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Banned Bodo outfit chief Ranjan Daimary, 13 others convicted in 2008 Assam blasts case

A special CBI court in Guwahati on Monday convicted, Ranjan Daimary, former chief of militant outfit National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), and 13 others in the 2008 Assam serial bombings that killed 90 people.

india Updated: Jan 29, 2019 09:46 IST
Sadiq Naqvi
Sadiq Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Bodo,Ranjan Daimary,Assam
National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) founder Ranjan Daimary.

A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Guwahati on Monday convicted, Ranjan Daimary, chief of militant outfit National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), and 13 others in the 2008 Assam serial bombings that killed 90 people.

Over 470 people were injured in what is believed to be one of the worst terror strikes in India, which were carried out a little less than a month before the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. The quantum of the punishment will be announced on January 30.

At least 11 bombs had gone off almost simultaneously in Guwahati, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, and Kokrajhar in Assam on October 30, 2008. The CBI had earlier said RDX, ammonium nitrate and Trinitrotoluene were used to trigger the blasts. “Except Mridul (Goyary), we all have been convicted. We will fight it out in the higher court,” Daimary said after the court verdict.

While Goyary has been acquitted, another accused Nilim Daimary has been let off with a fine.

“There were a total of 22 accused of which 15 faced trial. Seven others remain absconding while two of them are believed to be dead,” said TD Goswami, special public prosecutor engaged by the CBI for the trial.

Goswami said the CBI will press for a maximum sentence, including death penalty for the accused. While Daimary was out on bail, the rest of the accused facing trial including George Bodo, B Tharai, Raju Sarkar, Nilim Daimary, Anchai Bodo, Indra Brahma, Loko Basumatary, Khargeswar Basumatary, Prabhat Bodo, Jayanta Bodo, Ajay Basumatary, Mridul Goyary, Mathuram Brahma and Rajen Goyary were in judicial custody.

“We will not be satisfied with anything less than a death sentence,” Kamla Choudhary, whose husband Rajesh Choudhary, an autorickshaw driver, was killed under Ganeshguri flyover where one of the bombs exploded.

In December 2017, the case was transferred to a special fast track court after years of delay in the sessions court. According to Goswami, the CBI filed three chargesheets, took help of around 650 witnesses, and 687 additional documents.

Daimary, the founder and chief of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland was arrested in Bangladesh in April 2010 and handed over to Indian security forces at the border immigration post in Meghalaya. After his bail, he had been in talks with the Government of India he The other dominant faction NDFB(P) is also in talks while the NDFB(S) led by B Saoraigwra is still active and has been accused of multiple incidents including the massacre of Adivasis in December 2014.

Earlier, in 2017, as the fast track court started trial, Daimary had reportedly said trial and talks cannot continue simultaneously.

Anjali Daimary, a rights activist and sister of Ranjan Daimary said “This kind of judgement and peace talks cannot go together,” as she waited for her brother to be brought out of the court. “As a head of the organisation how can he be involved,” she said.

An unknown Islamic militant outfit had initially claimed responsibility for the bombings . The following days, the Assam Police suspected the role of Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami and ULFA.

“However, after we got our hands on a couple of key suspects a trail emerged to Ranjan Daimary,” recalled R Chandranathan, DGP, Meghalaya, who led the Special Investigations Team of the Assam Police which cracked NDFB’s involvement before the case was transferred to the CBI.

According to prosecutors, Daimary, masterminded the attack from Bangladesh, then an active base for militant groups of the Northeast including the ULFA.

First Published: Jan 28, 2019 12:13 IST