HYDERABAD COURT ACQUITS 21 YOUTH OF BLAST CHARGES

A city court of Hyderabad on December 31 acquitted 21 young men arrested for their suspected involvement in the bomb blasts in 2007 and charged with sedition and criminal conspiracy to wage war against the state. The Seventh Additional Sessions judge A Radhakrishna acquitted the 21 men, saying the prosecution failed to produce any evidence…

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A city court of Hyderabad on December 31 acquitted 21 young men arrested for their suspected involvement in the bomb blasts in 2007 and charged with sedition and criminal conspiracy to wage war against the state. The Seventh Additional Sessions judge A Radhakrishna acquitted the 21 men, saying the prosecution failed to produce any evidence against them. Those acquitted included medical student Ibraheem Junaid, Moatasim Billah, Rayees Ahmad, Abdul Raheem, Mohammed Javed and M.A. Majid. They were acquitted in similar cases earlier in November also. With this, all those arrested after the blast in the historic Makkah Masjid and Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat eatery in the city have been acquitted. The police had registered cases against these young men for hatching a criminal conspiracy to wage war against the state and possessing jihadi literature.

Some of the arrested men were allegedly tortured in the police custody and this was confirmed by a fact-finding team of the state minorities commission. The police have failed to crack the mosque blast case while it claimed that two terror suspects arrested in Mumbai a few months ago allegedly confessed to have carried out twin blasts in the park and the eatery.

Several Muslim leaders from different parties and organisations have hailed the verdict and demanded that the state government and the police tender an apology to the community. Prominent leaders, including Lok Sabha member Asaduddin Owaisi and Rajya Sabha member Syed Aziz Pasha said that the court verdict has proved that the police had targeted and victimized innocent youth and tried to frame them into false and fabricated cases. They also demanded that the state government pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to each of the acquitted youth and an apology from state Home Minister K Jana Reddy.

Reacting to the court judgment, Asaduddin Owaisi – Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) chief and Lok Sabha MP from Hyderabad – said it was high time the government closely scrutinised the style of functioning and investigations by the police. “The more important question is that if these youth were innocent then how the police tried to implicate them in this case and who were the real culprits behind the Makkah Masjid blast and other two blasts in the city,” Owaisi said.

“As a member of Parliament with full responsibility I can say that the blast in Mecca Masjid could be handiwork of Abhinav Bharat and elements like Sadhvi Pragyan and Col Purohit. The case could not be solved so far because the police has refused to investigate the role of such elements,” he said.

Mohammed Abdul Wajed, one of the acquitted youth, said he had to wage a one-and-a-half-year-long legal battle to prove his innocence. “My family suffered badly because I was the eldest son and the only bread earner of my family,” he said. He also revealed that even her married sister faced lot of harassment by her in-laws and was subjected to mental torture as ‘sister of a terrorist’.