The four families who lost their members in the Malegaon blast have refused to accept the Rs 5 lakh compensation announced by the state Government. A ceremony to hand over the cheques was organised by the office of the Collector, but no family turned up. “The Muslim community needs justice, not compensation,” said Abdul Hameed Inamdar, who was at the Collector’s office to present the community’s viewpoint.
Two of the four deaths that followed the bomb blast in Malegaon on September 29 were from bullets fired by the police at a mob, says Mufti Mohammed Ismail, whose Third Front rules the municipal corporation in this powerloom town. Even as the police maintain that all the deaths occurred due to the bomb explosion at the Bhikku Chowk in the heart of the town, the Mufti reportedly said that only two people died in the blasts. “I can say with hundred per cent certainty that one person, Shaikh Mushtaq, died in police firing as he sustained no wound on his body except a deep gash on his neck, which is a bullet injury,” he said. “The other person, Shaikh Rashid, also must have died in firing as he has bullet wounds on his chest,” he said, adding however that Rashid also suffered wounds from the explosives splinters. Among the two who died instantaneously after the blast was 10-year-old Farheen Shaikh, a girl. The other was a middle-aged man, Shaikh Azhar Nisar, Mufti said. The Bhikku Chowk, surrounded by three mosques, was deliberately chosen by terrorists two days before Eid-ul Fitr as it is adjacent to the town's ladies' market, Mufti said. The area was crowded by shoppers at that time.
“First you pointed fingers at us, saying that we divided the country. Then you told us that we are communal, and now you tell us we are terrorists,” one of Malegaon’s most prominent clerics, Mufti Mohammed Ismail, said as he led 1.5 lakh people at namaaz at the Eidgah Maidan in Malegaon. And then he broke down in full public view, after condemning September 29 blast which hit the town after Muslims had broken their fasts.
Speaking of “secular politics”, he said, “Kaan khol ke sun lo, jo qaum tumhe takhto taj pe bitha sakti hai, wohi qaum tumhara janaaza bhi nikaal sakti hai.” (A community which can place you on a pedestal can also take out your funeral procession).