New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi's offer of legal aid to five Islamic State (IS) suspects arrested from Hyderabad has evoked mixed political reactions, with the Congress on Saturday supporting the move while the BJP termed it "height of vote-bank politics".
"Access to legal aid is a fundamental right in our system. Nobody is guilty unless and until he is proven guilty. I don't see anything wrong in providing legal aid. I don't see the move politically, I see it legally," Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari told IANS.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) derided the move and said politics should not be done on the issue of terrorism.
"It is the height of vote-bank politics. The decision seems to have been made for personal interest. They should do politics on various other issues, but not on terrorism," BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma told IANS.
Taking a dig at the Congress, Sharma said: "Owaisi should not forget that the same mistake was done by the Congress party. Today, you can see where they stand. They should at least learn from the Congress."
Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Tejashwi Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal told IANS: "No politics should be done over the issue of national security. National interest should not be compromised. If someone is found guilty then he must be punished."
"A fair probe should be done and if someone is not a convict, then he should be set free," he added.
Advocate M.S. Khan, defence counsel of IS suspects who are being tried by National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a Delhi Court, observed that it was nothing but Owaisi's 'political stunt'
"Owaisi's legal aid is just an eyewash and political stunt. He is eyeing Uttar Pradesh elections and that's why he made such a statement," Khan told IANS.
"IS suspects were arrested earlier also, but he did not provide legal aid to anyone of them. Suddenly he announced legal aid for the recently arrested IS suspects in Hyderabad, which reflects his tactics for winning the minority votes in the upcoming UP elections. Why is he not supporting other IS suspects arrested in different parts of the country," added Khan.
A city court in Hyderabad on Friday sent the five members of a suspected Islamic State (IS) module to 12-day custody of the National Investigation Agency.