Political Brawl As Terrorist Yakub Memon’s Grave Seems to get a ‘Makeover’
MUMBAI, (IANS) – Seven years after terrorist Yakub Abdul Razzak Memon was hanged to death, a major political controversy has ignited over the reported ‘make-over’ of his grave at the Bada Qabrastan in south Mumbai.
Following an uproar and a political free-for-all among BJP, Shiv Sena, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has ordered a probe into the matter.
Memon, 53, was convicted for his role in the March 12, 1993, Mumbai blasts, and hanged after all his pleas for pardon/clemency up to the President were rejected.
The original earthen grave, where Memon was buried, recently got a face-lift with a gleaming marble grave coming up there, amid flood-lighting — and apprehensions — that the terrorist’s final resting place would soon become a ‘mazar’ (mausoluem).
Acting swiftly, the Mumbai Police yanked off the lighting arrangements in Bada Qabrastan on September 8, as a political dogfight erupted.
NCP’s Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar said that there cannot be glorification of any terrorist and the beautification of Memon’s grave should not be permitted.
Blaming its bete-noire and ex-ally Shiv Sena, BJP spokesperson Ram Kadam asked why the ex-Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray kept silent when Memon’s grave was being converted into a shrine.
Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande dismissed the BJP’s allegations and said when Memon was hanged, the BJP government was in power both in the Centre and state — here Devendra Fadnavis was the CM and home minister.
“Why did he allow Memon’s body to be handed over to his family? What prevented the BJP government in the Centre and state to formulate a policy on how to deal with the mortal remains of terror convicts or other dreaded criminals,” Kayande asked.
Congress Chief Spokesperson Atul Londhe said that during the UPA tenure, two dreaded terrorists were hanged but their bodies were secretly disposed of to prevent their graves from becoming a rallying point in future. While Afzal Guru was executed in February 2013 in the Tihar Jail of Delhi, Pakistani extremist Ajmal Kasab was hanged in Yerawada Central Jail in Pune. “The BJP — which was in power then — deliberately gave Memon’s body to the family for elaborate funerals. Their intention is to create communal divide. Even when the Al-Qaeda terrorist Osama Bin Laden was killed by US forces, his body was dumped in the sea,” Londhe pointed out.