September 22, 2020

Bodhgaya blasts verdict on May 25

Patna: The verdict in the July 2013 serial bomb blasts case in which two Buddhist monks were seriously injured is likely to be pronounced by the NIA court in Patna on May 25.

The argument of all the prosecution witnesses and the accused concluded in the special NIA court on Friday. Altogether 90 prosecution witnesses deposed before the trial court for cross-examination. In addition, 12 other witnesses were examined whose identities had been withheld for security reasons.

The serial blasts in and around the Mahabodhi Mahavihara also called Mahabodhi temple, the famous World Heritage site, took place on July 7, 2013. The blasts, the first-of-its-kind in the state, were allegedly carried out by the members of the Ranchi module of Indian Mujahideen (IM) and the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (Simi).

NIA special public prosecutor Lallan Prasad Sinha said: “The arguments of both the prosecution and the accused are complete and the court has fixed May 25 to pronounce the judgment in the case. All the accused are lodged in the high security jail in Patna.”

The accused have been booked under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 153A (promoting enmity among different groups on grounds of religion, sect, place of birth etc) of the IPC besides various provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Explosive Substances Act.

Haider Ali, alias Black Beauty, a resident of Khiriyama village in Bihar’s Aurangabad district, was stated to be the mastermind behind the blasts, which ripped the holy city, the pilgrimage of the Buddhists. The investigating agency had recovered a map from a private lodge at Ranchi in Jharkhand, which led to the cracking of the case. A huge consignment of explosives was also seized from the lodge in Hindpiri locality of Ranchi during the raid.

Though 10 cylinder bombs went off one after another, there was no casualty in the incident. Three live bombs were also recovered from the spot as they couldn’t explode. The seized bombs were later defused by the personnel of the NIA’s bomb disposal squad and the National Security Guard (NSG).

On May 29, 2014, the investigating agency filed a chargesheet against the seven accused, identified as Haider Ali, Mujibullah Ansari, Umer Siddiqui, Azharuddin Qureshi, Imtiyaz, Taufique Ansari and a juvenile in the special NIA court. However, the trial against one of the accused, Tariq Ansari, a resident of Sithio in Ranchi, couldn’t proceed as he had died in the bomb blast near Patna Junction, ahead of then BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s Hunkar Rally at Gandhi Maidan in Patna on October 27, 2013.

Another accused was a juvenile at the time of incident. So his trial was separated from that of the other accused.

Last year, the accused was awarded three years’ imprisonment by the Juvenile Justice Board, Patna, for his alleged involvement in both Bodhgaya and Patna’s Gandhi Maidan blast cases.

Umer Siddiqui, a resident of Chhattisgarh, was associated with Simi. Investigation had established through scientific investigation that accused Haider Ali and Umer Siddiqui, who were the Simi in-charge of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, respectively, conspired with others to target the Buddhist site to avenge the alleged atrocities on the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar,” the NIA sources said quoting the chargesheet.

The chargesheet, a copy of which is with The Telegraph, said: “In pursuant to this conspiracy, Haider Ali and his associates undertook five reconnaissance trips to Bodhgaya to observe the security arrangements and decide the exact places where bombs were to be planted. The accused then procured materials from different places and prepared cylinder bombs and executed the serial blasts. The scientific investigation which includes forensic analysis and DNA finger printing has established the involvement of the arrested persons in the case.”

The chargesheet further revealed that Haider Ali and his associates were members of Simi (a banned terror organisation), who had been motivating and recruiting young boys from Ranchi and other places by way of lectures and showing jihadi videos related to alleged atrocities on Muslims across the world, including on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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