11 years after horror struck, victims recall Jaipur Serial blasts
Jaipur, Dec 19: More than 11 years after serial bomb blasts rocked Jaipur leaving nearly 70 people dead and 185 injured, a special court here on Wednesday convicted four people for murder, criminal conspiracy, sedition and other offences in the terror attack case, while acquitting one of the accused.
Arguments on the quantum of sentence will take place on Thursday. The convicts face a maximum punishment of death penalty.
Special judge Ajay Kumar Sharma convicted Mohammad Saif, Mohammad Sarwar Azmi, Mohammad Salman and Saifurrehman, public prosecutor Srichand said.
The judge gave benefit of doubt to Shahbaz Hussain, who was acquitted, he said.
The verdict was pronounced amid tight security and all the accused were present in the courtroom.
"The conviction was under IPC sections 302 (punishment for murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 324 (causing hurt by dangerous weapons, means), 326 (causing hurt by acid attack), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 121-A (Conspiring to commit certain offences against State).
"They were also convicted under 124-A (sedition), 153-A (promoting disharmony) and sections of Explosive Substances Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act," the public prosecutor said.
Shahbaz Hussain, a resident of Lucknow, was accused of sending email to police authorities claiming responsibility for the blasts on behalf of the terrorists' organisation- Indian Mujahideen. He was arrested by the police in August 2008 and has been under judicial custody since then.
Suresh Vyas, amicus curie for Shahbaz, said that the allegations against him could not be proved and therefore he was acquitted.
Apart from these five, three accused involved in the blast, namely Shadab, Mohammad Khalid and Sajid, are still absconding, while two accused, Mohammad Atif and Chhota Sajid, were killed in Batla house encounter (Delhi) in September 2008.
The serial blasts occurred on May 13, 2018 evening within a span of few minutes at Manak Chawk Khanda, Chandpole gate, Badi Chaupad, Chhoti Chaupad, Tripolia gate, Johri Bazar, Sanganeri gate, within a radius of two kilometres in the crowded walled city area which is also visited by a large number of tourists.
Bicycles were used for planting the bombs. The first blast had occurred at Manak Chawk, near the famous monument Hawa Mahal.
Explosions also occurred outside Hanuman temples at Chandpole and Sanganeri. As it was a Tuesday, a large number of devotees, as well as vendors, were present at these sites.
"I was standing outside Chandpole Hanuman temple when I heard a loud explosion. I was injured and fell unconscious. I had to be in the hospital for nearly three months. It was a scary day which I can never forget," Hanuman Prasad, a rickshaw puller, said.
Rajendra Sahu, whose wife Sushila Devi was injured in the terror attack and was in coma for nearly four years before passing away, said that those behind the attack should get death penalty as they had destroyed so many families.
"My wife had gone to visit the Chandpole Hanuman temple but the blast took place before she could get into the temple. She got injured and was in coma for nearly four years. She eventually died. It was a big loss for my family and I wish those involved in the blasts get death penalty," Sahu said.