Malegaon blasts: Arrest of 9 muslim youths not proper, new NCM


New Delhi, Feb 8 (PTI) The new National MinoritiesCommission chief Wajahat Habibullah says the arrest of nineMuslim youths in the 2006 Malegaon blasts and their detentionwithout any evidence appear to be improper and mulled steppingin for their release.

Habibullah said people had approached him seeking theintervention of the Commission to get the youths freed in thewake of Swami Aseemanand''s confessional statement that theblasts were the handiwork of right-wing terror groups.

The nine youths are in jail since October 2006, a monthafter three simultaneous blasts rocked the powerloom town inNashik district in Maharashtra killing 35 people.

Habibullah was replying to a question whether thearrested youths should be freed in the wake of theconfessional statement by Swami Aseemanand before a magistratein which he had claimed that the 2006 Malegaon blasts werealso a handiwork of right-wing groups.

"So far, I have not taken any step but I will think overit and could take a step later," Habibullah told PTI-Bhasha.

Habibullah said the arrest of some Muslim youths inconnection with the Malegaon blast does not appear to beproper.

"I feel the arrest of some Muslim youth in theMalegaon blast case is not proper. It appears that there is noevidence against them.

It is my personal opinion that if there is no evidenceagainst anyone, it was improper to keep him under detention,"Habibullah said.

Maharashtra''s elite Anti Terror Squad(ATS) and the CBI,which have come under attack on their probe into the blastshad arrested nine people immediately after the blasts thatshook the town on September 8, 2006.

Aseemanand, who was recently arrested by the CBI, hasstated in his confessional statement that the Malegaon blastwas masterminded by a Hindu group and that a boy arrested inthe case had brought about a change in his heart which led himto spill the beans.

Assemanand, alias Jatin Chatterjee, had alleged in hisstatement that RSS activists had murdered worker Sunil Joshi,who along with others were responsible for 2006 Malegaonblasts.

To a question on reservation for Muslims, he said, "Itis difficult to say that the uplift of Muslims was possibleonly through reservation. Reservation could be one remedy butgovernment will have to give other types of concessions. Idon''t think that only through reservation solutions could befound to all problems."

Habibullah, who retired as country''s first ChiefInformation Commission in September last year, said he willhold talks with various state governments to set up StateMinorities Commissions.

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