Government urged to help Kashmiri freed in 1996 blast case
New Delhi: A forceful plea was made in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday for rehabilitating a Kashmiri youth who has been acquitted in the Lajpat Nagar bombing case after spending 14 years in jail.
"What do we as a society owe to Syed Maqbool Shah?" CPI-M leader Brinda Karat asked during question hour. "Can we shrug this off as collateral damage? It will be a shame if we do."
The government must guarantee a secure life and livelihood for him, she added.
"The central government must ensure that he gets a job so that this sends out a strong message to our brothers and sisters in Jammu and Kashmir that such incidents will not be tolerated," Karat said.
She also wondered why such trials take so long.
"The questions is: Why does it take 14 long years? There must be a time bound framework for such trials to conclude," Karat said.
"Shah was only 17 years old when he was arrested (in 1996). The tragedy is that he had come (to Delhi) to meet his brother. He was arrested on what has now proved to be blatantly false evidence," she said.
As Karat concluded, SS Ahluwalia and other Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members rose in her support, prompting Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan to remark: "The house associates itself (with Karat's statement)."
Shah was among the four accused acquitted April 8 by a Delhi court for lack of evidence to prove their involvement in the May 2, 1996 bombing in Lajpat Nagar's Central Market that claimed 13 lives.
Three convicts in the case have been sentenced to death and three others have been awarded varying terms of imprisonment.