‘Couldn’t cops find enough evidence against all accused?’ Hyd twin blast victims react

Victims of the Gokul Chat and Lumbini Park blasts slammed the delay in getting justice and wondered why two people were acquitted.
‘Couldn’t cops find enough evidence against all accused?’ Hyd twin blast victims react
‘Couldn’t cops find enough evidence against all accused?’ Hyd twin blast victims react

Despite a local court finally delivering the verdict on the 2007 Hyderabad twin blasts case, victims are not happy about it. The time taken to deliver the judgment has disappointed those who were grievously injured in the blasts and those who lost their near and dear to the attacks.

The blasts that happened on August 25, 2007, at Gokul Chat and Lumbini Park in the city killed 42 people and injured more than 50. The hearing of the case concluded on August 7 after cross-examining more than 150 witnesses.

Syed Raheem, who lost an eye in the Gokul Chat blast, told TNM that even the death penalty was not an appropriate punishment for the accused.

“Even though it has been 11 years, I still am reeling under that trauma. Any sound scares me now. Death penalty also is not enough, since we, the victims, have had to endure the effect (of the attacks) and will have to continue to suffer through the rest of our lives,” he said.

The court held two of the accused -- Aneeq Shafique Sayeed and Ismail Chaudhary -- guilty and acquitted two others -- Farooq Sharfuddin Tarkish and Mohd Sadiq Israr Shaik. However, the main accused, the Bhatkal brothers, Riyaz and Iqbal, and another accused, are still absconding.

Although the court held them guilty on Tuesday, the quantum of punishment for the guilty will be pronounced on September 10, Monday.

R Chander, who was injured in the Gokul Chat blast, and is a member of the Terrorist Bomb Blast Victims Association, said that it was not right for the government and the judiciary to keep the accused in jail for 11 years without concluding the trial.

Expressing his anguish over the acquittal of two of the accused, Chander said, “Two people have been convicted and two people have been let off. The court said they were not involved. Why were they in jail for 11 years if they had not done anything? And what about the men who are absconding?”

He added, “Action should be taken against the guilty. How long will this keep going on? It has been 11 years, people have lost their limbs and you are keeping them in jail with our money, the taxpayers’ money.”

He also accused the government of being inactive in making the guilty accountable and added that more police personnel must be deployed for investigating and collecting evidence.

Echoing Chander’s thoughts on the delay in bringing the criminals to book, Narsimha Sharma, who lost his 20-year-old daughter Prathyusha in one of the blasts, said that the verdict came as a disappointment to him.

“I feel let down by the judgement, why couldn't the authorities gather enough evidence to show that the other two were also involved in the crime. For 11 years, couldn't the police find enough evidence? Now again these acquitted will  blow up several places. I don't think this is justice," he rued.

The chargesheet in this case was filed in 2013 against Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal, the co-founders of the terror outfit Indian Mujahideen, Aneeq Shafique Sayeed, Ismail Chaudhary, Farooq Sharfuddin Tarkish, Mohd Sadiq Israr Shaik and one other person. The motive of the blast was reportedly to take revenge for the Mecca Masjid blasts in May 2007.

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