Mahdhani recalls his terrible years in jail


Thiruvananthapuram : Abdul Nasser Mahdhani, released from jail after being acquitted of charges of involvement in the Coimbatore serial bombings, revived his oratorical skills and emotionally recalled his terrible long years in jail while addressing thousands of his supporters and political leaders here.

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In his nearly non-stop two-hour speech Thursday night, Mahdhani left many in tears when he relived the nine and a half years he spent in two jails in Coimbatore and Salem. State Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was among those present to listen to Mahdhani at the Shangumugom beachside.

He was the 14th accused in the Feb 14, 1998 blasts that took place while Bharatiya Janata Party leader and then deputy prime minister L.K. Advani was on an election tour of Coimbatore. The blasts left 58 people dead and 250 injured.

Sitting in his wheel chair minus one leg, which he lost following a bomb attack on him, Mahdhani whipped up passions when he pulled out the damaged artificial leg and lashed out at jail authorities for not even allowing it to be repaired.

“You see this leg … this is the one when I was arrested and I have been losing weight and I have now used around a dozen pieces of material to keep this fitted to my body,” said Mahdhani.

He broke down and wiped the tears rolling down his cheeks after he said that for many years, jail authorities accompanied him even to the toilet to see what he did inside.

Mahdhani, 41, who began giving fiery speeches at the age of 16, proved that he had not lost his oratorical skills. He was seen consoling his two little sons sitting beside him when they cried hearing his trials and tribulations in prison.

“This is the first time in their life that they are hearing me speak,” Mahdhani said patting them.

He lashed out at Defence Minister A.K. Antony, former Kerala chief minister, and former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalitha.

“When even the first accused in the blasts was given parole on and off, I was denied parole even once. I really wished I was given parole to at least see my dear grandmother when she died. I was refused because the then Kerala government wrote to Tamil Nadu authorities that there would be a law and order problem if I arrived in my hometown,” a tearful Mahdhani said.

Not once did he criticise the ruling Left Democratic Front and instead praised the efforts of Achuthanandan and Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

“We decided to support the Left in the 2006 assembly polls because of certain commonalities between my party and the Left. It is not yet time to fully assess their governance,” he said.

He told his party members that the need of the hour was to help the poor and downtrodden whom nobody else cared for.

“Now that I am out, if at all you raise any money in my name, which you will easily get, use it to buy food for those who live besides railway tracks.”

Mahdhani is now admitted to hospital for a detailed check up, but it is certain that every move he makes in future will be watched closely by the rival fronts in Kerala and the Bharatiya Janata Party.