A day after a group of eminent citizens, including jurists, actors, retired judges and politicians, approached President Pranab Mukherjee urging him to commute Yakub Memon’s death sentence, Muslim leaders from the Congress party in Maharashtra followed suit on Tuesday.
Six Congress legislators, a former MLA, and a corporator, wrote to Mukherjee with an appeal for clemency for the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts convict. The letter, issued on a letter head with the Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha’s emblem, reads, “We the MLA/MLC’s/ex- MLA/ municipal councillor wish to appeal to your excellency for clemency towards conviction of Yakub Memon’s death sentence.”
Former Maharashtra minorities’ development minister Naseem Khan, who is a serving Congress MLA, Amin Patel, Aslam Shaikh, and Shaikh Asif, Shaikh Rashid (all serving MLAs), Muzaffar Hussain and Husanabano Khalife (both MLCs), Yusuf Abrahani, a former party MLA, and corporator Javed Juneja are signatories to the letter. It has urged the President to exercise discretion granted to him under Article 72 of the Indian Constitution to commute Memon’s death sentence.
The move by Congress politicians comes amid a controversy triggered by All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi, who had suggested that Memon was being punished because of his religion. But the Congress’s letter to the President does not invoke any communal pitch.
When contacted, Naseem Khan said the appeal for clemency comes in light of the fresh evidence presented by Memon’s side. “We hold complete faith in the country’s judicial set-up and are keen on ensuring that injustice is not meted out to anyone,” Khan said.