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2008 Malegaon blasts case: At Ground Zero, protest and anger

The twin blasts occurred in the congested Bhikku Chowk on September 29, 2008, on the night of Shab-E-Qadr as residents were out shopping for Eid.

Written by Atikh Rashid | Malegaon | Updated: May 14, 2016 6:27 pm
Nisar Shah (35), whose lost his father to the Malegaon blasts of 2006, at his residence on Friday. Express Photo By Pavan Khengre,13.05.16,Malegaon. Nisar Shah (35), whose lost his father to the Malegaon blasts of 2006, at his residence on Friday. (Source: Express Photo By Pavan Khengre)

Not a surprise, legally wrong, calculated move. These were just some of the words that echoed in Malegaon on Friday after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) dropped the names of six accused, including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, from its chargesheet in the 2008 blasts case.

Outrage was the overriding emotion in this power-loom hub, among families of those killed in the blasts, politicians, lawyers and those discharged by a court last month in the 2006 blasts case. The NIA move also triggered protests by local units of the Congress and Samajwadi Party.

The twin blasts occurred in the congested Bhikku Chowk on September 29, 2008, on the night of Shab-E-Qadr as residents were out shopping for Eid.

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“Why is the NIA so keen to give Sadhvi and others a clean chit? You see the way we were treated despite the investigating agency not having a shred of evidence and now you see these people getting a soft treatment from the same agency and the government. But this hasn’t come as a surprise at all, this was expected,” said Raees Ahmad, who was among those discharged by a Mumbai court last month in the 2006 blasts case.

Nisar Shah, 35, whose father 65-year-old Harun Shah died in the blast, said the accused deserved punishment.

“My father had gone out for tea after offering namaz. He was badly injured in the blasts and died the next day. We don’t know much about the case, but I remember a woman in saffron clothes being arrested. If she has done it, she should be punished,” said Shah, a father of four who works as a labourer in a power loom.

“It’s a calculated move by the BJP government and we knew it was coming,” said Aseef Shaikh, the Congress MLA who represents the region in the Maharashtra assembly.

Freelance journalist Mubasshir Mushtaq questioned the NIA’s contention that the motorcycle on which the bombs were planted was linked to Sadhvi Pragya but she had not used it for the two years leading up to the blasts.

“She can’t be absolved of all charges at the investigation level itself,” said Mushtaq.

“This is similar to the argument adopted by Rubina Menon in the 1993 serial blasts of Mumbai. The elderly woman is behind bars for life for owning the Maruti van which was found abandoned at Worli with AK-56 rifles and hand grenades. She had also argued that she wasn’t using the car and didn’t know to drive,” said Mubasshir.

Lawyer Irfana Hamdani, who had defended some of the 2006 blasts accused, argued that the evidence against all accused in the 2008 case was stronger than that against the nine Muslim men who were discharged in the earlier case.

“There are at least a dozen CDs containing audio and video evidence which sheds light on the conspiracy and the role played by Sadhvi. There are also a number of documents, apart from the ownership of the bike which was used to plant the bombs. The law says that material and documentary evidence should weigh over the oral testimony of witnesses. If the NIA is giving her a clean chit, saying there are testimonies which support her innocence, then it’s legally wrong,” said Hamdani, who stays about 100 metres from the blast site.

