Mohammed Yusuf Pawale, convicted in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case died at Yerawada Jail hospital on Tuesday night at 10 pm, just two days before a meeting was to be held to discuss his parole.
Pawale was undergoing treatment for pulmonary hypertension and was even admitted to Sassoon General Hospital for about 10 days. However, relatives have alleged that his death occurred due to serious breach of security at the jail premises.
According to family members, inmates at Yerawada Jail have been burning polythene inside the barracks to ward off mosquitoes, which may have caused serious respiratory problems to Pawale. This practice also raises serious questions over lack of stringent checks to ensure that flammable items such as matchboxes or lighters don’t fall into wrong hands. Pawale, who was at Yerawada Jail for the last seven years, was an asthma patient, which turned into pulmonary hypertension. “His treatment was being carried out by the medical centre at the jail for the last two days,” informed Yogesh Desai, jail superintendent at Yerawada. Pawale was given a death sentence, which was later converted to life imprisonment. Speaking to MiD DAY, Pawale’s wife Shabnam said, “He was healthy. However, regular burning of plastic and other materials inside the prison led to respiratory problems. When I met him in the hospital last week, doctors were not treating him properly. On Monday, when I went again to the jail to ask him about his condition, he told me that they are not giving him good medication and food.”
Pawale’s elder son Anwar too alleged that the authorities were not feeding his ailing father. “When we went to meet him at Sassoon Hospital, police pulled me out of the ward and threatened and beat me up. When we tried to give my father some fruits, cops prevented us and put him on saline,” he said.
Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) Meeran Borwankar said, “We have given best possible treatment we could in this case. I have looked at all the papers regarding the same. This is the first time I’ve heard of burning plastic in the prison.”
Who was Pawale?
Mohammed Farook Mohammed Yusuf Pawale was found guilty by the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (TADA) court of carrying out bomb blasts on March 12, 1993 at Lucky Petrol pump near Sena Bhavan and at the Air India building at Nariman Point, which killed 20 people and injured 84 others. Pawale had even visited Pakistan for arms training.