ALSO READMecca Masjid blast case: Anti-terrorism court acquits Aseemanand, 4 others Judge quits after Mecca verdict; trouble not yet over for Swami Aseemanand Mecca verdict: Judge's resignation casts doubt over acquittal; top updates Rahul termed Hindus bigger threat than LeT, claims BJP: Top 10 developments The long shadow of Babri Masjid
The wheels of justice, after trudging for 11 years with twists and turns, finally got derailed with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) court acquitting all the accused including Aseemanand (pictured) in the Mecca Masjid blast case for lack of evidence. The family members who lost their loved ones understandably seek an answer: who then engineered the blast? Sadly, no one seems to have an answer to it yet, which raises a disturbing question about the credibility of our investigating agencies and criminal justice delivery system.
Expectedly, the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership claimed judicial vindication against what it considers a malicious campaign by the Congress to “defame Hindus”, although the then home secretary who had hinted at the involvement of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh supporters in the blast is a minister in the Modi cabinet. Given the NIA’s earlier decision not to challenge a similar acquittal of Aseemanand in the Ajmer Dargah blast case and the alleged nudging of its public prosecutor in the Malegaon blast case to go slow against the accused (denied by the agency), it is doubtful if this time around it goes in appeal against the Mecca Masjid case. If the acquittal goes unchallenged this time too, it would be an explicit admission of shoddy investigation. Yet, nothing would be done to fix responsibility. It is time the National Democratic Alliance government winds up the NIA, a brainchild of former Home Minister P Chidambaram. Instead, steps should be taken to strengthen the investigating machineries both at the Centre and state levels to probe cases of terror attacks and most importantly insulate them from political influences.
S K Choudhury