Two Pak nationals among 4 awarded death penalty for UP CRPF camp attack
A court in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur on Saturday sentenced to death four out of the six men convicted of carrying out a terror attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp on New Year’s day in 2008 that left eight people dead. Of the remaining two convicts, one was sentenced to a life term and the other to 10 years in prison.
Sanjay Kumar Singh, additional district judge (III) of Rampur, handed the death sentence to Mohammed Sharif, Imran Shahzad, Mohammed Farooq and Sabauddin, who were found guilty on Friday of direct involvement in the attack..
The fifth convict, Jang Bahadur, received a life term and Fahim Ansari, who was found guilty of holding fake passports and illegal weapons, a 10-year jail term although though he was acquitted of the charge of waging war against the state.
Seven CRPF personnel and a rickshaw puller were killed in a pre-dawn terror attack, blamed on the Lashkar-e-Taiba,on the CRPF Group Centre in Rampur on January 1, 2008.
Imran Shahzad and Mohammed Farooq belong to Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, Sabauddin is from Madhubani in Bihar and Jang Bahadur from Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad. Mohammed Sharif is from Khajuria village in Rampur and Fahim Ansari from Goregaon, Mumbai. The court acquitted two suspects, Gulab Khan and Kausar Farooqi, of Bareilly and Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh respectively, on Friday.
The six convicts were brought to court under heavy security and produced before the additional district judge for pronouncement of the sentence at around 2 pm.
Defence lawyer MS Khan said he was relieved that Gulab Khan and Kausar Farooqi had been acquitted. “Fahim Ansari has also been acquitted of the serious charge. We will appeal against the verdict in the high court because the prosecution has not been able to establish their links with each other or with the Lashkar-e-Taiba,” he said.
Gulab Khan said he wasn’t even told the reason for his arrest by the anti-terrorist squad (ATS) for three months after he was held. “I was 30 when the ATS picked me up. I am 42 now,” he said, adding that he had full faith in the judicial system and was confident that ultimately the truth would prevail.
Khan, who was awarded a warm welcome at his hometown by relatives and friends, said he had one regret. He could not participate in the funeral of his mother, who passed away a couple of years ago. “I wish she was here to see this day,” he said.