News / Asia

India’s Supreme Court Upholds Death Sentence in Deadliest Attack

Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt arrives on the green carpet for the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards in Colombo. (File 2010)Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt arrives on the green carpet for the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards in Colombo. (File 2010)
x
Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt arrives on the green carpet for the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards in Colombo. (File 2010)
Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt arrives on the green carpet for the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards in Colombo. (File 2010)
Anjana Pasricha
India’s Supreme Court has upheld the sentence of a person who masterminded the country’s deadliest terror strike in Mumbai, 20 years ago, and ordered a popular Bollywood star back to jail, in connection with the attack. The court also criticized Pakistan for training and arming the terrorists who carried out the serial bomb blasts, which killed 257 people.       

Calling him one of the architects of the blasts which devastated Mumbai in 1993, the Supreme Court confirmed Thursday the death sentence handed down to Yakub Memon by an anti-terror court in 2007.

The death sentences of 10 others were reduced to life imprisonment.

The blasts were carried out in retaliation for the razing of a mosque by Hindu fundamentalists in northern India in 1992.

Serial bomb blasts

They were the deadliest to hit Mumbai, a city that has been wracked with terror several times. The terrorists used vehicles packed with explosives to carry out a dozen coordinated blasts in the city at some of its busiest spots, such as the Stock Exchange, a cinema and two crowded markets. About 257 people died and more than 700 others were injured.  

The Supreme Court says that Pakistan’s complicity in the attacks cannot be denied, and that the terrorists who carried out the blasts were armed and trained by India’s neighbor. It observed that Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, was involved in the blasts.

Chief Public Prosecutor in Mumbai Ujjwal Nikam welcomed the verdict. “This decision would give strong message across the border and also to those such terrorists who are still hiding in Pakistan.”

Implicating Islamabad, ISI

In the past, Indian authorities have also blamed Islamabad for its role in the blasts and say one of the masterminds of the attack lives in Pakistan.  However, Pakistan  strongly denies Indian accusations of training and arming militants to carry out attacks in India.

Thursday’s court verdict also got much attention because it involved a popular Bollywood star. The court upheld the conviction of actor Sanjay Dutt for illegal possession of weapons, which he bought from the bombers. The actor said he bought them to defend his family during deadly sectarian rioting that convulsed the city before the blasts.

However, Dutt’s sentence was reduced from six years to five years.

Farhana Shah, one of his lawyers, said, "Those arms were not utilized for any such purpose or planting or carrying out terrorist activity, so they have considered those points and they have reduced the sentence.”

Dutt spotlighted

Dutt, who has been out on bail, has been ordered to return to jail within four weeks. His arrest, trial and conviction during the investigation into the blasts has failed to dim his screen appeal.     

The court also slammed the Mumbai police, custom department officials and coast guards for failing to check the transportation of sophisticated weapons into India.

Poor vigilance along its long coastline has long been a cause of concern in the country. Authorities say the gunmen who carried out deadly terror attacks in 2008 in Mumbai also came into the city by sea. Since then, authorities have announced a host of measures to revamp coastal security.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid