Terrorism

Did Hyderabad police protect Hindu Terrorists?

Fourth anniversary of Mecca Masjid blast
By Wahaj Hashmi
 
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Hyderabad: May 18, 2011 marks four years since the blast at Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid claimed 14 lives. However, there has been no breakthrough in the case with the investigation going on at a snail’s pace .It is an irony that even after four years no actual perpetrators were arrested while on the other hand scores of innocent Muslim youths were arrested within hours of the blast. In this connection Lateef Mohammad Khan, convenor of the Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee, said that the Hyderabad police protected Hindu radicals responsible for the bombing. He has been fighting the case of the Muslim youth who were falsely implicated in the blast.

The 2007 Mecca Masjid blasts at Hyderabad were a turning point for terrorism in India. Four years have gone by and while the Muslim community in Hyderabad blames their representatives for not doing enough, the investigations continue to move on at a snail’s pace.

It’s a well-known fact that Police had initially blamed Harkatul Jihad-e-Islami and other terror groups operating from Pakistan and Bangladesh and arrested scores of local youth for their alleged involvement. Subsequent probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) revealed the involvement of Hindu terror outfits. What sealed matters was a confessional statement by right-wing activist Swami Aseemanand, who went on to claim that it was Hindu radicals who carried out the blasts The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which recently took up the investigations, has filed a supplementary chargesheet against Swami Aseemanand for his alleged role in the conspiracy behind the blast.

Mecca Masjid blasts: Swami Aseemanand named in NIA’s 2nd chargesheet

Ahead of the fourth anniversary of the infamous Mecca Masjid blasts, the NIA filed a second chargesheet against prime accused Aseemanand for conspiring and financing the blasts.

The chargesheet was filed at a Hyderabad court as the city police geared up to prevent any outbreak of violence on May 18, the fourth anniversary of the blasts that killed fourteen persons and left over 70 wounded. The NIA in its supplementary chargesheet filed before a special court has accused the 59-year-old Nabakumar Sarkar, alias Swamy Aseemanand, of murder, attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy among other sections of the IPC, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and Explosive Substances Act.

Aseemanand is also an accused in the Samjhauta Express bomb blast case. He was arrested at Haridwar in Uttarkhand on November 19, 2010 where he was found hiding under the fictitious name of “Swami Omkaranand”.

The investigations in the case were initially conducted by the Hussaini Alam police station, Hyderabad. Subsequently, the case was entrusted to the CBI, which filed a chargesheet against accused Devender Gupta and Lokesh Sharma, who were arrested and are in judicial custody.

Later, the Centre transferred the case for further investigation by the NIA, which began in April 2011. Two other accused --Sandeep Dange and Ramji Kalsangara – are absconding and the NIA has declared a reward of Rs 10 lakh each for their arrest.

The NIA filed the second chargesheet since the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act demands that a chargesheet be filed within 180 days. The NIA has accused Aseemanand of providing the slain RSS functionary Sunil Joshi with Rs 65,000 for carrying out the blast at the Hyderabad mosque. There, a cell phone-controlled pipe bomb went off at the historic Mecca Masjid during Friday prayers on May 18, 2007, killing nine people while five protesters died in police firing after the blast. A one-man commission of Justice (retired) V Bhaskar Rao was set up to probe why the police opened fire on a crowd that had gathered at Shah Ali Banda to protest against the bomb explosion in Mecca Masjid. The commission had submitted its report to the AP Government in October last year. Demands were made for making Bhaskar Rao Commission report public. Two organisations The United Muslim Forum and Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee (CLMC) demanded that the Bhaskar Rao Commission report on police firing after the Mecca Masjid blast in 2007, in which five people were killed, be made public by the Andhra Pradesh government. The Bhaskar Rao panel has already submitted its report to the state government, which is yet to place it in the Assembly and make it public. The United Muslim Forum demands that the government immediately present the report before the Assembly, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board Assistant General Secretary Mohammed Abdul Rahim Quraishi told reporters here.

He also demanded that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) should investigate the case seriously as it claimed the suspects were still at large. He added that a delegation would meet the Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy to urge the government to take necessary action in this direction.

Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee (CLMC) General Secretary Muhammad Lateef Khan also said that the commission report be made public soon and urged the government to make arrangements for paying homage to the victims of the bomb blast in Mecca Masjid.

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

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