Nagpur, July 23: 53-year-old death row convict Yakub Memon, one of the key conspirators in 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case will be hanged to death on his birthday on Thursday, July 30 in the Nagpur Central Jail.
His 42-year-old wife, Rahin Memon and 21-year-old daughter Zubeda met Memon today inside the jail, amid tight security. Yakub's meeting with his family members lasted for more than one hour after which they drove away in a private vehicle at around 11 am. [Wife, daughter meet Yakub Memon in Nagpur prison]
Rahin was also arrested along with her husband in the 1993 bomb blast case. She too faced charges of aiding and abetting terror acts but was acquitted in September 2006 due to lack of evidence. [1993 Bombay blasts: Memon family members also faced trial]
While talking to TOI in an exclusive interview, the shattered Rahin said that her husband is paying for the sins of his brothers.
"I still can't come to terms with it. It never occurred to us that the court could send Yakub to the gallows. It feels like a bad dream... and today is his birthday", she was quoted as saying. [Yakub Memon, a double post graduate, may not be alive to receive his political science degree]
"I am going to start fighting now. I have faith first in Allah. I also believe in our judiciary. Most importantly, I believe that my Yakub is innocent. He has sworn by our daughter that he has done nothing wrong. If he had, I would have left him long ago", she said.
While sobbing her heart out, she asked"Why have they done this to him?'' she asks. "Just because he came back? Are we still living in the Stone Age? Just for society you put one brother behind bars for 14 years and then condemn him to death for his brother's sins. Yakub is being hanged because of the Memon tag. This surname has destroyed him.''
"Yakub always said he would come out since he had done nothing wrong. Why would we return to India if we had something to hide? Why have Tiger and Ayub (the absconding brothers and blast masterminds) not come back? Because they know they will be punished", she asserted.
"We returned because we were living under house arrest in Karachi.We didn't like it there-we were missing our homeland and we did not want to live with a false sense of shame. I would tell Yakub that I missed small things like seeing the fisherwomen from Mahim draped in their nine-yard saris.''
"We just waited for the right time and for things to cool down. Of course, our daughter's impending birth hastened our decision. Yakub came down to India on July 19, 1994, on his own and yet he is unfairly shown as being arrested later. I don't know about any deal. We returned because we had done nothing wrong. Yakub would tell me that everything would be alright soon. He trusted the CBI. His mistake was that he never got any assurance or conditions on paper like Abu Salem did.''
On being asked why did the family suddenly leave India, barely two days before the March 12, 1993, blasts? She said, "My parents-in-law had already gone on March 10, along with my brothers-in-law. Yakub got a call from Ayub in Dubai. He insisted that we celebrate Eid over there so we went. And we had been going to Dubai all the time. It was nothing new.''
"We were in Dubai for less than a month before we were taken to Karachi. We were obeying Tiger then. What else could we do?'', she said.
On Tiger Memon, she said, "He was hardly ever at home. He lived on the fifth floor with his wife and two kids. Yakub and I were on the sixth floor with my in-laws. He was okay. I don't want to talk about him. He means nothing to us nor we to him. If we did, he would have called or come down when his father died or now.''
On being asked that Yakub bought the tickets to send Muslim youth for arms training and gave bags full of arms to a co-accused, Rahin said, "He attended to all financial matters and did the ticketing routinely, it was nothing new for him. He was not told anything. As for the bags,, Yakub said they contained his work documents, not arms.''
While admitting that Yakub knew about Tiger's smuggling activities, she said. "Yakub was no kid, but he neither mingled with Tiger's friends or contacts, nor did he do any work for them as a chartered accountant. He had many clients of his own, including Hindus. He is a good human being-had he known about Tiger's plans, he would have been the first to expose him.
On Yakub's death sentence, she said, "I would fight now. I want justice and I will win. I have this feeling that he will come out soon, Inshallah."
As per a report published in Indian Express, Memon had written a letter in 1999 saying, "I am dependent on anti-depression medicines. It has now become a part of my life. The more I think the more I get disturbed. After all, why am I made to suffer? Only for the sole reason that the prime accused is in relation to me?"
Yakub Memon's terror trail: Brief Timeline
- According to Indian authorities, Memon financially assisted his brother Tiger and Dawood Ibrahim in planning and executing the bombings.
- Memon allegedly handled Tiger's funds and also funded the training of 15 youths who were sent to Pakistan to learn the art of handling arms and ammunition. Before the deadly 1993 blasts, his entire family reportedly fled to Pakistan.
- In July 1994, Yakub was arrested at the Nepal border. He has been in jail ever since.
- In 2007, TADA court found him guilty of criminal conspiracy, aiding and abetting and facilitating in a terrorist act, illegal possession and transportation of arms and ammunition and possessing explosives with intent to endanger lives.
- The death sentence handed to him by the anti-terror court was upheld first by the High Court and then the Supreme Court on March 21, 2013.
- On April 11, 2014, President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected his mercy petition.
- On June 1, 2014, the Siupreme Court stayed his execution. On Tuesday, July 21, the apex court rejected his curative petition and pronounced that he will be executed by hanging on Thursday, July 30,2015.
- Mumbai serial blasts on Friday, March 12, 1993, had claimed 257 lives and over 700 were injured. Property worth Rs 27 crore was damaged in the 12 explosions, that ripped off the India's financial hub.