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'NIA has become the BJP's parrot'

April 17, 2018 08:36 IST

We were expecting death sentences, but now the court has acquitted them, despite Aseemanand himself admitting to his crime in front of a judge.'

IMAGE: A special NIA court in Hyderabad acquitted Aseemanand and four others in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast, April 16, 2018. Photograph: PTI Photo

On April 16, 2018, a special National Investigation Agency court in Hyderabad acquitted five men, including Aseemanand, in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case.

Amjedullah Khan, spokesperson for the Majlis Bachao Tehreek, has been tracking the Mecca Masjid blast case from day one and was involved in securing the release of more than 100 Muslims youth who were falsely accused in different terror cases in the aftermath of the blast.

"If the investigative agencies are not producing anything against the culprits, what will the judge do?" Khan asks's Syed Firdaus Ashraf.

This judgment confirms that there is nothing like 'Hindu terror', right?

Hindu terror exists ever since Mahatma Gandhi was killed.

Hemant Karkare, the late Mumbai anti-terrorism squad chief who was killed in the 26/11 attacks, was the man who coined the phrase.

If he was alive, the outcome of this case would have been different.

Earlier, Maharashtra's public prosecutor Rohini Salian said she was under pressure from the NIA (to go soft in the Malegaon blast case).

The fact is the court has acquitted these five men, declared that they are not guilty.

The judge gives a judgment based on scientific evidence.

If the investigative agencies are not producing anything against the culprits, what will the judge do?

The judge will be helpless.

Previously, the BJP used to say the CBI is for the Congress, but I say the NIA has become a parrot of the BJP.


You have been involved with the fight for justice, can you throw some light on what happened after the Mecca Masjid blast on May 18, 2007?

More than 100 Muslim youth were arrested as soon as the Mecca blast happened and were detained.

During initial investigations, the needle of suspicion was on them.

Within 45 minutes of the blast, IPS officers appeared on television channels, saying Muslim organisations were involved in the blast; they also said it had Bangladeshi connections.

And after that police statement, the needle of suspicion was on Muslim youth.

They arrested 100 Muslim youth and many others were illegally detained from all over Hyderabad.

This happened under the rule of the Congress party and (then) chief minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy.

All these Muslim youth were arrested in different cases of terror. The prosecuting agencies said they were planning a conspiracy (against the Indian State).

Were any Muslim youth arrested in the Mecca Masjid blast case?

Nobody was arrested.

The police officers gave statements naming Shahid Bilal as the main accused and some organisation called Harkat ul Jihadi from Bangladesh as being responsible.

This Shahid Bilal, who was from Hyderabad, was named as being responsible for the blast and that too within 45 minutes of the blast.

That time I asked: How could these police officers solve the blast case within 45 minutes?

If so, why did they not come to know about the blast 45 minutes prior to it?

Shahid Bilal was killed in an encounter in 2008.

Nobody knows whether Shahid Bilal is alive or dead.

His brother too was said to be involved in the blast. I do not know whether he is alive or not.

I read a report in a Telugu newspaper that he was killed in an encounter in Pakistan.

Even the state government has not put out a closure report, but said Shahid Bilal is absconding.

The Mecca Masjid blast

The Mecca Masjid blast took place on May 18, 2007 inside the mosque located in the old city area of Hyderabad.

The blast was caused by a cellphone-triggered pipe bomb. Two more live IEDs were found and defused by the police.

16 people were reported dead in the immediate aftermath, of whom five were killed in police firing to quell protesting mobs.

How long were these Muslim youth in jail?

The arrested 100 were in jail for 22 months after which they were acquitted by the courts.

The minority commission gave a report (on these arrests) to the state government, but that report was not tabled in the assembly.

Muslim youth were tortured in a manner similar to the Israeli police.

The state government interestingly did not arrest anyone in the Mecca Masjid blast, but said that these Muslim youth were planning to carry out future blasts in Hyderabad.

After a lot of hue and cry, this case was handed over to the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation).

Meanwhile, in the Samjhauta blast case, Aseemanand was arrested.

He gave a confessional statement in the Tees Hazari court after meeting Kaleem, an accused from among the 100 arrested in what the police said was a conspiracy against the State.

In his confession, Aseemanand said Kaleem cried in jail about how his future had been destroyed because he was Shahid Bilal's (cousin) brother.

Aseemanand confessed his involvement in the Mecca Masjid blast after hearing Kaleem's plight. It was a 130 page-long confession.

In it, he also named Sadhvi Pragya and Colonel Shrikant Purohit as being involved in terror activities.

After that seven people were arrested in the Mecca Masjid blast case. Five them were Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Aseemanand, Bharat Mohanlal and Rajendra Chaudhary (who were acquitted on April 16, 2018).

Two other accused are absconding, of them one is dead, I believe.

After the NIA took over the case, more than 130 witnesses turned hostile.

When the Modi government came to power, the same NIA officers and a former home secretary (R K Singh) joined the BJP so the Mecca Masjid blast case was systematically sabotaged.

We were expecting death sentences, but now the court has acquitted them, despite Aseemanand himself admitting to his crime in front of a judge.

But Aseemananad later retracted his statement that he carried out the blast.

In the Best Bakery case in Gujarat, the complainant Zaheera Shaikh was punished even though she later retracted her original statement given to the judge.

You cannot do that as you have made the statement under Section 313 of the CrPc (Criminal Procedure Code). You cannot retract.

There has to be evidence against Assemanand as well.

There was evidence, but the case went on for 11 years.

A majority of the witnesses were lost. The NIA could not find files regarding Hindu terror.

During the UPA (United Progressive Alliance)'s tenure, a then under secretary, home, said there was nothing like 'Hindu terror' and the UPA government was framing Hindus.

We have been saying that there are RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) moles in the Congress party and its administration.

Whether it is the Congress or BJP, there are RSS moles in the administration.

Since Aseemanand and others have been acquitted, is it now clear that Shahid Bilal was behind the Mecca Masjid blast?

This was a story created by police officers about the involvement of Muslim youth in the Mecca Masjid blast.

When the CBI took over the investigation, they called in Muslim youth for interrogation, but did not arrest anyone for the Mecca Masjid blast.

Shahid Bilal was never arrested in the Mecca Masjid blast case.

Syed Firdaus Ashraf