Just day before hearing on the plea in Supreme Court of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, the sole death row convict in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, seeking stay of execution of his death sentence scheduled for July 30 many opinions are emerging on whether Memon should be hang or not.
Bollywood superstar Salman Khan on Sunday created a storm by describing Yakub Memon, the Mumbai blasts convict scheduled to be hanged on July 30, as innocent but was forced to withdraw his tweets and tender unconditional apology following outrage from political parties and social media.
Basking in the glory of his film Bajrangi Bhaijaan’s success, the 49-year-old actor posted about a dozen tweets from about 2 am early today in which he said the wrong man is being hung for the crimes of his brother Tiger Memon who was described by the actor as a ‘lomdi'(fox) who ran away.
His tweets sparked a furore and were dubbed as “objectionable” and also led to protests by BJP workers outside Khan’s residence in suburban Bandra, BJP and ally Shiv Sena demanded cancellation of the actor’s bail in the 2002 hit-and-run case. A Shiv Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande even called Khan Anti-national.
Ujjwal Nikam, the special prosecutor in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, took a strong exception to Khan’s tweets in defence of Yakub, and said the actor must withdraw them.
Speaking to PTI, Nikam said, “Tweets made by Salman Khan are highly objectionable” and were an attempt to “undermine the image of the Indian Judiciary.”
However, after the sparking furore Salman Khan deleted his earlier tweets, Khan said that his father Salim Khan called him and said he should retract his tweets as they had the potential to create “misunderstanding”.
“My dad called & said I should retract my tweets as they have the potential to create misunderstanding. I hereby retract them”.
I would like to unconditionally apologise for any misunderstanding I may have created unintentionally,” he said in a series of tweets in the evening.
Asked about Salman’s earlier tweets, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “Anyone and everyone in this country should respect the law of this country. No one is above the law of the country. The case has been going on in various courts of law for last 20 years.”
Congress said that the Supreme Court verdict should be respected and all must “follow the course of the law”
Congress leader Digvijay Singh said the court’s decision has come and “we must all follow the course of the law”.
“Terrorism has no caste or religion or sect. Whoever is involved in terrorism- whether Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian must be dealt with severity? I do not know whether Yakub Memon surrendered himself or was arrested. But the court’s decision has come, and we must all follow the course of the law,” he said.
Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray said such remarks should not be given much importance.
Nothing will move forward if we start thinking and pondering about tweets of individuals. . . . It would be better to overlook such remarks because if tweets start deciding judicial verdicts then what is the point of going to the Supreme Court?” he said to a query on the issue.
CPI leader D Raja said they are opposed to capital punishment.
“Coming to this concrete issue, crime is to be punished but not by giving death penalty,” he said.
Former Supreme Court judge justice Markandey Katju came out in Yakub’s support saying that there has been gross travesty of justice in his case.
Justice Katju said after carefully studying the judgement of the court, he found that the evidence on which he was found guilty are very weak.