When terror came calling

In the past Mumbai has been hit by multiple blasts since the 1993 serial explosions, and the list of attacks grew longer on Wednesday. HT recall.
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Updated on Jul 14, 2011 02:47 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByHT Correspondent, Mumbai

In the past Mumbai has been hit by multiple blasts since the 1993 serial explosions, and the list of attacks grew longer on Wednesday.

13 bomb blasts across the city on March 12, 1993

The Blasts

The first blast hit the Bombay Stock Exchange building at 1.30pm, killing 84 people, injuring over 200. The next blast, at around 2.15 pm, took place at Narsi Natha Street killing five, injuring 16. The third blast, outside Shiv Sena Bhavan at 2.30 pm, killed four and injured 50 people.

Century Bazaar at Worli was the fifth target, where 113 died and 227 were injured, while next in line was Mahim Causeway where three died and six were injured. Zaveri Bazaar was hit next, with 17 dead and 57 injured.

The next blast took place at Sea Rock Hotel, Bandra where there were no casualties. The ninth blast rocked Plaza Cinema and 10 people died in while 37 got injured. The tenth blast was at Hotel Juhu Centaur, injuring three while the eleventh blast at 3.30pm was at Sahar Airport with no injuries or death reported.

The 12th blast was at Hotel Airport Centaur, in which two died and eight were injured. The last blast rocked the Air India Building.

The Accusedhttp://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/050711/14_07_11_mumbai11a.jpg

The CBI, in its chargesheet submitted to the special TADA court, stated the number of accused as 135. The chargesheet mentioned revenge for the Babri Masjid Demolition (6th December 1992) and Mumbai riots (1992-93) as the motive. Among the 135 accused, over 35 - including masterminds Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon - are absconding.

Another 35 or so got bail in the 90s—the rest are still languishing in jail.

Some of the other accused:

Farukh Pawle: Responsible for the blasts at Stock Exchange, Shiv Sena Bhavan and Air India Building

Asgar Yusuf Mukadam and Shahnawaz Qureshi: Plaza Cinema blast

Abdul Turk: Allegedly responsible for Century Bazaar blast, which resulted in maximum loss of lives

Mohammed Gansar: Held responsible for the Zaveri Bazaar blast

Parvez Shaikh: Charged for two blasts at Katha Bazar and Sea Rock Hotel

Bashir Ahmed Ghani, Zakir Hussain Firoz Malik and Salim Shaikh: Held guilty for the blast at Mahim Fisherman's Colony

Imtiyaz Gawte: Guilty of planting a bomb at Dhanji Street, which did not go off and Mohammed Iqbal: Planted a bomb at Cross Roads mall, which did not go off.

Mushtaq Tarani: Allegedly planted a bomb at Hotel Juhu Centaur.

Sanjay Dutt: With the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) leaving Sanjay Dutt's acquittal unchallenged in the Supreme Court, Sanjay Dutt became free from the terror charges in connection with the 1993 serial blasts. Dutt was charged under the Arms Act for illegally possessing firearms.

The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court gave death sentence to 11 persons and life sentence to 22 others. Others were given sentences ranging from 10 to 13 years.

Twin bombings in August 2003http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/050711/14_07_11_mumbai11b.jpg

Twin car bombings on 25 August 2003 killed 54 and injured 244 people.

One of the explosions took place at the Gateway of India, a major tourist attraction. The other bomb went off in a jewellery market near the Mumba Devi temple at Zaveri Bazaar in central Mumbai.

Both bombs were planted in parked taxis and exploded during lunch hour.

No group initially claimed responsibility for the attack, but Kashmiri rebel group and Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba was blamed for it. On 31 August 2003, three suspects – Ashrat Ansari, Haneef Sayyed and his wife Fahmeeda were arrested.

All three were convicted and sentenced to death in 2009 by a special POTA court in Mumbai.

7 blasts on local trains on Western Railway

The Blasts

The blasts took place in seven trains on Western Railway in a span of 11 minutes in first class compartments. As many as 187 people were killed and over 800 were injured. The blasts occurred between 6.24pm and 6.35pm at Matunga, Mahim (central Mumbai), Bandra, Khar (north-west Mumbai), Borivli, Jogeshwari and Mira Road railway stations (in north Mumbai).

Pressure cookers with a 2.5 kg mixture of RDX and ammonium nitrate were placed on trains on the Western line of the train network. Pressure cookers were used to increase the afterburn in a thermobaric reaction, more powerful than conventional high explosives.

The 13 arrested accused are Faisal Shaikh, Ali Bashir Khan, Mohammad Ali, Majid Shafi, Sajid Ansari, Kamal Ansari, Ethesham Siddiqui, Zameer Shaikh, Sohail Shaikh, Muzammil Shaikh, Tanvir Ansari, Naveed Hussain and Abdul Shaikh.

Case progress

November 30, 2006: An 11,000-page chargesheet was filed

February 2008: Supreme Court stayed the trial after one of the 13 accused, Kamal Ansari, said the phrase ‘promoting insurgency’, in the definition of organized crime in (MCOCA), was unconstitutional.

April 2010: The apex court dismissed the petition, ordering the trial's resumption.

November 2010: A 60-year-old witness identified one of the key accused. He was said to be the first witness to identify an accused in the trial. The witness was a commuter who had boarded the 5.57 pm Virar local, which was ripped apart at Matunga. The witness, a man, is currently retired and has an independent brokerage firm. Over the years, the court declared four prosecution witnesses hostile.

October 2010: A doctor was declared a hostile. The prosecution said when the accused, Dr Tanvir Ahmed Ansari, was taken to Saboo Siddiqui Hospital the Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) had seized chemicals from him. The ATS said the doctor was present when they seized the chemicals. However, during deposition, the doctor denied her presence.

March, 2010: A witness, who is a relative of accused Mohammed Faisal Sheikh, was declared hostile. The witness told the court that he was detained by the ATS and was tortured and threatened before recording his statement. The prosecution said that he had earlier told the police that some of the accused were members of the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and that the accused had gone to Pakistan for terror training.

January, 2011: A witness retracted the statement recorded before a magistrate. The witness had told the magistrate that his residence in Mumbra was used by two of the accused to hatch the conspiracy, but in court, he said that the statement was obtained under duress.

Around 110 witnesses have deposed, including commuters who were on the ill-fated trains. According to the defence, 142 injured commuters gave statements to the police while in hospital. Four deputy commissioners of police have deposed, many of them who have recorded statements and confessions of the accused.

“111 witnesses have been examined in the case so far, of whom three turned hostile. There are about 15 witnesses remaining. The prosecution has submitted the affidavits of over 200 witnesses. At the present speed, the trial should conclude within four months,” a senior official said on July 10, 2011.

ATS said Pakistan intelligence agency ISI and the Kashmir-based Lashkar-e-Taiba had planned the blasts.

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