BJP’s claim of political angle behind ‘beautification’ of Yakub Memon's grave holds no water

A family member of Yakub Memon, executed for his role in 1993 Mumbai blasts case, had used marble for the grave, and lights were installed on the occasion of ‘Shab-e-Barat’, said a cemetery source

BJP’s claim of political angle behind ‘beautification’ of Yakub Memon's grave holds no water

Santoshee Gulabkali Mishra

A political row erupted in Maharashtra on Thursday after BJP MLA Ram Kadam shared pictures of the 'beautified grave' of convicted terrorist Yakub Memon whose mortal remains were buried at the Bada Qabrastan cemetery of South Mumbai after he was executed.

Kadam shared the photographs of the grave covered with marble tiles and lit with LED lights. He sought to give a political angle to it by alleging that Memon’s burial ground had been transformed into a tomb during the tenure of the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government.

Memon was hanged in 2015 following his conviction in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, after his mercy petition was turned down. He was laid to rest in Bada Qabrastan on July 30, 2015.

A source at Bada Qabrastan, however, said that the LED lights at Memon’s grave were installed on the occasion of ‘Shab-e-Barat’ (when Muslims offer prayers to the loved ones buried in the cemetery). According to reports, the Mumbai police has now removed these fixtures.

“It is a regular practice during Shab-e-Barat to install such lights so that people can come and offer their prayers. However, the beautification of Yakub Memon’s grave was done by a close family member, who sought and received all valid permissions from the trust to use marble on the grave," said the source.

In a press conference, BJP leader Kirit Somaiya alleged that the Uddhav Thackeray-led government had ‘double standards’ since the Shiv Sena had dubbed Congress leader Aslam Shaikh as a ‘traitor’ in 2015 for demanding the commutation of Yakub Memon's death sentence.

He contended that the same individual had become a ‘patriot’ for the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, being appointed as a minister.

Somaiya said, “Uddhav, your government is weird. Traitors have now become patriots. In the 2015 Maharashtra Assembly session, Aslam Shaikh had demanded that the death sentence of Yakub Memon should be commuted. Then, BJP and Shiv Sena MLAs had disrupted the House six times. Aslam Shaikh was labelled as a traitor. Later, Aslam Shaikh become a minister in the Uddhav Thackeray government.”

Kadam said that Thackeray, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi should apologise to the people of Mumbai for the ‘beautification’ of the grave of the convicted terrorist whose acts had claimed hundreds of lives.

Sources, however, revealed, that the plot for the grave was bought privately and the family had the right to build the grave the way it wished to. They also hinted at a family dispute being behind the whole controversy.

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