AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi today strongly defended his decision to provide legal aid to the five city-based youths arrested by NIA on charges of being involved in an alleged ISIS terror module, saying there is nothing wrong in it.
"If legal aid is fundamental right, then why should these people have trouble or why are they in so much pain?" the Hyderabad Lok Sabha MP told PTI, hitting back at critics who slammed his move.
"If we as a nation can provide lawyer to a Pakistani dreaded terrorist (Ajmal Kasab), why not these Indian citizens who have been definitely charged, but it's now for NIA to prove beyond reasonable doubt their involvement. I don't know why they (his critics) are so much in pain when I am talking about fundamental rights," Owaisi said.
"Why isn't the same argument being used for the lawyers who are representing Aseemanand (Mecca Masjid blast case), Pragya Thakur (Malegaon blast case)? Are you trying to say that those lawyers (representing Aseemanand and Pragya) are nationalists? And what I am doing it anti-national?" he asked.
Owaisi alleged that after Mecca Masjid blast in 2007, more than 80 Muslim boys were picked up, tortured, and kept in illegal detection for a week, and later on it emerged that they were not involved, and the then state government was forced to give Rs one lakh compensation to each of them.
He asked as to why the NIA had not appealed against the bail that was given to Aseemanand, who is "still an accused" in the case.
"Why did they (NIA) conveniently allow the 90 days to lapse? Why is nobody asking why has the NIA given clean chit to Sadhvi (Pragya Thakur) which was later on struck down by the NIA court, and the NIA court had to say that she has prima facie case to answer for the conspiracy of Malegaon (blast) and also that motorcycle is in her name. So, why did the NIA discharge?" he further sought to know.
On BJP's allegation that he is giving "oxygen" to terrorists and he is "seen as standing with extremists", Owaisi said: "To me it's quite perplexing that the latest video of ISIS shows me as a supporter of Hindu nation which India is not. And it calls me a non-Muslim. And then these people also call me names that I am supporting (terrorists).
"So, it's good. It clearly shows that I am a thorn for both Sangh Parivar and also ISIS," he added.
Owaisi had last week said his party would provide legal help to the five youths arrested by the NIA on charges of involvement in an alleged ISIS terror module, but asserted his party does not support terrorism.