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Officials oppose release of Muslims accused in Varanasi blast case

Tuesday December 18, 2012 12:45:30 PM, IANS

Lucknow: In a setback to the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP) government's move to release the accused in the 2006 Varanasi blasts, the district administration has strongly opposed "any such action".

In response to the move, which came vide a letter of the special secretary (law) dated Dec 14 seeking their view on the matter, the district magistrate and the senior superintendent of police (SSP) of Varanasi have said that after a careful study of the case, they were of the opinion that any move to free the accused like Waliullah, Shameem and others was not only likely to set a bad precedent but would not be judicious as well. The case is now with the district and sessions court of Ghaziabad.

In their response to the government missive, the district administrative and police officials also quoted the government legal counsel's support to their viewpoint.

They pointed out that the government counsel said that the alleged act by the accused not only led to death of people, damage to government property but also was a crime against the unity of the nation and challenged the security.

In a reply to the 13 points, on which the law department of the state government had sought their opinion, the district officials have detailed many reasons, including "strong evidences" against the bomb blast accused.

Saurabh Babu, the district magistrate of Varanasi, refused to comment on the matter, saying it was a confidential communication.

The government, after a series of statements by the political leadership in the ruling Samajwadi Party, specially Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, about "innocent Muslims being implicated in the blasts," Oct 31 had moved a notification seeking withdrawal of cases against the accused in the March 7, 2006, serial blast, that ripped through the temple town of Varanasi, killing 20 people at the Cantonment railway station and the famous Sankat Mochan temple.

The move had not only kicked up a political storm but had also invited a severe reprimand from the judiciary.

The Allahabad High Court (HC) had rapped the state government for the move.

A bench of Justice R.K. Agarwal and Justice R.S.R. Maurya in November observed: "Today you are releasing them, tomorrow you may give them the Padma Bhushan!"

The court said that whether those arrested were terrorists or not would be decided by the court and not by the state government, and had asked a clarification for the withdrawal of the case.





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