Ten days after it convicted three persons of killing 56 people and injuring over 250 in blasts at three places in 2003, the special Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) court on Thursday pronounced the punishment: “To be hanged by their neck till they are dead.”
Autorickshaw driver Mohammed Hanif Sayed (46), his wife Fehmida (45) and zari worker Ashrat Shafiq Ansari (32) stood unfazed in court as special judge M.R. Puranik sentenced them to death, indicating the case to be rarest of rare.
“Justice has been delivered,” special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said.
Hanif alleged: “Yeh judgment court ka nahi hai, Ujjwal Nikam dictate karvaya hai (this is not the court’s judgment, it has been dictated by Ujjwal Nikam).”
The verdict will now be referred to the Bombay High Court for confirmation.
The Pota court had on July 27 found the Sayeds guilty of planting bombs in two taxis that exploded at the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazar in south Mumbai —– killing 54 and injuring 244 — on August 25, 2003.
Ashrat and Fehmida were also held guilty of planting a bomb aboard a BEST bus in Ghatkopar on July 28, 2003 killing two and injuring 10.
The Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyeba had recruited them. The blasts were carried out to avenge the death of Muslims in the 2002 post-Godhra riots.