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Monday, August 15, 2022

The Ahmedabad bomb blasts of 2008: Justice awaited for 14 years

13 years ago, on this day (26 July 2008), 19 bombs stunned the city of Ahmedabad within 70 minutes killing 56 people and injuring more than 200.

Bombs exploded in the space of an hour across residential areas, marketplaces, public transport, and hospitals in Ahmedabad. It was the first time that hospitals were targeted by terrorists in Bharat. 29 unexploded bombs were also found in diamond processing and residential areas of Surat, which indicates that the terrorists wanted to target more than one city in Gujarat. 

This attack was part of a series of terrorist attacks all over Bharat at the time. Two months before, in May 2008, 9 synchronized bomb blasts took place in Jaipur within 15-20 minutes at different locations which took the lives of 63 innocents and left 216 injured.

Ahmedabad bomb blasts locations

  • Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, trauma center
  • Khadia
  • Raipur
  • Sarangpur
  • L.G. Hospital, Maninagar
  • Maninagar
  • Hatkeshwar Circle
  • Bapunagar
  • Thakkarbapa Nagar
  • Jawahar Chowk
  • Govindwadi
  • Isanpur
  • Narol
  • Sarkhej

The accused were members of the Indian Mujahideen, an outfit consisting mostly of operatives of the banned terrorist organization-  Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). They were trained to carry out blasts in Ahmedabad as ‘revenge’ for the 2002 riots in Gujarat, which were sparked off after the horrific Godhra massacre where 59 Hindu pilgrims, including women and children, were burnt alive by a 1000-strong Muslim mob. 

49 terrorists who were convicted for the attack

Multiple news agencies received a 14-page email from the Indian Mujahideen just before the serial blasts: 

Await 5 minutes for the revenge of Gujarat”. “In the name of Allah the Indian Mujahideen strike again! Do whatever you can, within 5 minutes from now, feel the terror of Death!” It added that they would “demolish the faith (Hinduism)” of the “infidels of India ”

The email also referred to the Mumbai train blasts of 2006, “We wonder at your memory. Have you forgotten the evening of 11 July 2006 so quickly and so easily?”

The mastermind of the blast, Mufti Abdul Bashir Islahi of Azamgarh, was arrested on August 15, 2008 After almost 13 years, on 18 February 2022, the court sentenced 38 of the 49 convicts to death under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. The rest 11  were sentenced to life imprisonment. 

Judge A. R. Patel also awarded compensation of rupees one lakh each to the families of those killed in the blasts, Rs 50,000 for each victim with serious injuries, and Rs 25,000 each for those with minor ones. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 2.85 lakh each on all the 49 convicts.

While our courts are possibly bound by the maximum fines/compensation they can impose, these sums sound paltry when one looks at the compensations handed out by ‘secular’ governments to certain victims of crime. For eg., Mohammed Akhlaq’s family was given Rs. 45 lakh and 4 houses in Noida as compensation for his death, by the then SP government in Uttar Pradesh.

Anyone familiar with the Indian legal system and the way it is held hostage by a cabal of elitist lawyers with far-left leanings, would not be surprised to learn that none of the death sentences, in this case, have been carried out.

Armed members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) organized a rally in support of the Ahmedabad serial blasts of convicts. When the local police of Kannur Town Circle stopped the protestors, they refused to vacate the premises. and created a commotion.  

A phase of non-stop terror attacks

Terrorist group Indian Mujahideen carried out bomb blasts in multiple cities across Bharat. Image: India Today

The Ahmedabad blasts happened at a time when Bharat was witnessing constant deadly terror attacks. These attacks were at their peak in the 2005-2008 period when the Congress-led UPA coalition government was in power. The Ahmedabad attacks came a day after seven blasts killed two people and injured 20 in the southern technology hub of Bengaluru on July 25, 2008. 

Here are some of the other major attacks that took place in those years:

Delhi bomb blast, 2005: carried out by LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba).

7/11 Mumbai local train bombings, 2006: Carried out by LeT and SIMI.

26/11 Mumbai attacks, 2008: 10 heavily-armed LeT terrorists from Pakistan created mayhem in Mumbai for almost 4 days

Jaipur Blasts, 2008: Carried out by Indian Mujahideen.

Every time a terror strike took place, mainstream media (MSM) and establishment intelligentsia would rush to pronounce “Terror has no religion”. They would start rationalizing the attacks – talking about ‘discrimination’ faced by Muslims, or ‘atrocities’ committed against them. 

Well, terror might not have a religion, but religious radicalization sure does lead to terrorism. But no one questioned the centers of Islamic radicalization and proselytization – Jamaat-e-Islami, Tablighi Jamaat, Deoband, AMU, etc; or the Islamic supremacism that is drilled into young Muslim minds in thousands of mosques and madrassas. Even broaching this subject was taboo and would immediately get you branded as a ‘communal hate-monger – a label that was treated as even worse than ‘terrorist’.

Mumbai was hit with so many terror attacks, that media developed a new cliche ‘the spirit of Mumbai’ to praise the city’s resilience. As if ordinary citizens had a choice but to get on with their lives!

14 years later, many teens and young adults today probably have no memory of what it was like to live in that period when terror attacks were routine. Let’s take a minute to remember the victims and pray for them. Let’s also ask why the perpetrators of this heinous terror attack are yet to pay for their deeds.

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