The confessional statement by Swami Aseemanand will be a turning point to four different cases and the legal process for the acquittal of many youth is all set to commence. The Swami Aseemanand confession which took place a couple of days back details the manner in which the Mecca Masjid, Samjautha, Malegaon and Ajmer blasts were carried out. While there is a debate still on whether he actually confessed on his own after being touched by the conduct of a former accused in the Mecca Masjid case or did he confess under duress, the fact remains that there is a ray of hope among many youth who continue to languish in jails after being implicated in the above mentioned cases.
The Mecca Masjid Case: It sent shock waves after it had been bombed. There was a subsequent police firing in which many others died. The immediate blame went toward Shahid Bilal a resident of Moosrambagh in Hyderabad and his outfit the Harkat-ul-Jihadi. Bilal was however not in Hyderabad and had moved to Bangladesh at that time. The Hyderabad police picked up 110 men in a few days and detained them for questioning.
Finally the Hyderabad police narrowed it down to 27 youth and claimed that they had carried out the Mecca Masjid blasts in a bid to create communal tension.
In a plaint filed by these youth before the court, they said that following the Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad, the police immediately started making claims that some organisation referred to as HUJI or some other militant group was responsible. There was police firing after the blast, and both in the blast as well as in the firing, several persons died. All of them were Muslims. That apparently records of the firing show police excesses.
However after the initial arrests, the case against these youth started to fade out and all were booked for conspiracy. In the chargesheet the police claimed that these youth had gathered at a grave yard and were viewing CDs of the Babri Masjid demolition. The police also claimed that they had circulated CDs of the same and were spreading communal hatred. However these youth are all free today and have already been acquitted for want of evidence.
Dr Junaid who was termed as the main accused in this case says that he was subject to torture in jail and he was forced to admit his role in the case. Kaleem another accused in the case was subject to a narco analysis test and following this the police claimed that he had admitted to his role in this case.
The Malegaon Case: On the eve of Shab-e-Barat on September 8 2006, a series of blasts rocked Malegaon in which nearly 30 people were killed and several others injured. A month later, the police picked up a youth by the name Noorul Huda Shamsuddoha and termed him as the person who planted the bomb at Malegaon. A couple of days later, the ATS picked up Shabbir Ahmed and termed him as the mastermind in the case. They also had in their custody Ahmed Rajjab and termed him as the co-conspirator in the case.
The next couple of days saw more arrests. Dr Salman Farsi, Lateef Aimi and Dr Faroq Makhdhomi. While the ATS continued to claim that this was an operation carried out by the Muslims, the people of Malegaon termed this as a conspiracy against them and said that Muslims could not have been involved in the killing of their own people. However the ATS continued to claim that they had not arrested even a single person and they had a very strong case on hand.
However this case changed completely after Hemanth Karkare took over as the Chief of the ATS. His investigation into the case blew the lid of the earlier ATS theory and as investigations progressed, he brought to book the likes of Colonel Purohith, Sadhvi Pragya Singh and the likes. This part of the probe sent shock waves and the whole angle of terror by Hindutva factions came to the fore. Today the Malegaon case is at a stand still at least for the Muslim youth who are in custody. The youth who have been arrested continue to fight the legal battle and a demand for their release in the wake of the Aseemanand confession has only become louder.
Ajmer blasts: Following these blasts, there was a big theory on how Islamic groups had started targeting Muslim shrines. The finger was pointed at the Harkat-ul-Jihadi and it was said they had adopted the Lashkar-e-Tayiba policy of attacking Sufi shrines since it did not subscribe to their ideology.
The fact that there was never any major break through made in this case. The entire investigation which was carried out by the Rajasthan ATS was based more on theory and after a couple of days, they did manage to put one name into the case. Syed Salim was called the mastermind in this case. The police had said that he belonged to Hyderabad and had fled the place. They also went on to claim that he had settled in Ajmer and he got in touch with the HuJI operatives while in Ajmer. The Rajasthan police said that they had specific information that he belonged to Hyderabad and Telegu newspaper which was found at the site was one of the leading clues to this.
This probe however took another turn after the government in Rajasthan changed. The ATS started looking deeper into the case and found that the blasts were the handiwork of the Malegaon bombers.
Samjautha Blasts: This is an often spoken about blasts and it was stated at first that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba had carried out this operation to derail the Indo-Pak peace process. The Haryana police which was had handed over the investigation commenced its probe looking for a Lashkar-e-Tayiba angle into the probe. Despite months of investigation they did not find anything in this regard.
They then made a break through when they tracked a shop from which the suitcase was used to carry the bomb. It was traced back to the Kothari marker in Indore. However this probe came to a stand still with some in the investigating team saying that they were under immense pressure not to probe the case any further.
The first time that the other angle to these blasts cropped up was when the Malegaon case was cracked. Dayanand Pandey was the first person to speak about their involvement in this case and that is when the probe started taking a turn. The NIA is now in charge of this case and will probe it on the basis of the statements made by Swami Aseemanand.