For septuagenarian Nisar Ahmed, a scrap dealer who lost his 19-year-old son in the 2008 Malegaon blasts, the disclosures of Special Public Prosecutor Rohini Salian that she was told go “soft” in the case by the National Investigation Agency is further affirmation of his belief that justice will only be delivered by Allah.
“I never had much faith that we would get justice in this case. Today I have realised that we will get justice only at the doorstep of Allah. I do not expect mere mortals to provide justice for my dead son,” Nisar Ahmed told The Indian Express in Malegaon Thursday evening.
His son Azhar, who was memorising the Quran to become a Hafiz, was killed on September 29, 2008 after he decided to take a detour from the local mosque to his home. That change of route proved fatal. Flying shrapnel from the bomb struck Azhar, killing him on the spot.
“We had recently filed an application at the behest of the Jamiutul Ulema to look into the progress of the case. But our gut feeling always was that people were not very keen on bringing the perpetrators to justice,” Ahmed said.
He is one of the few who have been closely monitoring the progress of the case. Others in the town appear to have lost interest in the progress of the case.
Fifty-five-year-old Liyaqat Shaikh, who drives a truck for a living, stares blankly as he recalls his daughter’s last moments. Shagufta Fareen, just 10, had stepped out of the house to fetch kebab-pav after breaking her Ramzan fast. She never returned.
Shaikh does not follow the case proceedings. Neither is he aware of Salian’s revelations. All he says is that the guilty should be punished. “Whether Hindu or Muslim, we all are the same. All those who take the lives of innocents should be punished,” he said.
Others in Malegaon said they were not surprised by Salian’s disclosures because they had always suspected such a scenario after the change of government.
Abdullah Jamaluddin, an octogenarian who runs Shakeel Goods and Transport, was injured when a bomb-laden motorcycle exploded outside his small office. A vintage clock in the office stopped functioning the second the bomb went off, freezing the moment.
“It is something that is expected from this government. It is being done to ensure that the real culprits get away,” he said.
Lawyers in Malegaon, who had defended the Muslims arrested for the earlier 2006 bombing, alleged that the state was not acting in an impartial manner.
“We live in a secular country where everyone is equal before law. The state should not act in a prejudiced manner against anyone because of his or her religion. In this case, the state seems to be trying to shield a certain set of people. This is not good for our country,” lawyer Irfana Hamdani said.
Maulana Abdul Hameed Azhari, chief patron of the Kul Jamaati Tanzeem which was floated to fight the cases of Muslims rounded up after the 2006 blast, said: “The government is ignoring national interest.”