Tuesday, August 23, 2011

‘Patil must quit for Malegaon blasts arrests’

Mateen Hafeez TNN

While NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s statement that Muslim youths arrested for the 2006 Malegaon blasts are innocent was welcomed by a major section of the community, NGOs and lawyers working to secure bail for them demanded party leader R R Patil’s resignation.

Pawar who attended an iftar party at Haj House on Saturday said, “I know that the boys arrested for the Malegaon blasts are innocent. I was the first person to say it one-and-a-half years ago.” Referring to Samjhauta train blast accused Swami Aseemand’s confession, he said, “The real culprits, some of whom have admitted to their crime, should be arrested.”

Reacting to the comment, Fareed Batatawala of Muslim Front said, “When he (Pawar) knows that the boys are innocent, why is he not doing anything for their release? He should seek an explanation from Patil and if needed Patil must resign. We also demand ATS and Malegaon police officials concerned should be suspended.”

The Times of India, August 223, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Team to probe ways to bail out Malegaon blasts accused


Mateen Hafeez TNN

: A delegation of Muslim activists, clerics, advocates and workers from several NGOs met home minister R R Patil at Mantralaya on Thursday and demanded the release of nine men arrested in the 2006 Malegaon blasts case.
Patil agreed to form a team of Muslims lawyers, a national investigation agency (NIA) public prosecutor and the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) officer who had filed the first chargesheet in the blasts case. “The team will look into what can be done
to bail these boys out,” said Fareed Batatawala of the Muslim Front. The delegation also told Patil that the Muslim community was angry with the government’s way of handling this case. “When Swami Aseemanand has confessed his role in the blasts, why are the Muslim boys not being released?” asked Batatawala.

To build pressure on the government, a delegation of Muslim MLAs from the state, led by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, on Wednesday, met union home minister P Chidambaram. Maharashtra minority affair and Waqf minister Naseem Khan along with MLAs Baba Siddiqui, Aslam Shaikh, Ameen Patel and film-maker Mahesh Bhatt insisted that the government should be fair in delivering justice to minorities. Chidambaram assured the delegation that injustice will not be done to minorities.

The Times of India, August 19, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

‘Malegaon ka Superman’ Eid release a gift for actor

PERSONAL CAUSE: Shafique, who fights the tobacco scourge in the film, was a gutka addict

Leading Man Is In Advanced Stage Of Cancer

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Anxious over Malegaon ka Superman’s deteriorating health due to cancer, the film’s director and producers have decided to release the movie on the occasion of Eid. The spoof, where ‘Superman’ fights the menace of tobacco, was scheduled for a December release. However, it will now be released in three weeks as an “Eidi” (Eid gift) for Shaikh Shafique, the 23-year-old lead actor.

Shafique, a residentof Gulab Park in Malegaon, used to chew around 40 packets of gutka a day. He was admitted toTata MemorialCancer Hospital last year where he underwent treatment for cancer. Today, though, he is said to be in an advanced stage of theillness. The movie’s director, Nasir Khan Prince, said that it is “very tough” for the unit to see Shafique in such pain.

“We aredoing our best. We admitted him to Mumbai’s Tata Hospital and the entire billwas paidby actressDeepti Bhatnagar (who is a producer of the television programme Malegaon Ka Chintu). He underwent an operation and is currently at home,” said Prince.

“Our movie is against the menace of tobacco. Sadly, our lead hero fell victim to it,” said Prince. Fed up with his condition, Shafique even “tried to kill himself” on two occasions.

Shafique had been chewing tobacco and gutka since the age of 13. He got married when he was 19 and his wife, Jameela, was just 17. The couple has two daughters; a three-year-old and a twomonth-old. Today, he can’t eat spicy food and his jaw is very sensitive to the temperature of any food. He finds it difficult to even speak.

The 2009 low-budget Malegaon ka Superman was screened at IFFI in Goa in December 2010. It has won awards at film festivals in Los Angeles, Prague, Italy and Pakistan. Shafique, who played ‘Superman’ in the movie, had earlier played various roles in other films made in Malegaon. The Class-VIIdropouthas actedin Khandesh to Goa, Khandesh ki Baraat, Khandesh ka Qarazdar Master, Malegaon ki Lagaan and Khandesh ka Doctor, among such others.

The Times of India, August 16, 2011

’06 Malegaon blasts case accused kin allege bias

Mateen Hafeez TNN

: Though chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had promised to discuss the arrests in connection with the 2006 Malegaon blasts with Union home minister P Chidambram, the relatives of the accused feel the state is dragging its feet over their plight.

Wives of nine suspects said the government is ignoring their demands since they belong to the minority community. “Though my husband was arrested and charged with conspiracy in the 2006 Malegaon blasts, there is no evidence against him,” claimed Aafiya, wife of Farogh Makhdoomi. Makhdoomi and eight others were arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) for planning and executing three blasts in a Muslim cemetery and another blast at a chowk. “The case was first probed by the local police then handed over to the ATS. Later, the same case was transferred to the CBI which sat on the investigation for four years and did not try to find out the truth. In January this year, a fresh CBI team took over the probe. In April this year, the Union home ministry ordered the National Investigation Agency to investigate the case. So far five agencies have changed in one case. Are the government and the investigating agencies making a mockery of the judicial system?” Aafiya asked.

In January this year, Swami Aseemanand, arrested in connection with the Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blast case, reportedly confessed before a magistrate that “his men had engineered the 2006 Malegaon blasts”.

After the Aseemanand’s arrest in the Hyderabad masjid blast case, another suspect, Shaikh Kaleemuddin, who was arrested by the police in Hyderabad, was released based on Aseemanand’s confession. “When the AP government can release Kaleemuddin after the truth was revealed, why has my husband been kept in jail for five years?” asked Qamar Jahan, wife of another suspect. Advocate Irfana Hamdani said, “We have provided all details to the investigators but they are sitting on our report. It’s not just a case of justice delayed but justice denied.”

The Times of India, August 16, 2011