensic evidence, witnesses, and circumstances - to establish the role of the saffron brigade in the attack”, said Mumbai-based English daily Mumbai Mirror, published by the Times of India group, on 16 April.

Swami Aseemanand who was arrested in Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid blast case had told the court in January that his slain associate from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Sunil Joshi, was behind the 2006 Malegaon blast. “Investigations have now found that the blasts were conducted by the same set of people which executed attacks in Purna, Jalna and Nanded districts of Maharashtra”, Mumbai Mirror said. “Joshi’s associates have been found to be involved in all these blasts including the one at Malegaon”, Mumbai Mirror quoted an unnamed CBI official.

“The planning, bomb-making and execution are similar. We have also found witnesses who have corroborated that this group had visited Malegaon before the blast for a reconnaissance”, the paper quoted the official.

“We have also identified the places they stayed in. As of now there are strong indications that Aseemanand’s confession is true. Our investigations, however, are on to gather more evidence to this effect”, the paper added.

A series of blasts had struck Malegaon on September 08 in 2006 ahead of Shab-e-Barat, a Muslim festival when thousands of people were busy offering Friday prayers at the Hamidia Masjid. Another blast occurred at nearby Mushawerat chowk few minutes later. 32 people had been killed and more than 300 were injured in the blasts, most of them being children.

As was the customary for the investigating agencies those days, the blast was immediately blamed on Muslim youths and the police force swung into action arresting the Muslim youths one by one who are still in jail. Ironically one of the accused who is in jail and has been chargesheeted as one of the planters, was some 600 kms away from Malegaon when the blast occurred on September 8, 2006. Moreover, Abrar Ahmed, one of the accused, who later became approver but turned hostile, said in a detailed affidavit filed in the court that the arrested Muslim youth are innocent and were framed in the blast case. Hence local residents demanded CBI enquiry. After much of an outcry the state government handed over the investigation to the CBI. But it was done only after the ATS had filed its chargesheet accusing the Muslim youths of masterminding the terror attack.

The case took a dramatic turn when Swami Aseemanand, one of the accused arrested in Mecca Masjid and other blast cases, admitted in his confession made before a magistrate that the Muslim youths arrested in 2006 blast case were not guilty.

Meanwhile, Dr Farogh Makhdoomi, one of the accused in the case, is observing hunger strike inside the jail since 5 April.  Pleading innocence, he is demanding speedy trial of the case.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 May 2011 on page no. 11

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