GUWAHATI: A local court in Assam on Thursday convicted six people in connection with the August 15, 2004 bomb blast in Dhemaji that left 13 people dead and several others injured.
The court of District and Sessions Judge, Dhemaji, pronounced life imprisonment for four and four years’ rigorous imprisonment for two others. Eight others were acquitted.
The police had filed chargesheet against 15 people. One of them, Rashid Bharali, is absconding. Those found guilty in the case were Jatin Duwari, Lila Khan, Dipanjali Gohain, Muhi Handique, Prasanta Bhuyan and Hemen Gogoi.
The families of the victims were demanding death penalty for the accused persons. On Thursday, they said they were not utterly happy with the court’s judgement.
“Over the last 15 long years, we had been hoping that those guilty would get exemplary punishment. Today, we have got some relief that six people have been convicted,” said Nitya Saikia, who is an advocate.
He had lost his school-going sisters Aruna and Rupa in the blast. Damburu Gogoi, who lost his only son in the incident, said he was not happy with the court’s judgement.
“I am not happy. I was expecting death penalty for the guilty,” he said.
Ten children were among the 13 people who were killed during the official Republic Day function at the Parade Ground in Dhemaji on that day. The explosion was triggered by insurgent group United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).
Five years since the blast, ULFA’s self-styled “Commander-in-Chief Paresh Barua, had tendered an apology as the rebel group had denied its hand in the explosion. He had described the incident as “the most tainted chapter of ULFA’s revolutionary history” and “the most brutal and heinous murder of children and women.” Ever since the incident, the ULFA started losing its public support.