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  1. A
    Arjun
    May 14, 2016 at 1:59 pm
    Someone did it. Find the real people whoever they are and hang them.
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    1. C
      Chander Pal
      May 14, 2016 at 3:07 pm
      Congress and the left had in their DNA to demean and tarnish Hindu, Hindi, Hindustan, Nationalism, Vande Matram or even Sanskrit language. When not in power they bring in 'intorelance', or suddenly Bhagat Singh becomes a terrorist or 1857 continues to be a rebellion. If you teach Nehru its okay, but if you bring in Sardar Patel you become a communalist.
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      1. A
        Afzal Ahmad
        May 14, 2016 at 3:47 pm
        NIA is not working as National Investigation Agency but as "NAMO Investigation Agency" During UPA rule when martyr Hemant Karkare cracked the case and arrested Sadhvi Pragya Singh and her other accomplices, the entire Sangh Parivar lead by Advani (then Narendra Modi was not at the national level politics) pleaded even at the highest level of PM for their innocence with flimsy stories without any concrete evidence. Before that even our Home Minister was photographed with Pragya at her home which was published in our National News Papers. During that long period of pleading them innocent, nothing was said about planting of RDX by ATS at the residence of Col Purohit but all of a sudden the "NAMO Investigation Agency" has " Discovered or Manufacture" this so-called fact after about eight years of the incidence.lt;br/gt; If the logic of not using the motor bike is trust worthy and is taken as evidence, then why the similar argument adopted by Rubina Menon in the 1993 serial blasts of Mumbai was not given due weight. The elderly woman is behind bars for life for owning the Maruti van which was found abandoned at Worli with AK-56 rifles and hand grenades. She had also argued that she wasn’t using the car and didn’t know to drive, therefore on the basis of the same logic she should also be set free. But unfortunately for her, she didn't belong to Sangh Parivar or their religion.lt;br/gt;Who killed Karkare, is still a mystry but there were reports that Pragya and company apart from considerable number of persons belonging to Abhinav Bharat and other terrorists of Sangh Parivar celebrated the death of a martyr by distributing sweets. Karkare was very upset with the pressure and threats being applied over him for releasing these terrorists. He often visited Rebeiro, a former DGP of Maharashtra and told him everything and sought his advice to deal with the situation which probably took his life. lt;br/gt;A very dangerous practice has been got started by N I A (NAMO Investigation Agency), where one national Investigation Agency is blaming the other for foul play of planting RDX in the house of Col Purohit without mentioning any valid reason for this crooked act. This may have a for reaching consequences because there are so many investigating agencies from center to stat including army and this blame game of one agency over other may prove disastrous and suicidal for the safety and integrity of the country.
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        1. A
          Afzal Ahmad
          May 14, 2016 at 3:49 pm
          NIA is not working as National Investigation Agency but as "NAMO Investigation Agency" During UPA rule when martyr Hemant Karkare cracked the case and arrested Sadhvi Pragya Singh and her other accomplices, the entire Sangh Parivar lead by Advani (then Narendra Modi was not at the national level politics) pleaded even at the highest level of PM for their innocence with flimsy stories without any concrete evidence. Before that even our Home Minister was photographed with Pragya at her home which was published in our National News Papers. During that long period of pleading them innocent, nothing was said about planting of RDX by ATS at the residence of Col Purohit but all of a sudden the "NAMO Investigation Agency" has " Discovered or Manufacture" this so-called fact after about eight years of the incidence.lt;br/gt; If the logic of not using the motor bike is trust worthy and is taken as evidence, then why the similar argument adopted by Rubina Menon in the 1993 serial blasts of Mumbai was not given due weight. The elderly woman is behind bars for life for owning the Maruti van which was found abandoned at Worli with AK-56 rifles and hand grenades. She had also argued that she wasn’t using the car and didn’t know to drive, therefore on the basis of the same logic she should also be set free. But unfortunately for her, she didn't belong to Sangh Parivar or their religion.lt;br/gt;Who killed Karkare, is still a mystry but there were reports that Pragya and company apart from considerable number of persons belonging to Abhinav Bharat and other terrorists of Sangh Parivar celebrated the death of a martyr by distributing sweets. Karkare was very upset with the pressure and threats being applied over him for releasing these terrorists. He often visited Rebeiro, a former DGP of Maharashtra and told him everything and sought his advice to deal with the situation which probably took his life. lt;br/gt;A very dangerous practice has been got started by N I A (NAMO Investigation Agency), where one national Investigation Agency is blaming the other for foul play of planting RDX in the house of Col Purohit without mentioning any valid reason for this crooked act. This may have a for reaching consequences because there are so many investigating agencies from center to stat including army and this blame game of one agency over other may prove disastrous and suicidal for the safety and integrity of the country.
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          1. A
            angel
            May 14, 2016 at 9:30 am
            Nothing better was expected as the NIA has been converted to Namo Investigating Agency. lt;br/gt;Right wing Politics at its worst. Since the Central Govt has nothing to show for 2 years , this is just the begining. let us wait for the Ram Mandir now.
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