Muslim leaders demand re-investigation of Mecca Masjid blast case

Hyderabad: Led by AIMIM president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, a delegation of Muslim leaders called on Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan demanded re-investigation of the Mecca Masjid blast and related matters.

They gave a detailed summary of Mecca Masjid bomb blast case in their 9 page memorandum and expressed shock over the acquittal of all accused persons. “The acquittal that resulted is therefore a matter of deep shock and from the judgement which appears that the judge has found fault with both the investigation as well as the conduct of the proceedings which was curiously, despite the sensational nature of the case and the wide-ranging impact of the resulting judgement on both communalism in the country as well as on terror and the apparent impunity with which certain sections of society are proceeding to terrorise and intimidate minorities, entrusted to an advocate who had no experience of acting as prosecutor in criminal matters, besides which there have been questions raised about his affiliation with a student political outfit with right wing leanings,” they said.

Several witnesses are known to have turned hostile and yet none were prosecuted for perjury or otherwise, whereas what happened in the matter of Zahira Shaikh who was jailed when she turned hostile is well known, they said.

“We believe that the manner in which the Mecca Masjid blast case has been handled, the conduct of the investigation, the entrusting of the case to the prosecutor concerned and the handling of the proceedings during the trial, as also the surprising resignation of the judge who pronounced the verdict of acquittal, within a few hours after the verdict was delivered by him casts serious doubt on the integrity of the investigation, the integrity of the proceedings, as also on the clear possibility, if not certainty, that the evidence has been deliberately projected in a less than convincing manner consistent with the apparent inclination and strong propensity demonstrated by certain sections of the investigating agencies to ensure that persons with a certain political ideology are placed beyond the likelihood of conviction in order to give the euphemistical ”clean chit” to all those accused of serious crimes against sections of society belonging to the minorities exonerating them absolving all right-wing outfits from being held accountable for the disgraceful events through which the country has been passing especially since May 2014,” they said in the memorandum.

The Muslim leaders demanded that the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Union Government to which the NIA and the IB report, order re-investigation. “The investigation of the Mecca Masjid blast and related matters including but not restricted to the accusation of evidence being planted, be itself investigated; The investigation aforesaid be monitored by the Hon’ble High Court in the State; As in the case of initial alarming acquittals in the case of violent incidents in Gujarat, re-trial be ordered; Witnesses who turned hostile be investigated for the reasons that led to their resiling from earlier statements, and they be prosecuted under law; Allegation/s that the confessional statement of Swami Aseemanand was not free or voluntary or that the same was not considered as evidentiary material be investigated; The prosecutor be selected from persons with wide criminal experience in the State, and the sensitive matter not be handled by a novice to criminal law; The reason/s that prompted the judicial officer to tender his resignation shortly after the verdict be investigated,” they demanded.

They also demanded that the entire case-related material be made available online so that there is complete transparency and scholarly thought can be brought to bear on the issues of ensuring such aberrations do not recur.

The Muslim leaders also demanded that the Report of Commission of Inquiry into Police firing after Mecca Masjid blast on 18th May 2007 be made public. “Soon after the bomb blast at Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad during Friday prayers on 18th May 2007, the police had resorted to firing on crowds that had gathered in the vicinity of the historic mosque to provide relief and rescue to the injured among the blast victims. Five persons were killed and seven injured in the police firings. All this happened even as the then Hyderabad City Police Commissioner and the then AP Director-General of Police claimed that only rubber bullets were used. As many as 90 rounds were fired by a dozen police personnel from Quick Response Teams and Task force using 6 SLRs, 4 .303 rifles and two pistols on unarmed persons,” they said.

The Government appointed a Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice V Bhaskar Rao, retired judge of the AP High Court, to inquire into the incidents that led to opening of fire by the police in the vicinity of Mecca Masjid after the bomb blast. The police firing incident was also inquired into by the AP State Human Rights Commission. A magisterial inquiry was also conducted by Hyderabad District Collector through a special executive magistrate.

Justice Bhaskar Rao Commission, after exhaustive inquiry, submitted its report to the then Chief Minister K Rosaiah on 16th October 2010. “It is almost seven and a half years since the Commission report was submitted to the Government. However, neither the Government in the erstwhile united AP nor the Government of Telangana has made the report of the Commission public, although it is statutory that the report of a Commission of Inquiry appointed under the Commissions of Inquiry Act is to be tabled in the State Legislature/Parliament as the case may be.

They also demanded a re-trial into the case of a macabre incident took place on the night of 11th October 2008 at Vatoli village in Adilabad district in which six persons of a Muslim family were burnt to death in a case of arson. The victims were Mahboob Khan, his wife, daughter and three grand-children.

The CB-CID arrested and charge-sheeted 9 accused persons – all members of Hindu Vahini – for their role in the conspiracy and execution of arson-cum-murders of a lone Muslim family in Vatoli village. The hearings in the case began in 2016 in Adilabad district sessions court.

Incidentally, on 16th April 2018, the Adilabad district sessions court quashed the CB-CID case relating to Vatoli incident against all the nine accused owing to lack of proper technical and scientific evidence produced by the CB-CID. Thus, the accused in this macabre case walked free. “We would request your esteemed self to prevail on the Telangana Government for a re-trial in the Vatoli case and appeal in the High Court against the lower court’s quashing of the case,” they demanded