“Allah-oh-Akbar-Nara-e-Takbir Allah-oh-Akbar (God is great),” shouted the now deceased former Iraq President Saddam Hussein when he was sentenced to death.
A similar scene played out in the special Terrorist And Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court on Tuesday when three convicts in the 1993 serial blasts case were given the capital punishment.
After special judge Pramod Kode sentenced Ferooz Amani Mallik, Zakir Hussein Shaikh and Abdul Akhtar Khan to death, they said: “Yeh galaat hai. Muslalmano ko aisi hi phassi ki sazaa milengi. Hamare ghar, dukhaan loote gaye, phir bhi humko phaasi mili. Yeh kaunsa insaaf hai? Allah-oh-Akbar. (This is wrong. Muslims will always be hanged. Our houses and shops were looted but still we are being given the maximum punishment. What kind of justice is this? God is great).”
Kode merely said: “If you don’t like my judgment, you can go to a higher court. Nobody is stopping you.”
Kode’s words didn’t stop the three, who kept saying the court was being unfair. Mallik, who was on bail for four-and-a-half months, said: “I should not have returned in custody. That the court and the judiciary are fair is an illusion.”
Shaikh later told HT: “Our case was proved beyond reasonable doubt by our lawyers. But the court has totally overlooked it and given us the harsh punishment.”
The three bombers were sentenced for lobbying grenades at the Mahim Fishermen’s colony, undergoing arms and ammunition training in Pakistan and being involved in the conspiracy. The court sentenced a fourth convict on the same charges but Moin Qureshi was given a life term because he was a minor (17 years, three months) at the time of the offence which was considered, under the law at the time of the incidents.
While sentencing Qureshi, Kode said: “A young mind is not mature to be able to understand and evaluate the situation, because of which the lesser sentence is being given.”
But Kode was stern with the other three, saying their act was synonymous to waging war. “The three went to Mahim fishermen colony and threw grenades on shanties in which three people died and six were injured. They have no regard for law.”
The TADA court has so far sentenced 91 of the 100 convicted in the 1993 serial blasts case, which killed over 250 and injured over 700. Ten bomb planters have been given the death sentence and 17 convicts, including two bomb planters, have been given life terms.
On Wednesday, the court is likely to pronounce the sentence against Farooq Pawale, who is said to have been an ISI agent. Pawale has been convicted for planting bombs at the Air India building and at the petrol pump near Shiv Sena Bhavan in Dadar.