With 12 of the 13 accused found guilty on Friday for their role in the 2006 Mumbai train blasts case, victims say the convicts should be awarded death penalty for the ‘rarest of the rare crime’ they have committed.
A special court in Mumbai found 12 of the 13 accused guilty in the 2006 serial train blasts case. Only one accused was acquitted in the case. A series of bombs had ripped across seven western suburban coaches killing 189 commuters and injuring 824 on July 11, 2006.
Police inspector Santosh Khanvilkar, who was traveling in the train when the blast took place, says the perpetrators of the attack deserve nothing short of a death sentence.
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Khanvilkar has taken regular updates on the case’s investigation from his colleagues in the Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) in the last nine years. In 2006, he was a police constable attached with Worli Police station, when the serial train blasts had happened. On the fateful evening of July 11, he had left work early and boarded a Virar bound train from Dadar at 5.54 pm. Minutes before the train was to reach Boriwali station, where he was struggling to get off amidst crowded passengers, the bomb had ticked off.
Khanvilkar’s right ear perforated instantly and his left ear suffered a serious impact. “I was saved from physical injuries because a man standing right in front of me, took the maximum hit. He later passed away,” said Khanvilkar. It is for the man who unwittingly saved his life that Khanvilkar hopes all the accused are awarded capital punishment.
While he is happy that the proceedings have not stretched like the 1993 blasts case and the first judgement has come after nine years, he hopes that the case does not continue for several years in higher courts.
Another victim, Suhas Tawde (58), who suffered partial hearing loss due to the blasts, said that until 15 other accused are not found and charged for their crime, the judgment will be incomplete. According to the ATS, 28 people have been charged for their various roles in the serial blasts. Of that 15 are absconding and 13 have been presented in court. On Friday, the court acquitted Abdul Wahid of all the charges, 12 others were held guilty.
“Until all the accused are brought to account for their crimes, there will always be a fear that more attacks can happen. I underwent a series of medical tests since 2006 and the attack made me a high blood pressure patient. The effects of the blasts will continue to haunt all of us,” Tawde said.
He works as a Life Insurance Agent agent and had boarded a train from Dadar to reach his Goregaon resident when the blast occurred between Bandra and Khar station on the Western Line. “The shards of glasses and iron were found inside my whole body. It has been a painful process of surgically removing them,” Tawde adds.
At least 824 were injured and 189 have died so far after the blasts. The latest victim was 36-year-old Parag Sawant– who passed away in July this year after lying in a semi-comatose condition since 2006. His father-in-law Kishor Bhosle admitted that it has been a long wait for justice for the family who remained under financial and mental stress since Parag entered a stage of coma.