Malegaon blast of 2008

Malegaon bombings in the Nashik district of the Indian state of Maharashtra



Jan 01

Malegaon blast of 2008

Where did occur Malegaon bombings?

  • Malegaon bombings were a series of bomb blasts that took place on 8 September 2006 in Malegaon, a town in the Nashik district of the Indian state of Maharashtra.

Who had involved in that?

  • The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) initially blamed the bombings on the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), but a charge sheet filed in 2013 put the blame on the Hindu extremist group Abhinav Bharat.
  • By overruling the National Investigation Agency’s finding that key members of a Hindu right-wing group called Abhinav Bharat were not involved in the explosion.
  • The Special Court in Mumbai has chosen to let the evidence decide their guilt or innocence.
  • It has framed charges against them for conspiracy, murder and other offences, including under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
  • The Anti-Terrorism Squad of the Maharashtra police and the NIA have come to varying conclusions on the culpability of Abhinav Bharat members.
  • The ATS chargesheet claims it was primarily a conspiracy hatched by Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit, among others.
  • In a supplementary chargesheet, the NIA concluded there was either no or insufficient evidence to proceed against some of them.

What about the court’s stand?

  • Special Judge S.D. Tekale has chosen to steer clear of pronouncing his decision on which of the two he would go by.
  • Where two conflicting reports are on record, he ruled it is better to go through the trial and consider the evidence it brings. His decision is the right one and it rises above the competing narratives of the two agencies.

What made this case politically sensitive?

  • Whether ‘Hindu’ or ‘saffron’ terror had come into being given the alleged role of an organisation with the objective of establishing ‘Hindu Rashtra’ in the country.

Is Islamist group involved in that blast case?

  • Initially, an Islamist group was accused of being behind the blasts that took place in September 2006.
  • But a later chargesheet said the perpetrators belonged to a group of Hindu activists.
  • It took nearly ten years for those initially arrested to be discharged, for want of evidence.
  • Allegations surfaced that the NIA prosecutor was under pressure to dilute the charges against Pragya and others.

What about the present scenario?

  • Based on preliminary material, the judge has thrown out charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act. He has discharged three persons for want of evidence, and sent two to regular courts to be tried under the Arms Act. The rest will face trial.
  • This decision augurs well for the integrity of the process, as it is the best way to put at rest suspicion that one agency tried to frame the suspects, while another was deliberately soft.

 

Keywords:

  • Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS)
  • Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)
  • National Investigation Agency’s
  • Abhinav Bharat
  • Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act