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BJP levels 'grave' charges against Uddhav, Pawar over Yakub Memon

Last updated on: September 08, 2022 19:11 IST

A controversy has erupted over the burial place of 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon in Mumbai, with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party claiming that the grave was "beautified" and attempts were made to turn it into a shrine of sorts.

IMAGE: A 2007 photograph of 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon being taken to the TADA court in Mumbai. Photograph: PTI Photo

The BJP claimed that Memon's grave was "beautified" during Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray's tenure as Maharashtra chief minister and sought his apology over it.

However, the Sena leaders maintained that the party and the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government had nothing to do with it and that it was being dragged into the issue unnecessarily.

As the row erupted over the issue, Mumbai police swung into action on Thursday, removing the LED lights put around the grave of the terror convict, who was hanged at Nagpur jail in 2015 and buried at the Bada Qabrastan in south Mumbai.


A DCP-level police officer will probe how the LED lights and marble tiles came to "adorn" the terror convict's grave, an official said.

With some Maharashtra BJP leaders targeting the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, the latter said the whole issue was an attempt to divert people's attention from more important issues like inflation and unemployment.

State BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule said Thackeray should apologise to the people of Mumbai and Maharashtra for this "beautification" attempt of the grave of a person responsible for killing 250 people.

A local BJP leader said Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi should also apologise over the issue.

A police official said halogen lights were installed in the Bada Qabrastan on the occasion of Badi Raat (Shab-e-Barat) and have been removed by the Qabrastan trustees.

Shab-e-Barat is an occasion when Muslims remember their dead and visit their graves, and is also known as the night of fortune and forgiveness.

The marble tiles around Memon's grave were put up three years ago, he said. There are 13 other graves at the place, he added.

The Shiv Sena said the previous Uddhav Thackeray-led government had nothing to do with the beautification of the grave of Memon, who was hanged on July 30, 2015, for his role in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts.

Shiv Sena MP from Mumbai South Lok Sabha constituency, Arvind Sawant, told reporters that the Bada Qabrastan, where the grave is located, is a private property and the state government does not have anything to do with it.

"Why drag the Shiv Sena into this issue? This is nothing but an attempt to divert people's attention from serious issues facing the country. It is also an attempt to create communal tension in society," he alleged.

Sawant sought to know why the body of Memon was handed over to his kin after he was hanged by the then BJP-led government at the Centre and state.

"America gave Osama bin Laden a burial at sea. The body of 26/11 terror attacks convict Ajmal Kasab was also not handed over to his kin," he pointed out.

Asserting that his party had nothing to do with the issue and the controversy it is generating, Sawant demanded a probe into the beautification.

Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray accused the BJP of trying to disrupt peace ahead of the civic polls in Mumbai by creating a controversy over the grave of Memon.

Talking to reporters, Thackeray said the BJP should first reply why Memon's body was allowed to be buried after execution in 2015.

He said the Baba Qabrastan where Memon was buried is a private trust and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had no role in it.

"Raking up this issue is a tactic to disrupt peace ahead of the civic polls," the former state minister said.

Meanwhile, talking to reporters in Pimpri Chinchwad near Pune, Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Ajit Pawar claimed that the issue was being raked up to divert the attention of people from unemployment and inflation.

Replying to a question over the controversy, Pawar said that such things about a 'deshdrohi' (traitor) should not happen in the country.

Asked about the BJP holding the MVA government responsible for this beautification attempt of the grave, Pawar said, "For several years BJP was with Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray and it was because of Shiv Sena that BJP could reach the rural areas."

"Be it any government, no one will want such things to happen during their tenure. Currently, to divert the people's attention from inflation and unemployment, such issues are being raked up. Since they have their government in the Centre as well as in the state, they should find out who did this and punish those who are responsible," the senior NCP leader said.

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