Posted by: informer | November 9, 2008

Malegaon blasts: BJP, Sena line up lawyers for Sadhvi

New Delhi, November 2 : When Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, alleged to have a hand in the Malegaon blasts, is produced in a Nashik court on Monday, she will be defended by a battery of legal eagles. Both the BJP and Shiv Sena have requisitioned lawyers — some local, some from outside — to argue the cases of Pragya and two others whose police custody ends Monday. Contributing to the battle for Hindutva territory will be workers of both parties, asked to be present “in full strength” outside the court.While the central BJP on Sunday maintained that “an accused has a right to legal aid, but it’s not the job of an institution to do the job” (in an apparent reference to the row over Jamia Millia Islamia promising legal aid to students implicated in the Batla House encounter), the party’s Maharashtra unit has been working overtime to ensure Pragya gets “adequate legal assistance”.

“A Nashik-based lawyer, who is also a former Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh functionary, is coordinating the effort with various lawyers,” Nashik BJP chief Vijay Sane told The Indian Express.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said there would be “at least four lawyers”. And Madhya Pradesh Minister Kailash Vijayvargeeya, who has known Pragya since her ABVP days, has sent in an Indore-based lawyer to “coordinate between the accused and local lawyers”.

Asked if the BJP was trying to steal a march over the Sena, Raut said: “Where were they till yesterday? Neither the BJP nor the RSS was to be seen while Saamna openly supported Pragya…”

BJP’s Prakash Javdekar said, “The Jamia controversy was about attempts to use university funds to provide aid to the accused in a Terror attack. That’s not the university’s job… An accused, otherwise, has full right to legal assistance.”

Jamia V-C Prof Mushirul Hasan refused to comment.

“On Monday, we will oppose any extension of police custody for the Sadhvi. Next, we’ll move the bail plea,” said one of the lawyers engaged by the BJP. Another lawyer said, “the Sadhvi is not accompanied by policewomen, and thus, it’s also a case of human rights violation”.

Sanjay Bhudhar, Naveen Chomal and Subhash Jape are among lawyers engaged by the local BJP. Some practise in Bombay High Court, others in Supreme Court.


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