Special court denies homemade food in Ramzan to Muslim accused; Mumbai prison restrict another accused from carrying Quran pages

By TwoCircles.net Staff Reporter,

Mumbai : In an unsympathetic occurrence the Special MCOCA court established inside Mumbai Central Prison, commonly known as Arthur Road Jail, turned down the application filed by 20 odd accused persons in a case of ‘sending of threatening email before Gujarat and Delhi blasts in 2008 ‘ for allowing homemade food delivered by relatives inside prison during the month of Ramzan.

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Advocates of the Jamiat Ulema Hind (Maharashtra), who are providing legal aid to these accused, are determined to approach the Bombay High Court for the special order granting home-food to accused persons during the month of Ramzan.

The accused argued through Jamiat Ulema Hind (Maharashtra) advocates that as an obligations accused persons have to fast 30 days of Ramzan and urged the Court to homemade foods, including dates, fruits, snacks and fried items. The advocates also argued that every year preceding special court judges allowed such applications on the humanity ground and therefore this year too the said facility may be extended to the accused person.

It is pertinent to mention that special judge P A Pansare took over charge from previous Judge Y D Shinde last year who had allowed applications of accused persons of home-food till the Ramzan Eid. It is also relevant to mention that almost all other courts in Mumbai allow such applications filed by Muslim accused persons.

Special Judge was not satisfied with the argument of Jamiat advocates though and said that he does not find any merit in the application as there is no law or regulation to allow such facilities to accused and that if he allows such application then he will have to allow applications file by accused belonging to other communities during Ganesh Festival or other.

Jamiat advocates apprised Jamiat Legal Cell secretary Gulzar Azmi about the order passed by special court and the grievances shown by the parents of accused persons.

Gulzar Azmi said, “We will hold meeting with the senior lawyers and shall approach Bombay High court as we already have precedence order passed by earlier courts.”

Although the parents of accused are aggrieved with the special court order of denying homemade food during Ramzan to their children but they are happy with order passed by the same judge four months before of revocation of stringent MCOCA from the case due to which they see some hope of acquittal of their children from the case. The said order of revocation of MCOCA has been challenged by the state of Maharashtra before the Bombay High court which is under the argument before divisional bench.

Mumbai Central Prison restricts Muslim accused from letting in pages of Quran inside the prison

Irrespective of the allegations on the accused, it was never heard before that the prison authorities in India do not allow prisoners to keep copies of religious literature, specifically the Holy Scriptures, with them inside prison. But it was reported on Friday that one of the Muslim accused person Abdul Wahid was not allowed to take inside Mumbai Central Prison pages of Holy Quran with him when he was returning after court hearing.

Abdul Wahid is an accused in 7/11 train serial blasts in Mumbai who protested the decision of prison authority of not allowing him to carry Quran pages with him when he returned after the completion of case proceedings in special court to the Mumbai central prison. He informed the Jailor Bawiskar that Maharashtra Prison manual allows every prisoner to keep with him Holy Scriptures and hence he may also be allowed to take along those Quran pages with him. He also brought to their notice the relevant article 25 and 26 of the Indian Constitution which allows every citizen to practice religion of his choice.

In his letter to the Jamiat Ulema Hind office in Mumbai, Abdul Wahid says that he was unnecessarily harassed at the entrance gate of prison by Jailor Bawiskar who stopped him from letting in Quran pages and instead asked for court order to keep those Quran pages with him inside prison. After a long discussion other jailors intervened and allowed Abdul Wahid to keep those Quran pages with him.

Arthur Road Jail
Arthur Road Jail

After the incidence Abdul Wahid sent complaint against Jailor Bawiskar to Special MCOCA court in Mumbai and to the office of State Human Rights Commission seeking action against him for unnecessary harassment meted out to him.

Jamiat Ulema Hind (Maharashtra) advocate Shahid Nadeem acknowledged the said incidence and have said that his client has filed complaint letter in special court detailing the harassment occurred to him at the hands of jailor.