Mumbai train bombings: 11 years on, 11 things to know about the serial blasts
Eleven years after the July 11, 2006 Mumbai serial train blasts, we tell you 11 things you need to know:
1. The seven spots
6.23pm: Mahim station
6.23pm: Bandra station
6.23pm: Mira Road station
6.24pm: Matunga station
6.24pm: Jogeshwari station
6.25pm: Khar subway
6.28pm: Borivli station
2. The seven blasts
At 6.23pm on July 11, 2006, two bombs exploded in two Borivli-bound fast suburban local trains at Mahim and Bandra suburban stations.At the same time, another bomb exploded in a Virar-bound fast local train at Mira Road station. Within five minutes, bombs exploded in various suburban trains at Matunga, Khar, Jogeshwari and Borivli stations. The series of train blasts were the first-of-its-kind in the history of the country. It brought the lifeline of the country’s financial capital to a grinding halt. The explosions were so powerful that they ripped through the double-layered steel roof and sides of each of the suburban train compartments, leaving 188 people dead and 816 injured.
The anti-terrorism squad (ATS), in its charge sheet filed on November 29, 2006, claimed it was a Lashkar-e-Toiba operation, carried out with the help of the Students’ Islamic Movement of India.But two years later, a terror suspect’s confession left security agencies confused. The crime branch stumbled upon a fresh lead after the arrest of Mohammed Sadiq Israr Sheikh on September 24, 2008. Sheikh was the 31-year-old co-founder of an indigenous terror outfit named Indian Mujahideen. In his confession — videotapes of which were made available to HT — Sheikh unravelled the plot, negating the ATS’ contention, claiming it was his outfit IM that carried out the serial blasts. He later retracted his confession.
According to the anti-terrorism squad (ATS), one of the accused bought 15-20kg of RDX used in the blasts, while the ammonium nitrate used in the blasts was obtained locally. Five-litre pressure cookers and quartz timers were used in the bombs. The bombs were assembled in Chembur and were taken to Churchgate from where they were planted in various trains.
5) ‘Merchants of deaths’
Terming them “merchants of death”, the prosecution sought death penalty for eight of the 12 men convicted for the train bombings. The special MCOCA court in 2015 gave five of them – Faisal Sheikh, Asif Khan, Kamal Ansari, Ehtesham Sidduqui and Naveed Khan – death sentence for planting the bombs.
6) Life imprisonment
The other seven convicts who provided materials and logistical support for making the bombs – Mohammed Sajid Ansari, Mohammed Ali, Dr Tanveer Ansari, Majid Shafi, Muzzammil Shaikh, Sohail Shaikh and Zamir Shaikh – were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2015.
Abdul Wahid Din Mohammed Shaikh was the only one acquitted by court. He was booked for providing his house at Mumbra to harbour Pakistanis. No evidence was found against him.
8) Still absconding
Azam Chima alias Babaji, Pakistani national from Bahawalpur
Aslam, Pakistani national
Hafizullah, Pakistani national
Sabir, Pakistani national
Abu Bakr, Pakistani national
Kasam Ali, Pakistani national
Ammu Jaan, Pakistani national
Ehsanullah, Pakistani national
Abu Hasan, Pakistani national
Rizwan Mohammed Dawrey, Indian national from Wanawadi in Pune
Mohammed Rahil Shaikh, Indian national from Naya Nagar in Mira Road (was in Brimingham, UK, in 2009)
Abdul Razak, Indian national from Hyderbad
Sohail Shaikh, Indian national from Pune
Hafiz Zuber alias Mohammed Zuber Rayeen, Indian national from Madhubani in Bihar (Was in Nepal)
Abdul Rehman, Pakistani national based in Nepal
9) What next
The confirmation of the death sentence is pending before the Bombay high court.
10) Demand for justice
According to KP Raghuvanshi, former IPS officer who was head of the ATS, there will be a sense of closure only when the accused hiding overseas are brought to justice. He said the investigating agency has sent information on the main accused, who are still absconding, to the government of India. According to the ATS charge sheet, the operation was carried out by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba with help from the SIMI.
11) Rarest of rare case, says MCOCA court
The special MCOCA court relied heavily on the confessions of the accused to award death penalty to five and convict seven others to life. The judgment stated: “It is clear the mitigating circumstances pleaded by all accused by their nature are not sufficient to displace the aggravating circumstances. They pale into insignificance in the light of the aggravating circumstances. This case, therefore, without any doubt, fall into the category of the rarest of rare case. These accused are not like hardened criminals, in the sense the criminals whose source of livelihood is crime. They are terrorists with a particular mindset and followers of an ideology that is adverse to society and the democratically established government.”