A court in Jaipur today convicted four accused and acquitted one in the case of the 2008 serial bomb blasts in the capital of Rajasthan. On 13 May 2008, eight serial blasts rocked different places of the city, killing 80 people and leaving 216 injured.
Two other Jaipur blast accused were killed by the police in a 2008 encounter at Batla House in New Delhi.
The court of Ajay Kumar Sharma convicted the accused Mohammad Saif, Mohammad Sarwar Azam, Saifur Rahman and Mohammad Salman while Shahbaz Hussain was acquitted.
The hearing of the case was expedited in the last one year. Statements of 1,296 witnesses were recorded and the prosecution and the defence finished their arguments and cross-examinations.
Jaipur Police had arrested five accused in the case. Three of the accused are lodged in Tihar Jail in Delhi and the ATS has not been able to investigate them. Those three are accused of bombing other parts of the country.
The Jaipur bombings
Nine synchronised bomb blasts rocked Jaipur on 13 May 2008 within a span of 15 min. A tenth bomb was found and defused. The bombings shocked most of India and resulted in widespread condemnation from leaders across the world, with many countries showing solidarity with India in its fight against terrorism.
This was the first time terrorists had targeted Jaipur, India’s tenth largest city and one of its most popular tourist destinations. The bombs went off near historic monuments at one of the busiest times of the day. One of the bombs exploded close to Jaipur’s most famous landmark, the historic Hawa Mahal.
Two days after the blasts, a previously unknown Islamic militant group known as the Indian Mujahideen sent an e-mail to Indian media in which they claimed responsibility for the attacks and said they would “demolish the faith (Hinduism)” of the “infidels of India”. Though the Indian authorities said that the e-mail was genuine, they also added that there were some contradictions and the primary motive of the e-mail might be to mislead investigating agencies.
Sources in the Union Home Ministry of the INC-led UPA government said that a Bangladesh-based organisation, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) or “Islamic Holy War Movement”, was suspected to be behind the attack. The police were able to find credible evidence linking the suspected bombers to Bangladeshi militants, which resulted in a backlash against illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in Rajasthan.
India plans to expel more than 50,000 Bangladeshi infiltrators from Rajasthan, a process that would be aided by the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens followed by the application of the amended Citizenship Act that would retain Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Buddhists and Parsis while seeking to deport Muslims, provided Bangladesh accepts them as their citizens. Bangladeshi infiltrators in India are mostly Bengali-speaking Hindus and Muslims. For the past three days, Muslims and leftists are protesting and rioting in Delhi and other parts of the country, demanding a repeal of the new law.