Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Aseemanand questions bail to Malegaon 7, claims was tortured

Ten days after seven accused in the 2006 Malegaon blast case were released on bail, partly because of his confession that Hindu extremists were behind the attack, Swami Aseemanand has questioned the decision, reiterating that he had already retracted that statement made by him under “extortion”.

In a memorandum sent to President Pratibha Patil yesterday, with copies to the prime minister, home minister and the National Human Rights Commission among others, Aseemanand also alleged that he had been tortured “on account of my religion”.

“How can my extorted confession that was retracted be taken... to the aid of the Malegaon accused when no court has pronounced on my retracted confession? How can NIA (National Investigation Agency) support the bail pleas of Muslim accused in the Malegaon case in the face of the confession by these accused and the inputs shared by the government of India with the US and the UNO?” Naba Kumar Sarkar alias Aseemanand, who had been arrested in Mecca Masjid blast case in 2007, says in the memorandum.

“What a travesty of justice! On one hand a Hindu sanyasi like me is being made to suffer unimaginable and unbearable indignities by investigating agencies and state actors so as to extort my confessions. On the other hand, Muslim accused in the Malegaon case are allowed bail on the stand of the Union Home Ministry and the NIA using this extorted (retracted) confession,” stated Aseemanand.

In November 2010, he had been arrested by CBI officials from Haridwar en route Delhi, said Aseemanand. “CBI officials on several occasions stopped the vehicle on the roadside in pitch dark and made me kneel on the ground. After putting pistol on my temple they threatened to kill me if I did not act as per their desire. Upon my refusal they threatened that they would push me towards on-coming speeding traffic and that my death would be in accident. In this situation I felt ashamed that as a Hindu I have no human rights; I was subjected to torture on account of my religion. In custody, I was isolated. Losing all hope and to save my family members, I succumbed to their pressure and torture.”

He said that CBI officials “tortured” him to give 164 statements. He alleged that even in judicial custody CBI and NIA personnel enjoyed free and unregulated access to him. “On occasions even after midnight I was insultingly treated and (accused of) involvement in various blast cases. They also threatened to eliminate my mother, brother, and other relatives if I did not succumb to their demands,” stated Aseemanand, adding that when he was produced before the magistrate in Delhi on December 18, 2010, CBI officials were present in plainclothes and one of them “directed” him to depose “as per his instructions and the typed statement given by him”.

“Because of the immense mental and physical pressure I could not muster enough courage to tell the magistrate that I was making the statement under compulsion.”

He gave graphic details of his “unbearable physical torture” and stated, “They indicated that if I ever failed to tow their line, my mother would be brought from Hubli, I would be subjected to indignities before her after being undressed.”

“While in judicial custody in Tihar jail, I was kept in a cell along with two Muslim prisoners. They knew who I am. I was under traumatic condition and had no courage to resist the threats. I made the statement before the court as desired and tutored by the CBI officials,” said Aseemanand.

He said on January 15, 2011, he was taken to the room of “Dept” Superintendent, Central Jail Ambala, where NIA officials were present.

They gave him draft of the statement and directed him to make the said statement before the magistrate.

“Surrounded by such desperately deadly law enforcement agencies I again succumbed to the dictates of NIA officials and got recorded confessional statement on 15.01.2011 before the Panchkula court,” said Aseemanand, adding that ATS Rajasthan too “forced” him to write an application to become approver in the Ajmer blast case.

“Madam President, my confession was a result of the unimaginable physical and mental torture. This has been retracted. No judicial court has pronounced on my confession one way or the other. How can the accused in the Malegaon be shown indulgence of bail on the basis of my retracted confession when they had themselves given their confessional statement in the case? I get an impression that I am being targeted because I am a Hindu...,” said Aseemanand.

He added, “Madam President, it is astonishing to learn how after carrying out detailed investigations, and having informed the United Nations and the US about the involvement of Lashkar-e-Toiba and HUJi terrorist behind the Samjhauta blast, the home ministry has taken a summersault and started to rely upon criminally extorted confessional statement, which has already been retracted by me.”


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