They just wanted to say thank you. With the completion of recital of Quran last night under the Ramzan’s taraweeh period, six clerics, three advocates, a father of a 2008 blast victim and a brother of one of the accused in the 2006 Malegaon blasts case took the first long-distance train Thursday from Malegaon to meet advocate Rohini Salian, the special public prosecutor for National Investigation Agency probing the case.
They had read Salian’s statement in The Indian Express where she alleged that an NIA officer had conveyed that she needed
to go soft on the case against Hindu extremists.
“We were overwhelmed. It was a big statement. We wanted to show her our support, give her strength. Tell her Malegaon is with her. This time we are not for any court hearing. We are here just for Salian,” said Nisar Ahmed, father of Sayyed Ahmed, one of the victims in the 2008 blast at Bhikku Chowk. Sitting in the shade under a tree’s canopy outside the city’s session court, the delegation waited for two hours to meet “Madam Sahiba”.
The delegation finally met Salian after the court hours at 5 pm. “It is all very nice of them to have come all the way. I never needed anybody’s support except for His,” Salian said, pointing towards the sky.
“We from Malegaon, from the depth of our heart, most sincerely appreciate your impartial role in the matter,” their one-page letter read.
Salian read aloud the letter to her junior on the court premises. It said the members were committed to standing by the cause she had chosen “to fight against the lawlessness and undue invasion in administration of justice”.
According to Advocate Nihal Ahmed Ansari, the delegation first went to the Peddar Road office of the NIA on Thursday. They were asked to make an entry in the register and take the lift to the floor above. Five minutes later, as they wrote their names and proceeded to the lift, the security called them back asking them to stop and wait for a police official from the local police station. Ansari, who has represented a few of the Muslims accused in the 2006 Malegaon blast, says they then left their memorandum with the inspector. Nobody from the NIA met the delegation from Malegaon.
“We now plan to take it to the government. Our belief is shaken,” Ansari said. When contacted, an NIA officer refused to comment or confirm the visit.
The delegation, meanwhile, spent the day meeting legal experts as they went to look for ways to approach the court. “We have now decided to appeal and go for a PIL. We are all party to the issue. When a special public prosecutor makes a statement where she says there is pressure to loosen the case, the concept of fair trial is at risk. We are going to ask the High Court to appoint a special public prosecutor who can be trusted. We met lawyers today to ensure that our PIL also stresses the point that the High Court should monitor the trial when it begins as a lot is at stake,” said advocate Jalil Ahmed, brother of accused Abrar Ahmed. Jalil said Salian’s statement put additional pressure on the family as his brother was an accused in the 2006 blast case in the ATS chargesheet, which NIA later took over. The NIA’s later probe showed the Hindu extremists as accused after its chargesheet pointed to a separate set of bomb planters.
“The news shook us all. In Malegaon, people are restless. Two bomb blasts can do that to a town. We met over the last two weeks in town halls, and in city’s various corners, looking at ways to ensure the issue doesn’t die without being probed. On July 5, the town, all its men walked together to the collector’s office to ask for our voice to be heard. We have now decided to approach every office of the government where this (Salian’s) statement can be taken,” added Jalil.
The PIL, the delegation said, would be filed by Nisar Ahmed. Nisar, as the father of a blast victim, was also the one who opposed the bail to Sadhvi Pragya and Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit in 2011 in the apex court, they said.
Maulana Khayyum of the Kul Jamati Tanzeem, the umbrella body representing all Muslim sects in Malegaon, said, “The statement was just an alert given out. The town will not let it go unheard. We are looking at all legal options to ensure that we get a fair trial. We are not looking to any political party but have decided to take legal course.”
After the delegation left, Salian stood confused, but smiling. “They are happy about the fact as there are very few people who stand up to tell the truth. “Why should they be proud of someone who is merely telling the truth,” she added.