Even as the support for Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt's pardon is growing every day, another convict in the 1993 Mumbai blasts has sought pardon.
Actor Sanjay Dutt was convicted for illegal possession of a 9 mm pistol and an AK-56 rifle. The Supreme Court sentenced him to five years in jail. However, Press Council of India chairman Markandey Katju, the actor's family members, his friends from the film industry and various political leaders have sought Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan to pardon him based on humanitarian grounds.
Now, a woman convict has appealed to the Maharashtra governor seeking pardon. Seventy-year-old Zaibunisa Kazi has been convicted for the same charges as Sanjay Dutt. Justice Kajtu, who was criticized for seeking pardon for Dutt, has said that he would write to Sankaranarayanan and President Pranab Mukherjee to pardon Zaibunissa Kazi.
"Zaibunissa Kazi also deserves a pardon. I was earlier considering her case and after going through her judgement file, I am of the firm opinion that she also deserves a pardon," Katju said in his blog.
"I have decided to appeal to the president of India as well as the governor of Maharashtra to pardon Zaibunnisa and Sanjay Dutt."
Earlier, Katju said that he received an e-mail from Zaibunisa's daughter Shagufta appealing him to seek pardon for her mother. "The only charge on which she has been convicted is possessing some prohibited weapons. It was not disputed that no recovery of any weapon was made from her house. In my respectful opinion she should at least have been given the benefit of doubt," Katju said, according to Inod-Asian News Service (IANS).
He said that Zaibunissa has various ailments and she would not be able to survive for long in jail, adding that she deserved to be pardoned.
On 12 March, 1993, a series of bomb blasts rocked Mumbai killing 257 people and injuring more than 700. Last week, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of Yakub Memon in connection with the 1993 Mumbai blasts. The court also commuted the death sentences of 10 others to life.