MUMBAI:“We demand death for the convicts,” said Sudhakar Kamble, who was injured in the July 11, 2006 local train blasts in the city. Kamble, who was on the Boravali train in which a bomb had exploded between Bandra and Khar Road, could not hide his joy after the special MCOCA court convicted 12 accused for their involvement in the blasts.
The verdict, he believes, came too late but is nonetheless satisifed with the final outcome. “Nine years is too long a time. I demand death penalty for the guilty. The government should take swift action to nab those who are still at large,” he demanded.
Echoing similar views, special public prosecutor Raja Thakare said concerns of the people, who lost their dear ones, really mattered in this case. “There is no question... whether or not I am happy with the judgment. I want people to be satisfied,” he said.
The then city police commissioner AN Roy also welcomed the MCOCA court verdict. He said that he was happy that the court had endorsed the chargesheet submitted after thorough investigations by the city police and the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS). “Our team conducted the investigation thoroughly. We had no initial clues. The team deserves a pat on the back,” he added. Then ATS chief KP Raghuvanshi, who steered the investigation, pointed out that the conviction was the result of hard work. Asked about the reason for the acquittal of one of the accused, Abdul Wahid Shaikh, he replied, “I have not seen the full judgment. It is up to the government whether or not to challenge the acquittal.”
Setting aside their political differences, the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress and NCP too welcomed the court verdict. BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said he hoped that in future, justice is given to victims much faster so that the bereaved families are assured that the state will not tolerate terrorism of any kind. City Congress president Sanjay Nirupam said such convictions only strengthen the people’s faith in the judiciary. “When the courts convict those proved to be involved in a terror attack, it strengthens the people’s resolve in the judiciary of the nation,” Nirupam said.
Mumbai NCP unit chief Sachin Ahir said the verdict should have been pronounced much earlier. “Though late, justice has prevailed. If this verdict would have come earlier, those affected by these attacks would have probably been much happier. Though our judiciary is capable of bringing such cases to a logical conclusion, these cases of terror need to be fast-tracked,” Ahir said.
He said cases of atrocities against women also need to be fast-tracked.