Finally justice has been done, though it took six long years after the twin blasts that rocked Mumbai in August 2003. Three of the accused in Twin Mumbai blasts were given the death penalty by the POTA court in Mumbai much to the relief of the families of the 54 victims.
This case was declared the rarest of the rare, deserving the death penalty. The husband and wife duo and their associate, Mohammed Hanif Sayed, his wife Fahimida M.H. Sayed and their aide Ashrat Shafique Ansari were sentenced to the gallows, 10 days after being judged guilty for the Aug 25, 2003 bombings in Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar.
When the death sentence was pronounced, the two accused Hanif and Ashraf showed no emotions stood stoic while Fahmida, though remaining silent in the beginning, later broke down outside the court. The lawyers representing the trio said that they would appeal to the Mumbai High Court against the orders of the POTA court.
Right from the beginning of the case, when one of the accused agreed, it was a clear case of terrorism. A conspiracy was hatched in Dubai in association with members of LeT – and the wife Fahmida, helped the autodriver husband Hanif in identifying the places and planting the bombs to avenge the killings of Muslims in post-Godra riots, that took 54 precious lives, wounding several hundreds.
Such perpetrators of inhuman and ghastly crime, deserve no sympathy.
It was not an emotional or impulsive act but a well thought out plan and conspiracy hatched to kill the maximum number of people near Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar to avenge the killings in Gujarat. The trio also were planning to plant more bombs in other areas too including the Taj Mahal Hotel. The providential escape of the cab driver, helped the police in identifying the duo terrorists.
The death sentence verdict on the terrorists should send a strong signal to all terrorists that they would not escape the long arm of the law. This trio may not yet be hanged because there will be a prolonged legal battle, including an appeal in the Mumbai High Court, then in the Supreme Court and finally a mercy petition with the President of India.
If the sentence is upheld at all levels, it would take years before they are hanged as there are many waiting for the gallows before them, including the infamous Afzal Guru. It is therefore imperative that, just as we have special courts to try and sentence the terrorists, the court should also prepare a separate list of death sentences, so that they are not equated with others convicted of rape or murder.
The government and the Supreme Court should seriously consider framing laws that would enable terrorists who are sentenced to be hanged, to be kept separately and not mixed with others convicted of murder or rape and murder, awaiting gallows for a number of years due to vexatious appeals and mercy petition disposal before the President.
Justice for the victims and their families would be seemingly done only when the terrorists are hanged soon after the verdict. What is the point if they are hanged after being incarcerated in jail for twenty years. Like fast track courts, there must be fast track disposal of appeals for terrorists, so that if guilty, they are hanged as early as possible. The trio deserve no sympathy from any quarter for the crime they committed against humanity. Whatever may be the cause they espoused, the killing of innocent people is not justified or permitted more particularly by the very religion of Islam to which these trio belonged, which clearly says, killing one innocent person was equal to killing the entire humanity. Jai Hind.