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Muslim League to seek release of Maadani

NEW DELHI: Indian Union Muslim League, the key ally of the ruling Congress party in the southern state of Kerala, said yesterday it would take initiative to ensure trial or release of Abdunnasar Maadani, who is jailed in the neighboring Karnataka state on terror charges.
“He deserves humanitarian consideration and the state government should intervene to ensure that. We don’t expect the Karanataka government (of Bharatiya Janata Party) to do justice,” IUML general secretary KPA Majeed said in a statement here.
The cleric, who founded the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and unsuccessfully fielded a candidate in the 2009 general elections with the support of the communists, was soon picked up from his headquarters in Kerala by Karnataka sleuths and charged with planting bombs in India’s software hub of Bangalore.
He has since been in jail without trial or bail though he went up to the Supreme Court seeking release on humanitarian grounds. Civil rights activists and his party workers who visited him say the 48-year-old, who is an acute diabetic patient, has partly lost his eyesight and his health is deteriorating day by day.
The Karnataka High Court had last month permitted him to seek treatment in a hospital of his choice under police escort. Charged with conspiring the 2008 July blasts along with 30 other persons, he was arrested in 2010 and incarcerated in Parappana Agrahara jail where he had remained since.
“The public opinion in Kerala about Maadani is that nobody should be kept in jail without trial or bail and should get justice. We don’t subscribe to his politics but we’ll be in the forefront protect his human rights,” said Industries Minister PK Kunhalikutty, a senior IUML leader.
In January, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had written to his Karnataka counterpart seeking his intervention to ensure better health care facilities and speedy disposal of the cases pending against him following Opposition Leader VS Achuthanandan, who was the chief minister when Ma’dani was arrested.
Ma’dani, who was acquitted in 2008 after being imprisoned by the neighboring Tamil Nadu state for nearly a decade as an under-trial in the 1998 Coimbatore serial blasts, was an ally of the opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) until his arrest in connection with the Bangalore blasts during which one woman was killed.
Interestingly the LDF was in power during both these arrests and it was listed as an achievement of LDF rule earlier.
Karnataka Police registered the case against him following the arrest of Thadiyantavide Nazir, an activist of the now-defunct Islamic Sevak Sangh, which Madani headed before he dissolved the outfit and entered electoral politics through PDP before he went to jail.
Ma’dani claims he was framed and at least two of the prosecution witnesses have since denied to have given statements against him and that they were forced to sign in documents written in Kannada which they cannot read or write. However, Karanataka government insists that the investigators have gathered strong evidence against Ma’dani.
In 2009, National Investigation Agency (NIA) sleuths probing terrorism-related activities arrested his wife Sufiya Ma’dani for her alleged role in burning a bus owned by Tamil Nadu in 2005 while her husband was imprisoned there. She was later released on bail.
Thadiyantavide Nazeer, former Maadani aide and alleged selfstyled south Indian commander of Lashkar-e-Toiba, is the prime accused in the case while Sufiya Ma’dani figures 10th on the list of defendants. They are charged with treason and conspiracy to wage war against the state. The bus burning case probe gathered momentum after Nazeer was reportedly arrested in Bangladesh and handed over to India.