`Islam for peace, bombers left path'

Rebecca Samervel, Mumbai

October 09, 2015 : The Times of India (Mumbai)

11/7 Blasts Verdict: Judge Quotes From TOI's Speaking Tree

Holding up an article from TOI's popular spiritual column Speaking Tree, special judge Yatin Shinde highlighted how the convicts in the 117 serial train blasts case had strayed from their own religious beliefs.

Reproduced at the end of the 1,839page judgment made available to the 12 convicts on Wednesday , the piece stresses on the message of peace that Islam is. Five bomb planters have been sentenced to death and seven others handed life sentences in the tragedy that claimed 188 lives.

The judge said in the context of the nature of the crime and its purpose, the words of Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan in the TOI publication, The Speaking Tree, on November 9, 2014, were very relevant.“It was in connection with the deadly suicide bomb attack that took place on November 2, 2014, at Wagah border in Pakistan. He pleaded that terrorists need to come out of their primitive, violent mindsets by getting educated and embracing peaceful methods.(They had) strayed from their own religion,“ the judge said.

In another part of his judgment, Shinde relied heavily on the statement of a witness who was in touch with convicted bomb planter and key conspirator Faisal Shaikh to establish the conspiracy . Mohammed Alam had told the court that he and Shaikh used to frequent dance bars. Shaikh had urged him to think of their religion and said that for all the atrocities that are being committed on Muslims, the only way out was jihad. The witness said he was shocked when Shaikh told him that he had dedicated his life to jihad.

The defence had sought to discredit Alam, saying his activities like drinking liquor, going to dance bars and having close relations with a dancer were prohibited by Islam. Such a per son could be lured by the police to give false statements and lie under oath.

The court held that it was not up to it to decide whether a person acted according to religion or not. “It is a question in these modern days as to how many Muslims, or for that matter Hindus or persons of any religion, follow their religion scrupulously . If they had followed their religion scrupulously , there would not have been crimes of murder, rape and bomb blasts, etc,“ the judge said.