Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Charges framed in Train bombings.

Charges were on Tuesday framed against 13 people allegedly linked to the Lashker e-Taiba and outlawed SIMI by a special court for the July 11, 2006 train bombings in Mumbai.

A MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) court framed the charges a little over a year after the blasts that killed 187.

Judge Mrudula Bhatkar then adjourned the matter till August 21 and allowed the accused to approach a competent court to take up their request for the transfer of their trial from her court.

She said that if the accused believed they would not get an impartial trial in her court, they could approach a competent court for transferring the trial to another judge.

Declining to accept the charges framed against them, all the accused refused to sign the form recording their plea, either citing a lack of faith in the court or seeking the transfer of the case to another judge.

Biggest terror attack

The charges were framed against them under the MCOCA, IPC, Railways Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Explosive Substances Act.

The 13 accused who are in custody are Kamal Ansari, Tanvir Ansari, Faisal Shaikh, Ehtesham Siddqui, Mohammed Majid Shafi, Shaikh Mohammed Ali Shaikh, Sajid Ansari, Abdul Wahid Shaikh, Muzzamil Shaikh, Soheil Shaikh, Zameer Ahmed Shaikh, Naveed Hussain Khan and Asif Bashir Khan.

Two alleged accused were killed, while 15 people, including senior Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives Azam Cheema and Rizwan Dawrey, are wanted for the blasts that were investigated by Maharashtra's Anti-Terrorist Squad.

Explosions ripped through seven suburban trains on July 11 last year in the biggest terror attack here since the 1993 blasts.

A total of 824 people were also injured.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

MUmbai Blast case?

Mumbai convictions have come at a time when, under the UPA, India’s resolve to fight terrorism had touched its nadir. Not that the present dispensation is hesitant, ambiguous and apologetic in its approach. More tragically, it has found political reward in pandering to the zealots.

Consequently terrorists and their fellow travellers have acquired celebrity status. Just take the unqualified encomium showered on Madani, Sanjay Dutt and Haneef.

The media over kill on Sanjay Dutts’ well deserved conviction has diluted the significance of the course justice has taken in India’s first encounter with mass terror on March 12, 1993. Justice will be fully done only when the prime conspirators Dawood Ibrahim and elder Memon are also brought to the county and put on trial.

After 9/11 the world has vowed to fight terror in all its manifestations. But there are also countries that still harbour terrorism. There are others like Pakistan and Bangladesh who are unwilling partners in this fight because of the US pressure. Is India slowly falling into the third category?
Justice P D Kode, Mumbai police and the prosecution deserve praise for the excellent work in ensuring that those involved with spilling the blood of innocent people and daring the authority of the state have got their just desserts.

This cannot be said of the investigations in terror attacks in the past couple of years. The politicisation of the investigation and the resultant police apathy are all too obvious and it is even feared that India is fast becoming a safer rendezvous for terror modules.

The long arm of law does not reach many powerful people though their culpability is well known. The Coimbatore blast prime accused Madani is an example. The Mumbai judge underlined that everyone is equal before law. The best tribute to the victims of the serial blast is the resolve of the nation to fight to the finish forces that weaken the country.

Mumbai is a prime target of these divisive elements. The TADA court has proved, given the will, justice, though delayed will not be denied.