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India: 10 members of extreme Hindu group acquitted in 2007 Mecca Masjid bombing

17th Apr 2018
India: 10 members of extreme Hindu group acquitted in 2007 Mecca Masjid bombing

By Shuriah Niazi

 

NEW DELHI (AA): An Indian court on Monday acquitted all 10 defendants accused in the deadly 2007 bombing of a historic mosque in Hyderabad, southern India.

The bomb blast, which took place during Friday prayers at the Mecca Masjid, killed nine people and injured 58 others, and was allegedly carried out by a group of right-wing Hindu terrorists.

The country’s federal investigation agency, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), failed to prove the charges against the accused, said the court.

According to local outlet NDTV, after initial investigation by the local police, the case was transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which filed a charge sheet. The NIA took over the case from the CBI in 2011.

In all, 226 witnesses were questioned by the NIA, and 10 people were finally charged. All the accused were related to a radical Hindu group, Abhinav Bharat, which allegedly has close ties with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), an ideological wing of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Among those acquitted is Swami Aseemanand, a saffron-robed monk, who is also accused in the 2006 Malegaon blasts and the 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings.

Justice Reddy, within hours of delivering the judgement resigned from his job and went incommunicado.

Justice Reddy, who is heading the Telangana Judicial Officers’ Association, sent his resignation letter to Hyderabad high court chief justice Ramesh Ranganathan in the evening. Reasons for his resignation are not exactly known.

Initially, the Hyderabad police who investigated the case suspected it to be the handiwork of Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI), a fundamentalist group supported by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), said a report in the Hindustan Times.

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[Photo: Mecca Masjid in Hyderbad, India. Photo by  Suraj Garg/AA]

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