Muslim intellectuals Monday asked the Maharashtra government to free young Muslim men held in connection with the 2006 Malegaon bomb blast, following the recent statements of arrested Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Swami Aseemanand.
Aseemanand, who was arrested last year, in a confessional statement before a magistrate said that he along with other Hindu activists was involved in the bombings in Malegaon, Ajmer, Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid, and the Samjhauta Express train.
A delegation of Muslim scholars met Home Minister R.R. Patil and said that the confessional statement of Aseemanand had exposed his role in the Sep 8, 2006, Malegaon blast.
The scholars said that innocent Muslim youths nabbed in the case should be released forthwith and the incident should be re-investigated.
The delegation was led by Mumbai Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Narendra Verma, former legislator Sohail Lokhandwala, Raza Academy secretary general Mohammed Saeed Noorie and Sunni Jamiatul Ulema secretary general Maulana Mansoor Ali Khan.
In a memorandum submitted to Patil, the delegation said it was now time for the government to undo the excesses committed against the Muslim community in the state and the community members should be compensated for the mental agony and physical torture they had been subjected to.
Making a similar demand, former labour minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and union Home Minister P. Chidambaram.
In the letter, Malik said that ‘whatever mistakes have been done’ must be rectified now.
State Samajwadi Party president and legislator Abu Asim Azmi also called on Chavan last week to demand the release of the Muslim accused and arrested in the Malegaon case.
The Muslim leaders told Patil that the innocent Muslim youths who were arrested for the Mecca Masjid blast at Hyderabad were also released later and paid a compensation by the Andhra Pradesh government.
‘We demand that a similar compensation is made by the Maharashtra government,’ Lokhandwala said.
He quoted Patil as saying that since the case was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation, he would take up the matter with the investigating agency.
The Muslim leaders also called for action against the RSS and its frontal organisations.