Human Rights

Malegaon 2006 Muslim youth innocent: NIA

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The National Investigating Agency (NIA) while admitting mistakes in the Malegaon blast probe has declared that nine Muslim youth who were arrested and jailed for the Malegaon blast in 2006 by Maharashtra ATS are innocent that is why it will not oppose their bail plea.

The NIA during its course of investigation in the Malegaon probe has declared that the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Maharashtra police and the CBI allegedly acted in haste in filing chargesheets against these Muslim youth. There are also reports that the CBI contrary to its earlier stand has submitted an internal report to the NIA where it has mentioned that from now onwards probe should only be confined to the right wing Hindutva group activists arrested last year in connection with the 2006 Malegaon blast. The investigation into the Malegaon case took a turn only when Swami Aseemanand was arrested in Mecca Masjid and other blast cases, and confessed before a magistrate that the youth implicated in 2006 blast case were innocent.

The CBI in this course of its investigation had hinted that ATS officers in order to solve the case quickly, in a hurry named two accused without knowing that one of them was in jail and the other was miles and miles away from Malegaon. ATS officials relied on the theories of some senior police officials while ignoring eyewitness accounts in an attempt to close the case at the earliest. But surprisingly in 2009 the CBI had followed the Maharashtra ATS line and chargesheeted the nine Muslim men. The CBI later retracted only after Aseemanand’s confession

Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association in its statement released to the media has said, “The NIA has finally acknowledged what many social activists, near and dear ones of the accused, the people and, Muslim leaders had persistently claimed that Muslims youths arrested in the Malegaon blast are innocent and it was the result of a communal witch hunt which passes for investigations into terror charges. But the big question: will there be any action against police officers who are alleged to have framed nine Muslim youth. Can any amount of rehabilitation package or solace wipe out the terror taint. NCM Chairman Wajahat Habibullah in his recent lecture on “Indian democracy and minorities” organised by the Sir Syed Academy in AMU had urged the Muslim community to use Right to Information Act wherever they feel that justice has not been done or Muslims have been wrongly targeted or implicated.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during National Integration Council meet on 10 September in New Delhi has said, “We need to recognize that members of the minority communities often have a perception of being unfairly targeted by law enforcement agencies...While law must take its own course, we need to ensure our investigating agencies are free from biases and prejudices of any kind.” Will these kind words be sufficient to mould our police officals or investigating agencies which suffer from inbuilt bias? Government of India owes an explanation to these nine innocent Muslim youth. Can they be assured that they would not be harassed in the future for one or the other reasons?   

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

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