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Malegaon Bandh to seek release of Muslim youths evokes mixed response

Saturday March 26, 2011 08:24:26 PM, Staff Reporter

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Malegaon: The shutdown call given by a local NGO to seek release of the Muslim youths arrested in the 2006 Malegaon blast case and a ban on Hindutva terrorist organisations March 26 evoked mixed response in Malegaon.


While the Muslim dominated eastern part of the town observed a near total shutdown, the other half of the town remained partly closed even as normal life was disrupted due to the strike.


No untoward incident is reported so far and the bandh was totally peaceful.


Shops, hotels, markets in the eastern part of the town remained closed since morning. Auto-rickshaws and other public transport vehicles also remained off the roads.


The prominent places which were mostly affected by the bandh include Qedwai Road, Old Agra Road, Bhikku Chowk, Sulaimani Masjid area, the areas adjoining Jamiatus Salehat, Golden Nagar, Mushawerat Chowk, Abdullah Nagar, Jaffar Nagar, Jamhoor Nagar, Moti Pura, Qila, Rasoolpura, Chandanpuri gate.


The bandh call was given by Nidharmi Sanghatna - a local NGO led by veteran socialist leader and former minister Nihal Ahmed, which is fighting for the release of the Muslim youths arrested in the 2006 Malegaon blast case. The NGO also seeks a ban on Hindutva organisations allegedly involved in terrorist activities.


A series of blasts struck Malegaon on September 08 in 2006 ahead of Shab-e-Barat, a Muslim festival when thousands of people were busy offering Friday prayers at the Hamidia Masjid. Another blast occurred at nearby Mushawerat chowk few minutes later. 32 people had been killed and more than 300 were injured in the blasts, most of them being children.


The Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) investigation of the 2006 Malegaon blast is receiving flak ever since it arrested the Muslim youths in the attack on a mosque in which the victims were all Muslims. Doubts were raised over the investigation also by the families of the victims.


After much of an outcry the state government had decided to hand over the investigation to the CBI. But it was done only after the ATS filed its chargesheet accusing the Muslim youths of masterminding the terror attack.


The case took an interesting turn when Swami Aseemanand, one of the accused arrested in Mecca Masjid and other blast cases, admitted in his confession made before a magistrate that the Muslim youths arrested in 2006 blast case were not guilty.


The Nidharmi Sanghatna intensified its effort to seek the release of these youths after the Special MCOCA court in Mumbai March 15 rejected the bail application filed by the accused after Swami Aseemanand's confession. Today's bandh call was part of the NGO's effort to seek justice for these Muslim youths.






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