Bollywood superstar Salman Khan on Sunday mounted a spirited defence of Yakub Memon, who is set to be executed for his role in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, saying his brother Tiger Memon should be hanged instead.
Tiger Memon has been absconding since the blasts that killed 257 people and injured 1,400 more and Indian authorities believe he is in Pakistan.
Salman lashed out at Tiger Memon in about a dozen tweets posted early on Sunday, and asked Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to confirm whether the mob boss is in his country.
“Get tiger hang him. Parade him not his brother,” Salman tweeted. He described Tiger Memon as a ‘lomdi’ or wolf and criticised him for remaining silent at a time when his brother is set to be marched to the gallows.
Yakub Memon, Mumbai blasts convict, loses SC appeal; to be hanged
Salman said he had been wanting to tweet on the issue for three days but had been “afraid to do so” because it involved a man and his family. “Don't hang brother, hang tha lomdi who ran away,” he tweeted.
The actor’s tweets come amidst a raging debate on whether Yakub Memon should be hanged since he had returned to India from Pakistan with the reported intention of clearing his name. The then home minister, SB Chavan, had told the media that Yakub Memon’s arrest had helped “clearly establish beyond doubt that Pakistan was fully involved” in the 1993 bombings.
Yakub Memon, a chartered accountant and the only well-educated member of the Memon family, was found guilty of criminal conspiracy, arranging money for buying vehicles used by the bombers and organising air tickets to Dubai for some of them. He has for long said that he had no direct participation in planning or executing the bombings.
After the Supreme Court dismissed his curative petition, Yakub Memon submitted a mercy petition to the Maharashtra governor. He also approached the Supreme Court afresh for staying his execution. If his pleas are dismissed, he will be hanged at the Nagpur Central Jail on July 30.
Yakub Memon has been behind bars since 1994, when the CBI purportedly arrested him in Kathmandu. Sources in the Mumbai Police department said he had returned voluntarily.
Tiger Memon, along with mob boss Dawood Ibrahim and his brother Anees Ibrahim, are considered to be the key conspirators behind the 1993 blasts.
The underworld has for long had links with Mumbai’s film industry, with reports suggesting that mob bosses used film production to launder their money. It is rare for Bollywood stars to publicly speak out against mob bosses such as Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim, who too is believed to be in Pakistan.
In one of his tweets, Salman posted: "Kidhar chupa hai tiger (Where are you hiding, Tiger)? Hey koi tiger nahi hai hai hai billi aur hum ek billi ko nahi pakad sakteh (He is not a tiger, but a cat whom we can't catch)."
"N no 1 ever Address him as tiger ever. Does not deserve that at all," he added.
"Tiger ki hi to kami hai India mein. Tiger ko Lao (There is a lack of tigers in India, bring back Tiger).”
After posting "we are ready to die for our families", Salman wrote: "Tiger tumhaara bhai kuch Dino mein tumhare liyeh...Phasi k phande pe chardne walla hai . Koi statement. Koi address. (Tiger, your brother is going to be marched to the gallows for you in a few days. Any statement? Any address?)