Lt Col Prasad Purohit, who is accused in the 2008 Malegaon bombings case, has written to Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde saying it is discriminatory on the part of the government to try to support only Muslim youth wrongfully accused of terror.
Purohit, who was arrested a little over a month after the attacks of September 29, 2008, has asked the minister to consider his case as well.
Shinde wrote to chief ministers last September, asking them to ensure that no innocent Muslim was detained on false charges of terror. He sought “strict and prompt action” against police officers in cases of “mala fide” arrests, and advised states to immediately release, compensate and rehabilitate “any member of minority community” who had been “wrongfully arrested”.
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The home minister also asked state governments to set up special courts for terror-related cases, and prioritise these cases over others.
In the eight-page letter sent from Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai, Purohit said his trial had not progressed, and criticised both the Maharashtra ATS and the National Investigation Agency for the delay. Purohit, who was the first serving officer of the Army to be arrested on terror charges, has been seeking trial under Army rules. Purohit’s wife Aparna met President Pranab Mukherjee, the supreme commander of the armed forces, last week to plead that the trial be expedited.
Purohit, who during his time spent with the Military Intelligence, was credited with busting alleged modules of the banned SIMI, accused the media of being biased against him. “The truth… has long been buried under the heap of media and politicalstatements and criticism. So unfortunate is the situation that the case, right from day one of its getting committed to the hon’ble court has been painted in the communal hue,” he has written.
“…When certain media reports are published with no or little understanding of the functioning of the intelligence corps, in my case of military intelligence… the same, I hope, is justly weighed at the top level before taking any cognisance of the same.”
NIA has alleged that the Malegaon blasts were carried out by a Hindu fundamentalist module led by slain RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur. Purohit knew Pragya, was allegedly played a key logistics role in the attacks. Hindu fundamentalists are also accused of carrying out the Samjhauta Express (February 2007), Mecca Masjid (May 2007) and Ajmer Dargah (October 2007) attacks.
While acknowledging that nine innocent Muslim youths had been implicated in the 2006 Malegaon blasts, Purohit has written, “Why should the policy adopted by the government, which is no doubt a reflection of its most humane governance, remain restricted to only a segment of the society? It is the most painful feeling to experience that the country which is champion of secularism still believes in stamping her own citizens on religious biases only to remind the medieval era of India…”
Home ministry officials said they were examining the matter, and have sought a report from the NIA on the status of the case against Purohit.