There is no closure yet for the families of the Mumbai blast victims | editorials | Hindustan Times
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There is no closure yet for the families of the Mumbai blast victims

The 1993 blast case cannot be closed or rest unless the masterminds behind the attack — global terrorist Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon — who fled the country after the incident, are brought to book

editorials Updated: Sep 07, 2017 18:28 IST
A file photo of extradited gangster Abu Salem who was convicted by a special TADA court in 1993 Mumbai blasts case, in Mumbai on Friday.
A file photo of extradited gangster Abu Salem who was convicted by a special TADA court in 1993 Mumbai blasts case, in Mumbai on Friday. (PTI)

It was one of the deadliest terror attacks on an Indian city in recent times. Thirteen blasts tore though Mumbai, the commercial capital of the country, on March 12, 1993, killing 257 persons. On Thursday, more than 24 years after the incident, an anti-terror court sentenced two convicts to death and three others to between 10 years and a life term in jail. This marks the conclusion of the second leg of the longest-running terror trial in the country.

The trial of these accused – Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Karimullah Khan, Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan, Riyaz Siddiqui, Tahir Merchant and Abdul Quayyum – was separated from the main case, as they were arrested at the time of conclusion of the main trial in 2007. While gangster Abu Salem and Mohd Taher Merchant were deported from Portugal, Dossa was brought by the CBI to face trial from UAE . They faced charges including criminal conspiracy, waging war against the government of India and murder. The allegation against extradited gangster Salem was that he transported arms and ammunition from the Gujarat coast to Mumbai. He also handed over AK-56 rifles, 250 rounds of ammunition, and some hand grenades to actor Sanjay Dutt. According to CBI, Dossa, Merchant and Feroz Khan, were “main conspirators”.

While Thursday’s verdict brings closure to the case as far as the arrested accused are concerned, for the relatives and survivors of the terror incident, the case is far from closed. They believe that the 1993 blast case cannot be closed unless the masterminds behind the attack — global terrorist Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon — who fled the country after the incident, are brought to book. Dawood Ibrahim, who has been in hiding since the blasts, is believed to be in Pakistan. He has alleged ties with terrorist groups including the Lashkar-e-Toiba. He has turned out to be a contentious subject in India-Pakistan relations. While India has repeatedly asserted the presence of Dawood in Pakistan, Pakistan has denied it. Before this, in 2007, the main trial had ended when the Tada Court convicted 100 accused of various offences. Twelve of the accused were awarded the death sentence and 20 sentenced to life imprisonment. But in 2015, deciding the appeals finally, the Supreme Court of India, upheld the death penalty for only person: Yakub Memon. He was hanged on July 30, 2015 in Nagpur Jail.