Swati Deshpande & Hemali Chhapia TNN
Mumbai: Of the 2006 candidates who appeared for the PET (PhD Entrance Test) on Saturday, one did not return home. He went back to the Arthur Road jail—his temporary home. The candidate who took special permission from the court and appeared for the exam was Farooq Makhdoom, one of the accused in the 2006 Malegaon blasts. He has been in jail for over four and half years. He wrote the exam in Urdu.
Makhdoom’s lawyer Yakub Yusuf Shaikh sought bail for him so that he could appear for the test. The magistrate wanted to see his hall ticket before granting him permission. Makhdoom was taken to his exam centre, Saboo Siddique College in Bandra, under heavy police protection. The blasts in 2006 had killed 31 and six of the nine accused are from Malegaon. They claim they were framed but the CBI has opposed the fresh bail plea filed this January.
The accused has been on a studying streak while in jail. Having completed his Bachelor of Unani Medicine in 1997, Makhdoom studied for his MA in Urdu while in custody in 2009. He has been securing a first class so far and is hopeful of cracking the PhD entrance as well. Even though his hopes of getting bail have been dashed a few times, he and eight others who applied again are still hopeful of getting a release order soon.
The exam was conducted across 12 centres in the city. There were 2174 candidates from the state who had registered for PET. At some centres, said controller of examinations Vilas Shinde, students wanted the question paper in Marathi. They were also allowed to write the exam in Marathi. Shinde said the Mumbai University would consider setting the paper in Marathi next year.
The Times of India, February 27, 2011