The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday upheld the death sentence given in 2006 by a lower court to three persons accused of attacking the Akshardham temple.
A court set up under the Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act (POTA) had given the 2006 verdict.
The armed attack by two Pakistani terrorists (of Tehriq-e-Qasas, a unit of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyeba) on the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar in September 2002 killed 34 persons, including two commandos.
A Division Bench, while confirming the sentence for Shan Miya (operating from Anantnag in J&K but originally from Bareilly), Mufti Abdul Qayyum Mansuri (Ahmedabad) and Adam Sulaiman Ajmeri (Ahmedabad) said there could be no leniency in the case.
“No lenience can be shown as there was no past incident (involving the accused) …their act of conspiracy and knowingly assisting in the crime which is of very serious nature cannot be overlooked,” the court stated in its judgment on Tuesday. The court also confirmed the life imprisonment given to Mohammed Salim Shaikh, a 10-year jail term for Abdulmiyan Qadri and five years’ prison to Altaf Hussain — all awarded by the POTA court.
“The court has rightly appreciated the evidence and arguments and upheld the punishment given by the POTA court,” said J.M. Panchal, special public prosecutor in the case.
All the six were punished for conspiracy and providing logistical and other support for the two terrorists who attacked devotees in the temple. Both the terrorists were gunned down by the security forces in a commando operation.
(With agency inputs)