Mushawerat Chowk of Malegaon was a replica of Tahrir Square of
Egypt or London Square of Britain as more than ten thousands
people waited till the wee hours on November 17 to greet the local
youth who were released on bail a day before. Mushawerat Chowk of
Malegaon is one of the spots where a bomb had exploded on
September 08, in 2006.
People started accumulating at the
spot ever since the news spread that the accused lodged in
Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail and Byculla Prison were released and
could be in town anytime after 12:00 midnight.
The excitement was unmatchable and
the enthusiasm never seen before. Almost the entire town was awake
and many even drove to 30-35 kms from Malegaon and camped in
Chandvad to receive the 'guests' who were neither their friends
nor kin. The only thing which kept the entire euphoria alive was
the belief that these youth were wrongly framed in the case and
had to spend five long years in jail because of no reason.
"They are not the killers of my son.
They can't be", Shafeeque Ahmed said while pointing towards the
accused who were garlanded and offered sweets on their arrival at
Mushawerat Chowk at around 02:00 AM.
Shafique Ahmed had lost his son
Sajid Ahmed and nephew Shehzad Ahmed in the 2006 blast.
"Sajid wanted to become a doctor and
he had in fact got admission at a medical college in China. But
just few days before departure he was killed in the blast", he
said while speaking to ummid.com. "What a pity! Instead of nabbing
the actual killers, the police arrested and destroyed the lives of
"Who will return us our dignity and
the long five years we spent in jail? What can compensate for the
trauma and sufferings our family members underwent because of no
fault?", asked Dr. Salman Farsi even as people garlanded and
congratulated him on getting bail.
With their arrival in Malegaon, came
to an end the relay-hunger strike at Mushawerat Chowk which was on
since last more than 200 days. Around four hundred people
including women and children took part in this protest which began
on April 25, 2011 to seek justice for the accused.
A series of blasts had struck
Malegaon on September 08, 2006 ahead of Shab-e-Barat, a
Muslim festival when thousands of people were busy offering Friday
prayers at the Hamidia Masjid. Another blast occurred at nearby
Mushawerat chowk few minutes later. 37 people were killed and more
than 300 were injured in the blasts, all Muslims and most of them
Local Muslims in Malegaon including
the victims since the day one had maintained that the arrested
Muslim men were innocent. Ironically, Zahid Ahmed, one of the accused who the ATS chargesheeted
as planter, was about
600 kms away from Malegaon at the time of incident.
The case took an unexpected turn when Swami Aseemanand, allegedly involved in Ajmer, Mecca Masjid and
Samjhuata Express blasts, confessed that Hindu extremists, some of
them already wanted in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, were
also behind the 2006 Malegaon blast.
The nine Muslim youth had applied
for the bail in January 2011 after Aseemnanad's confession. It was
however rejected by the court in March. They re-applied for bail
on October 02 and consequently was granted bail on November 05.
After an extensive labour of more than a week by the advocates and
frequent shuttling between Mumbai and Malegaon to prepare and
verify all the bail documents, the accused were finally released
on November 16 at around 05:30 PM.