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Indian Court Convicts 3 for Bomb Blasts in 2003


A court in India has convicted three people for two deadly bomb blasts which killed 52 people in Mumbai, six years ago. It was one of several bomb attacks that have devastated India's financial hub.

A special court in Mumbai has found three people guilty for murder and criminal conspiracy in bombings that ripped through two crowded areas of the city in August of 2003.

They are Mohammed Haneef Sayeed, 46, his wife Fahmeeda, 43, and Ashrat Ansari, 32. The sentences will be pronounced on August 4. All three could face the death penalty.

The court found them guilty of packing two taxis with powerful bombs, which exploded outside one of the city's most famous landmarks, the Gateway of India, and in a busy jewelry market. The bombs exploded within minutes of each other and left a trail of devastation in the city, killing 52 people and injuring more than 200 others.

Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam says the blasts were planned outside the country, at the behest of a banned Islamic terror group.

"The initial criminal conspiracy was hatched in Dubai in between the Lashkar-e-Taiba mastermind, and accused Haneef, and it was decided to explode bombs at Mumbai at various places," said Nikam.

Police who investigated the blasts had said the bomb attacks were carried out to avenge the deaths of Muslims in religious riots which wracked Gujarat state in 2001. They said the three who have been convicted were members of a group called the "Gujarat Muslim Revenge Force."

In Mumbai, many people said they are happy the court has delivered its judgment in a relatively short period of time. Trials in India can drag for years. The verdict for deadly bomb blasts which rocked Mumbai in 1993 was delivered 13 years later.

India's financial hub has been the victim of several deadly terror attacks which have killed hundreds of people. The 2003 bomb blasts were followed by deadly bombings which rocked commuter trains in 2006.

Last year, gunmen mounted attacks on multiple targets including five-star hotels and the city's main rail station. Indian authorities blame these attacks on Pakistan-based Islamic extremist groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba.


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