Relief for Muslim youth accused in 2006 Malegaon blasts case

Relief for Muslim youth accused in 2006 Malegaon blasts case

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Mumbai:  Noor ul Huda runs a small grocery shop in the dusty textile town of Malegaon in Maharashtra. His work there, providing a sense of normalcy to his otherwise chaotic life since 2006.

Noor was accused with nine others by the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) and also the CBI of conspiracy in the 2006 Malegaon blasts that killed 38 people outside a mosque in his hometown.

The Maharshtra ATS in its case said Noor was among those who had planted a bomb in the cycle that exploded.

He spent five and a half years in jail and was released on bail only in November 2011. He was married only three months when he was arrested.

But now Noor hopes the tag of being a criminal will be dropped, for good.

The source of his encouragement, the National Investigation Agency's (NIA) chargesheet in the case filed on Wednesday that does not mention him or others arrested with him.  

"All I want is and honourable discharge from the case" he says trying to put his past behind.

His sentiments echoed by Raes Ahmed Rajjab enjoying small pleasures like playing with his children, something he missed in jail.

Raees was accused by Maharashtra ATS of planning the attack. "We have faced lots of problems. For one and a half year we have been going to court for every hearing, so now we should be relived of it all," he says.

The chargesheet now holds four right Hindu extremists responsible for the Malegaon blasts.

Lokesh Sharma, Dhan Singh, Rajender Chaudhary, Manohar Narwariya it says are responsible for the Malegaon blasts. While Chaudhary and Narwariya purchased cycles for the blasts, Dhan singh planted the bomb.

The blasts it says a revenge attack planned by these men from Indore for attacks on some Hindu temples and Shramjeevi Express.

The NIA also hopes to get new evidence against Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Swami Aseemanand, who are in jail for now for the Malegaon blasts that happened in 2008.  While the chargesheet is silent on their role, sources at NIA say it's not a clean chit. (Read more)

The NIA'S investigation and chargesheet appears to be a long overdue shift from that of Maharshtra ATS and CBI which held Muslim youth as the perpetrators and conspirators of the violence.  

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