On March 06, few days before the
crucial hearing in the Special MCOCA court March 10 on the bail application
filed by the Muslim youths charged in the 2006 Malegaon blast
case, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) hinted that Mumbai
Police's elite Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) had in its rush to solve
the case named two of the accused without realising that one of
them was languishing in jail while another was 700 kms away from
the town on September 08, 2006 when a series of blasts struck
outside a mosque in Malegaon – the Muslim dominated town in North
Strangely, the CBI took more than four years and needed Swami Aseemanand’s confession to come to this conclusion. Otherwise,
earlier it too was following the same ATS line, though it gave
hints of breakthrough in the case on November 16, 2009 when it
said in the court that it did not have any evidence against the
Muslim youths arrested in the case.
That the incident should be probed with transparency and
professional manner was demanded ever since the incident and even
before the victims were taken for their last journey. It was
raised in front of RR Patil, who as Home Minister of the state,
had rushed to the town the same evening. A week later, the demand
was again raised in front of the same man when a high level
delegation met him at Sahyadri Rest House in Mumbai.
Thereafter, there are countless instances when the demand for
transparent investigation was raised and in front of everyone - right from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mrs. Sonia Gandhi to
Maharashtra Governor and state CM Vilasrao Deshmukh. They all
promised that fair and impartial probe into the incident would be
done and also that no injustice would be done to anyone. However,
the Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) was perhaps working on totally
different game plan. It was hell bent on implicating innocent
Muslim youths in the case and as is now hinted by the CBI, was “in
a rush to close the case”. Despite big claims about justice and
fairness by its masters, the ATS arrested one by one the youths
who were under continuous police surveillance since years and
booked them for the crime they were not responsible of.
And the people in Malegaon, who believed that the arrested Muslim
youths had nothing to do with the inhuman and shameless terror
act, were helpless. They could not do much due to the hapless
government which turned a blind eye to their legitimate and just
demand. But, when they learnt that the ATS had arrested Mohd Zahid
from Phoolsawangi, a place some 700 kms from Malegaon, they sent a
team comprising of dignitaries, advocates and journalists to inquire
about his whereabouts at the time of the incident. They were
aghast to find that Mohd Zahid was in Phoolsawangi at the time of
the blast yet the ATS implicated him in the case.
Incidentally, the team that visited Phoolsawangi called a press
meet on its arrival
in Malegaon, and in front of the media disclosed their report, and
the undertakings given by more than 200 people confirming that Mohd. Zahid was present in Phoolsawangi on September 08, 2006. The
same was published by everyone – including leading English
Moreover, after it was established that Mohd Zahid was not in Malegaon at
the time of incident, people in Malegaon were wondering what
charge the ATS would impose on him. They were surprised to note
that the ATS, despite the fact that the entire thing about Mohd
Zahid had already hit the headlines, described him in its
chargesheet as one of the bomb planters.
As is now hinted by the CBI, “the ATS was in a hurry to close the
case”, so it did what it wanted. But its chargesheet that indicted
Mohd Zahid as planter gave further credence to the local claim that
the entire ATS case was actually cooked up to frame the innocents.
However, in a rush to close the case, the ATS never realised what
kind of hell it is bringing to Mohd Zahid’s family. The family was
already under tremendous pressure as the police had arrested
Zahid’s younger brother Mohd Javed, few months’ before the 2006
Malegaon blast, reportedly claiming, ‘Mohd Javed is actually Mohd.
Zahid’. The arrest was a severe blow for the family as it claimed Mohd Zahid,
fed up of police interrogations because of his alleged association
with the banned outfit SIMI, had left home years before and the
family was not aware of his whereabouts since then.
The horrified family’s trauma did not end here. Left with
sleepless nights due to enormous pressure and mental torture
unleashed by the biased investigating officers, the family had to
bear the brunt of a natural disaster when the younger brother of
Mohd Zahid died in an accident. He was coming to his house one
night in the last monsoon when lightening took his life.
Though the court that was supposed to give its decision on the
bail plea of the accused March 10 did not take note of what the
CBI hinted on March 06 and again deferred its ruling till March
15, one expects that the CBI will at least now mend the mistakes,
intentionally or unintentionally, committed by the ATS.
At the same time, the government too needs to answer whom it would
make accountable for the trauma the familles of the accused had to
undergo during this entire period? Who will pay for the mental
torture Mohd. Zahid’s father had to endure in the old age? Who
will compensate for the sufferings of Zahid’s mother, who is now half mad, and sitting
outside of her house, keeps asking every onlookers when her sons
would come out of the prison?