It was a Friday. As usual, Mumbai, then Bombay, was bustling with activities. But everything came to a standstill at 1.30 pm when the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) was hit by a powerful explosion. It was a car bomb that went off in the basement of the BSE building. More than 50 people were killed.
Many more were injured. In total, there were 13 bomb explosions in the city, leaving 257 people dead and more than 700 injured. Zaveri Bazaar, Air India building, Hotel Sea Rock, Hotel Centaur, Hotel Airport Centaur, Katha Bazaar and the passport office were all hit.
After 22 years of that bloodbath in Mumbai, one of the accused, Yakub Memon, was finally found guilty by the TADA court on April 29 and was sentenced to death.
Last week, Memon, who is to be hanged on July 30, moved the Supreme Court and asked it to stop his execution on the ground that the death warrant issued by the lower court was illegal. The Supreme Court will hear the plea of the convict today.
Earlier, a three-judge SC bench had rejected Memon’s curative petition, saying the grounds raised by him did not conform to the principles laid down by the apex court in 2002.
The case has re-ignited a debate on capital punishment and there are many who have called the practice ‘barbaric’. Way back in 1978, Barrington Moore, an American sociologist, wrote a book Injustice in which he argued against capital punishment. Many here are demanding that the news of ‘hanging’ should not be publicised and the execution should be kept a secret till the job is done.
But may I ask what kind of pain and anguish the families of those murdered must have gone through? What was the crime of those who were attacked? They were innocent people who had nothing to do with the demolition of the Babri masjid.
The operation was financed by smugglers in Pakistan. Funds were provided by underworld kingpins. Logistics support was given by criminals in Bombay.
The argument that Memon did not execute the attacks and that he did not have grenades and bombs in his hand does not hold water since he helped the planners execute the blasts. Instead of showing compassion for Memon, those who speak against his death sentence must show compassion for those who lost their own in the 1993 blasts.
Read:Politicians, judges urge President to stay Yakub Memon's execution
(RK Sinha is a MP, Rajya Sabha. The views expressed are personal.)