Indian nationals convicted for jihad bombing


A court in Gujarat, India convicted 48 Muslims on allegations of jihad bombing. Writes Ashlyn Davis

On Tuesday, February 8, a special court in Gujarat pronounced judgement in the 2008 Ahmedabad bomb blast case, convicting 49 of the 77 Muslims who were accused in the series of 21 explosions. Twelve were acquitted for lack of evidence, while 16 were given the benefit of the doubt.

While India is currently reeling under the threat of Sharia adherents using Muslim students to drive the secular democracy closer to the implementation of Sharia, this was not the first-time jihadi students from the Muslim community wreaked havoc in the country.

The blasts that sent tremors through the city were plotted by the Islamic terrorist organization Indian Mujahidin, formerly known as the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). Banned since 2001, the terrorist outfit was formed in Uttar Pradesh in April 1977 by jihadi students in order to work toward converting India into an Islamic land. Though the movement is proscribed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967, its founder, Mohammad Ahmadullah Siddiqi, serves as professor of Public Relations and Journalism at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. The 2008 bomb blasts, however, were planned long after Siddiqi moved to the US.

At 6:41 PM on July 26, 2008, several Indian news agencies received a lengthy email suggesting that jihadis were back in action to avenge the globally notorious 2002 Gujarat riots. Though the riot of 2002 has been covered exhaustively by media houses, not many reports highlighted the fact that the riot was triggered by enraged Muslims who halted the Sabarmati Express train before setting it ablaze, burning 59 Hindu pilgrims to death. Similarly, the fact that Muslims planted 21 bombs across Ahmedabad to “avenge” what they had started also didn’t get the media bandwidth it deserved.

A 14-page email sent by the Indian Mujahidin with the subject line, “Await 5 minutes for the revenge of Gujarat,” read: “In the name of Allah the Indian Mujahideen strike again! Do whatever you can, within 5 minutes from now, feel the terror of Death!” By invoking Allah, they made it clear that they were drawing the inspiration to carry out this large-scale violence from Islam. The email added: “We wonder at your memory. Have you forgotten the evening of 11 July 2006 so quickly and so easily?,” taking a dig at the failure of Indian security agencies regarding the July 2006 local train blasts in Mumbai. The email also contained threats for the Indian business tycoon Mukesh Ambani and warnings for movie stars, demanding that they stop working in films. Ahmedabad, like India’s financial capital Mumbai, held massive financial significance for the country; the repercussions of any damage to this city were bound to be massive. The jihadis knew this.

The first bomb went off at 6:45 PM and for the next hour and a half, a series of 21 explosions continued at short intervals, tearing through the populated areas of Thakkarbapa Nagar, Khadia, Maninagar, Sarangpur, Bapunagar, Hatkeshwar Circle, Jawahar Chowk, Isanpur, Govindwadi, Sarkhej, and Narol. Bombs were also planted at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital’s Trauma Center and L. G. Hospital Maninagar. It was a calculated move to increase the number of casualties, targeting vulnerable patients with limited mobility. Also, any kind of breakdown in the supply of essentials such as oxygen or electricity would kill patients who had not been killed in the blasts. One has to have a breathtaking level of brutality to think this through.

The blast at the civil hospital was deafening; it was dark for a split second, and then the survivors saw pieces of dead bodies scattered all around. The floor was covered in blood. 56 persons were killed in the blasts, and over 200 were injured. The severity of the victims’ burns led to a new branch of medical research.

It was the time for most people to return from work, but they couldn’t decide if they should board a train or run for their lives. Bombs were exploding in all directions. The city was abuzz with the sirens of police vehicles and ambulances.

On July 27, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) of the crime branch of the Ahmedabad police, Abhay Chudasama, received initial leads from reliable informers. Accompanied by a committed team, the DCP chased these leads and others clues that came in later, and unearthed a massive terror racket that had its tentacles throughout India. They arrested one of the key conspirators, Mufti Abu Bashir, from Lucknow. More terrorists were arrested in various hideouts in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Gujarat. They had been planning the blasts since December 2007; cars and bicycles were used as bombs carriers. The sinister plan didn’t even end there: police were located and defused two bombs in the city of Surat on July 28, and 18 more bombs on July 29.

The trial began in 2009. It took 13 years for justice to be delivered. Recalling these incidents alerts us against believing that the enemy is weak because it is made up of “students.” The enemy is not too weak to strike. The conditioning starts rather early.


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