A controversy has erupted over the "beautification" of the burial place of 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon in Mumbai, with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleging that attempts were made to turn it into a shrine of sorts during the tenure of the previous Uddhav Thackeray-led government.
Mumbai Police on Thursday, 8 September, removed the LED lights put around the grave of the terror convict, who was hanged at Nagpur jail in 2015 and buried at the Bada Qabrastan in south Mumbai.
DCP Level Police Officer To Probe the Matter
A DCP level police officer will probe how the LED lights and marble tiles came to “adorn” the terror convict's grave, an official said.
While some Maharashtra BJP leaders claimed that the grave was converted into a tomb while Uddhav Thackeray was the chief minister, the Thackeray-led faction of Shiv Sena said that the whole issue was an attempt to divert people's attention from more important issues like inflation and unemployment.
State BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule said Thackeray should apologise to the people of Mumbai and Maharashtra for the “beautification” attempt of the grave of a person responsible for killing 250 people. Another local BJP leader said NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi should also apologise over the issue.
"Grave of terrorist Yakub Memon who executed 1993 Bombay bombings at Pakistan's behest, converted into a Mazar when Uddhav Thackeray was CM. Is this his love for Mumbai, patriotism? Sharad Pawar, Rahul Gandhi & he should apologise to people of Mumbai," BJP MLA Ram Kadam said, as per news agency ANI.
'Beautification' Not Wrong, It's a Symbol of Love: National Conference Leader
In a retort to Kadam's statement, Shiv Sena's Anand Dubey said, "I'd like to ask Ram Kadam what he was doing when the grave of terrorist Yakub Memon got converted into a Mazar... Now that our govt is not in power, you tweeted some photos to defame our leaders?... we didn't have anything to do with Yakub Memon."
Meanwhile, speaking to ANI, National Conference (NC) leader Mustafa Kamal said that the "beautification" was not wrong and that it was a display of love.
"It's a display of love. It neither weakens religion nor is it wrong. He died. But people, whose lives became better because of him will pay him tribute. See there are tombs for Nur Jahan, Akbar and so on. In Islam, it is our duty to pay respects to people who helped us, did good things for us," Kamal said.
A police official said halogen lights were installed in the Bada Qabrastan on the occasion of Badi Raat (Shab-e-Barat) and have been removed by the Qabrastan trustees.
Shab-e-Barat is a major celebration for the Muslim community and is also known as the night of fortune and forgiveness.
The marble tiles around Memon's grave were put up three years ago, he said. There are 13 other graves at the place, he added.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI.)