MUMBAI: At a remembrance meeting in memory of victims of the 7/11 train blast case in 2006, the Innocence Network accused the Mumbai ATS of concocting evidences and framing 12 people and said that it would be able to expose the prosecution in the higher courts.
The court had convicted five with death sentences while seven were handed life imprisonment in the case while the thirteenth accused was let off four years back.
While families of all the convicts attended the remembrance meeting on Wednesday, 13 years after the attack, the network also raised the demand to do away with “draconian” legislations like UAPA which allows the prosecution to keep the accused behind bars for years without any concrete evidence.
Sharib Ali, one of the founding members of the Innocence Network, stressed how MCOCA law should not even have been applicable in this case as UAPA had already been applied.
He also said that in this case, standard of evidence and investigation procedures were changed — confessions were allowed under MCOCA, forensics were misused while the investigative agencies were holding two different sets of accused for the same crime.
MCOCA was applied only so that the confessions given to the police, an evidence which is not acceptable in any law framework in India, could be presented as evidence, he said.
On July 11, 2006, bombs planted on seven trains went off in a span of 11 minutes killing 189 people and injuring 700 others at Western Mumbai stations of Matunga Road, Mahim, Bandra, Khar Road, Jogeshwari, Borivali and Mira Road.
They were planted in pressure cookers, which were placed in the overhead luggage racks of first class compartments alleged by Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives.
The Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) went on to arrest 13 members of the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
In 2015, 12 of the 13 arrested were found to be guilty, while 15 others, who are believed to have fled the country, are still wanted.
National Secretary of Students Islamic Organisation (SIO) and senior researcher with Quill Foundation, Fawaz Shaheen said that a systematic mass misinformation campaign was run by the ATS through systematic leaks to build a narrative and build public opinion.
Stories about ‘forensics approved’ call data records and narco-analysis tests were used only to sensationalise the media narrative and never brought forth as evidence in the case, he said.
“This is a pattern in various cases of terrorism where certain ‘evidence’ is sensationalised in the media to satisfy the public conscious, which also helps agencies to get extended police custody which they use to torture and pressurise the accused to sign on fabricated confessional statements,” Shaheen said.