Mecca Masjid blast: NIA court ac­quits Asee­m­anand, 4 oth­ers

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - FRONT PAGE - Srini­vasa Rao Ap­pa­rasu

HYDERABAD: A spe­cial court in Hyderabad on Mon­day ac­quit­ted for lack of ev­i­dence five men, in­clud­ing for­mer mem­bers of the Rashtriya Swayam­se­vak Sangh (RSS), who were ac­cused of be­ing in­volved in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast that claimed the lives of nine peo­ple.

In­dicted by In­dia’s fed­eral counter-ter­ror bu­reau Na­tional In­ves­ti­ga­tion Agency (NIA) in 2013, the men were ac­cused of hav­ing plot­ted the at­tack as part of a Hindu ex­trem­ist con­spir­acy, an al­le­ga­tion that im­me­di­ately pit­ted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against the then rul­ing Congress gov­ern­ment.

Among them was Swami Asee­m­anand, who has been named in sev­eral other cases with a sim­i­lar mo­tive.

The 2007 at­tack took place dur­ing Fri­day prayers in the mosque ad­ja­cent to the his­toric Charmi­nar in Hyderabad on May 18, killing nine peo­ple and leav­ing 58 in­jured.

Five oth­ers were killed in po­lice fir­ing in the vi­o­lence that fol­lowed im­me­di­ately af­ter the blast.

In ad­di­tion to Asee­m­anand, the men ac­quit­ted are: RSS pracharak from Ra­jasthan Deven­dra Gupta, prop­erty deal­er­cum-rss ac­tivist from Mad­hya Pradesh Lokesh Sharma, Gu­jarat’s Bharat Mo­han­lal Ratesh­war and a farmer from Mad­hya Pradesh, Ra­jen­der Chowdary.

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