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Stunned Malegaon intensifies blast anniversary day protest plan

Tuesday, August 04, 2009 06:08:24 PM, Staff Reporter

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Malegaon: In a near unanimous decision, people of Malegaon plan to hold a massive protest this Thursday on August 6 - the 2006 blast anniversary.


Thursday coincides with Shab-e-Barat, a festival when thousands of Muslims thronged to the Qabristan for special prayers. Three years before in 2006 on the same day three powerful bombs had exploded in a span of few minutes killing more than thirty people and injuring over three hundred, many of the victims being the children.


Thursday’s demonstration is aimed at pressing the government for release of the Muslim youths, who according to the Malegaonians, are falsely implicated in the 2006 blast case, speedy completion of the CBI investigations and various other related demands, brought on several occasions in the past three years to the notice of the Central as well as the State Government.


“Since the Shab-e-Barat day in 2006 on September 8 when the terrorists had first struck the town, we are pleading to the Central as well as the State Government for unbiased and speedy CBI investigations of the case and release of the innocent people. But the government is not paying any attention to our legitimate demands leaving us with no option but to resort to the streets and hold demonstrations”, said Maulana Abdul Hameed Azhari while speaking to and added, "This, like other citizens in the country, is our democratic right."


Maulana Abdul Hameed Azhari is one of the front leaders of the Kul Jamaati Tanzeem - an organization formed immediately after the 2006 blast and comprised of religious leaders from all Muslim sects. One of the aims behind its foundation, Tanzeem leaders say, was to counter the official version about the motive behind the 2006 blast that said the blasts were result of the Muslim sectarian differences.


Kul Jamaati Tanzeem is working since 2006, and with their demands its leaders have not only organized several dharnas in Malegaon and Mumbai but have also met top government leaderships including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA Chairperson Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and former and present state chief ministers pleading them to look into the matter.


Elaborating the details of Thursday’s protest Maulana Azhari said, “We are working on various ways including a dharna at Mushawerat chowk - one of the blast sites, rasta-roko at Mumbai-Agra road, hoisting black flags all over the town and holding prayer meetings for the victims as well as for those who are in jail since 2006. The demonstration can be all or some of these options. But they will be totally peaceful.”


The decision to stage demonstrations on the blast anniversary was taken ten days back. The Mumbai special court order dismissing Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) charges against the accused detained in connection with the 2008 Malegaon blast case stunned the people in the town consequently intensifying the demonstration plan.


“We had taken the decision for demonstrations last week only and one of our demands from the government was to reconsider its decision to reinstate KP Raghuvanshi as state ATS chief. The court order has only vindicated our stand about Raghuvanshi and now more and more people think the demonstration is perhaps the only way to make the government realise its apathies”, said Maulana Azhari.


Leaders cutting across the party lines are also supporting the Kul Jamaati Tanzeem’s call for protests on Thursday. In their statements former minister and veteran socialist leader Nehal Ahmad and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Yusuf Haji have asserted to support the protest that Kul Jamaati Tanzeem plans on the blast anniversary.

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