A special court in Jaipur Wednesday convicted four people for the 2008 Jaipur blasts, which killed 80 people and left many others injured. It was on May 13, 11 years ago, that a series of blasts had rocked the old walled city of Jaipur.
This was the first time that Jaipur, one of India’s most popular tourist destinations, was targetted by terrorists. It was a Tuesday and the Hanuman Mandir, one of the targets, was milling with devotees.
The first bomb went off around 7.15 pm at the bustling Johari Bazaar. As panic spread, within 15 minutes, more bombs exploded at the Hanuman Mandir, Hawa Mahal, Badi Chaupad, Tripolia Bazar, and Chandpole.
Some explosives were tied to bicycles. Yet more bombs were defused.
The sequence of the blasts was so planned that people fleeing one blast site only ran into more explosions at the others.
A day later, the Indian Mujahideen, then a little-known outfit, sent an email to a media house, claiming responsibility for the attack.
In the email, they attached a video of a bicycle laden with explosives. Police confirmed the serial number of the bicycle matched one of those used in the blast. Security agencies said the email was genuine, but there were concerns it could be an attempt to mislead the investigation.
The email claimed Jaipur was chosen as target to derail its tourism industry, and warned India against supporting the United States on international issues.
In the aftermath of the blasts, tourism was temporarily hit in Jaipur, and there was also a cloud over foreign players participating in the then-newly born Indian Premier League.
2008 Jaipur blasts: Arrests and conviction
The first person to be arrested was Shahbaz Hussain, in August 2008.
Then, between December 2008 and December 2010, Mohammad Saif, Mohammad Sarwar Azmi, Mohammad Salman, and Saifurrehman were arrested.
On Wednesday, Saif, Sarwar Azmi, Salman and Saifurrehman were convicted. Their quantum of punishment will be argued on December 20.
Shahbaz Hussain had been accused of sending the email that claimed responsibility for the attack. He has been acquitted for want of evidence.
Three accused — Yasin Bhatkal, Asadullah Akhtar, and Aariz — are in Tihar Jail, facing trial in other blast cases.
Two others accused were killed in the Batla House encounter in Delhi in 2008.
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