Disowned by his own? No cleric ready for Yakub's last rites

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Mumbai, July 23:  Maharashtra has set stage for the execution of Yakub Memon, the mastermind behind the 1993 Mumbai serial bombings.

But the police faces a new challenge now-finding a cleric for Yakub Memon's last rites. Authorities in Nagpur jail will have to arrange for a cleric if none from his family come to claim his body. And there comes the daunting task of finding one.

Yakub Memon

A senior home departmental official said,"As part of arrangements, we have started looking for a maulvi to perform last prayers for Yakub. But, as of now, no one has agreed to do the job."

The administration sites various reasons behind the reluctance of the Muslim maulvis. For example, many seminaries have issued fatwa against the burial prayers of terrorists, in order to send out a message that the Muslims condemn terrorism.

[Read: Yakub Memon moves SC again, seeks stay of death sentence]

Take the case of 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab who was hanged secretly in Pune's Yerwada jail. The authorities brought a maulvi from outside Maharashtra and promised that his identity would be sealed.

The official further added,"It was with great difficulty that a Muslim clergyman was roped in to perform the last rites for Kasab. The department assured the maulvi his identity will be kept secret. Even today, no one knows who performed the last rites," the official said.

[Read: Tight security in Mumbai in run up to Memon's hanging]

The official, however, reaffirms that Yakub will need a maulvi only if his body is not being claimed by anyone from his family.

However, it is also being said that the administration may not hand over the body to his family in the first place, for the fear of communal tension. Senior lawyer Majid Memon said,"I don't want to comment on this particular case. But a person who is handed down the death sentence is seen as a martyr by those involved in anti-national activities."

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