Mecca Masjid Blast Case Verdict: Swami Aseemanand, main accused in the Mecca Masjid blast case of 2007, has been acquitted by a special NIA court in Hyderabad. The blast at the historic Mecca Masjid of Hyderabad during Friday prayers on May 18, 2007 had claimed nine lives and injured 58 people. The court acquitted Aseemanand for want of evidence.
According to Arvind J Bosmia, an Ahmedabad-based journalist who was a friend of Aseemanand for 11 years, the real name of Aseemanand is Jitendranath Chatterjee. He was born at Karmapur of Hooghly district in West Bengal. Bosmia described Aseemanand in an article on rediff.com in January 2011 as “A man of deep passion and relentless commitment to the tribal welfare, he displayed no interest in anything which had no connection with the tribal world.”
Aseemanand is also referred to as Nabakumar Sarkar alias Ramdas of Gujarat.
Reports say that Asseemanad was initially attracted to teachings of Swami Vivekananda and later got inclined to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He had worked for several years with RSS’ Adivasi Kalyan Ashram (VKA) in Andaman and Nicobar island and other tribal areas. In 2005, the RSS had awarded Aseemanad with “Guruji Samman” on the occasion of the birth centenary of MS Golwalkar.
Assemanand was named in several blast cases including Samjhauta Express (February 2007), Hyderabad Mecca Masjid (May 2007), Ajmer Dargah (October 2007). He was also accused in the two attacks in Malegaon (September 2006 and September 2008). All of these blast incidents took a total of 119 lives.
In the Mecca blast case, only five people – Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Swami Aseemanand alias Naba Kumar Sarkar, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai and Rajendra Chowdhary – were arrested and faced trial. Two accused in the case – Sandeep V Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra – were absconding while one Sunil Joshi was dead.
In March last year, Assemanand was granted bail in the Mecca Masjid blast case. He was arrested on 19 November 2010 from Haridwar and lodged in the Chanchalguda Central Prison after he was acquitted in the Ajmer blast case by a Jaipur court. The Indian Express reports that Aseemanand was arrested after he given a written declaration that he and several members of Abhinav Bharat had conspired and executed the blast at the Mecca Masjid.
The Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad was executed through a pipe bomb that ripped through the mosque. As many as eight people were kileld on the spot, while five other were killed when police opened fire to quell a mob. As many as 38 Muslim youth initially detailed on the suspicion that they were behind the planning and execution of the case.
The Hyderabad police had registered the first case at Hussaini Alam Police Station. The was, however, transferred to the CBI on 7 June 2007 and later to NIA on April 7, 2011.
The CBI and NIA had filed chargesheet against 10 members of Abhinav Bharat including Aseemanand.
The NIA has said it will examine the court judgment after getting a copy of the Mecca Masjid Blast case verdict and decide further course of action