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Mahesh Bhatt lends support to blast convicts' families
Family members and relatives of the 1993 blast convicts who will Tuesday protest against the alleged "soft" treatment to Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt, found support from an unlikely quarter Monday - that of noted Bollywood filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt.
Speaking at a news conference on the 5th National Assembly of Diocesan Directors of Social Work's Caritas India 2007, Bhatt said: "I am fully with the family members and relatives of the 1993 blasts convicts in their protests against any devastative consequences of justice. However, we must ensure that Sanjay is not robbed off justice due to him. He is not a terrorist."
Asked whether he would be physically present at the protest rally, the filmmaker said: "I cannot turn a blind eye to any injustice taking place in my backyard. I stand with the families of the convicts. Everyone is equal in the eye of the judicial system. The blasts convicts too have equal rights as anyone else."
Dutt was convicted by the special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Preventive) Act (TADA) court in November last year, but absolved of charges of terror conspiracy that led to the March 12, 1993 serial bombings here.
The blasts had killed at least 257 people.
The actor was given time to surrender on three occasions. On Jan 18, the court had extended Sanjay's surrender date till Feb 6.
Sanjay's co-accused, who had been very supportive during the 14 years of trial, now feel that the actor had got it off easy due to his stardom and strong political connections.
"Sanjay is been given extension of time to surrender repeatedly. When our relatives have been asked to surrender, how can Sanjay get away so easily for the same offence?" asked a close associate of one of the convicts who propose to stage a protest outside the Arthur Road jail Tuesday.