Malegaon 2006 blast accused Salman Farsi on indefinite hunger strike in jail

By Abdul Hameed,,

Mumbai: The deteriorating condition of the 2006 Malegaon blast accused Dr. Salman Farsi has attracted the attention of Urdu media. Farsi along with other co-accused has been on an indefinite hunger strike since March 18 demanding earliest completion of the probe and release of innocents arrested in the case.

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Dr Salman’s wife Nafeesa told media some days earlier after she managed to meet him in the Ratnagiri Civil Hospital that Salman’s health was worsening day by day. Nafeesa has written a letter to Prime Minister, Home Minister, Minority Affairs, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Human Rights Commission and the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. In the letter she has detailed the situation and requested immediate action on their demands but none has paid attention so far.

Salman Farsi, a Unani practitioner, was arrested on November 7, 2006 by state Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) from his house in the suburban Govandi for his alleged involvement in the Malegaon 2006 blasts.

He was kept in Arthur Road Jail from where he was recently shifted to Ratnagiri Jail. Owing to the worsening situation because of the hunger strike the jail doctor shifted him to Ratnagiri Civil Hospital.

His wife Nafeesa reportedly told that he will not call off the strike until his demands are met.
Meanwhile, the Malegaon Majlis-e-Shura has sent a memorandum to the Prime Minister complaining of one-sided arrests of the Muslim youths in Malegaon blasts.

On September 8, 2006 Malegaon was shattered with a series of blasts taking place at Bada Qabrastan and Mushawarat Chowk on Shab-e-Barat after Friday prayers. The explosions that claimed 31 lives and injured more than 250 persons were allegedly attributed to some alleged SIMI outfits. The ATS arrested 8 Muslim youths, imposed MCOCA on them and sent to jail.

A 34-member Malegaon delegation of various political and non-political organizations had met the home minister Jayant Patil and ATS chief Raghuvanshi on 4th February and handed over them memorandum demanding a re-probe in the September 2006 blasts and release of innocent Muslim youth who were arrested in the case. The delegate had told that they were representing people of Malegaon.

Giving into the persistent protest by the Muslims who expressed their non-confidence regarding ATS investigation the state government finally handed over the probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which after some excuses accepted it as though reluctantly. The CBI is yet to finish its investigation.

Notably, in another blast in Malegaon that took place on September 29, 2008 and claimed six persons and injured more than 150, the ATS led by late Hemant Karkare arrested 11 persons from different Hindu radical organizations particularly Abhinav Bharat. The accused including Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur have already been charge sheeted. This case forced Muslims to demand reprobe and fair investigation in the 2006 Malegaon blasts.