Mumbai: A soft target for terrorist attacks- Mumbai has been rocked by 16 bomb blasts in 18 years. However, the residents of the financial capital of the country still wait for closure in most of the cases.

The trail of bomb blasts which claimed several lives on several occasions started on March 12, 1993 when the city was ripped off with serial bomb blasts killing 257 and injuring 713. The special TADA court during fifteen years of tedious proceedings awarded death sentence to 12 accused and life imprisonment to 30, most of whom have approached the Supreme Court for relief while some are out on bail.

Fear gripped the city again when a bomb blast in a BEST bus on December 2, 2002 killed 2 and injured 49. All the accused in the case were set free. However, in a related fake encounter of one of the suspects, Khwaja Yunus, some of the police officers are either serving jail term or are jobless and battling legal proceedings.
Just four days after the BEST case, a blast at Central Railway Station injured 22 people. The case is still pending in a trial court.

The trail continued with a blast outside the Vile Parle station on January 27, 2003 which injured 30 while a bigger blast on March 13, 2003 in a first class bogey of a train near Mulund station killed 13 and injured 80. In both the cases, the police had filed a case against Saqib Nachan who is presently out on bail while the case progresses at snail’s pace.

In the same year on August 25, bomb blasts at Zaveri Bazar and Gateway of India killed 55 and injured 150. Hanif Sayeed, Fatima Sayeed and Ashraf Ansari were sentenced to death under the POTA but their plea against the judgment in High Court is pending since two years.

The bomb-blast on July 11, 2006 proved to be the deadliest as lifeline of the city: local trains were ripped apart in which 189 people lost their lives while more than a thousand were injured. The case against 13 accused under MACOCA is still in progress.

Still fresh in the minds, Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008, public outrage and activism led to the fastest trial but the death sentence granted to the sole captured terrorist Ajmal Kasab is under appeal.

(JPN/Bureau)