Mecca Masjid blast verdict
Verdict on Mecca Masjid blast shortlyReuters

A special NIA court Monday, April 16, acquitted all the people accused in the 11-year-old Mecca Masjid bomb blast in Hyderabad. The NIA said that there was no direct proof that the blast, which killed nine and injured 58, had been orchestrated by them. 

The fourth additional metropolitan sessions-cum-special court for NIA cases had concluded the trial last week and said that it would announce the verdict on the blast, which killed nine, Monday.

In tune, tight security arrangements have been put in place in the city and all zonal officials have been asked to make sure that there is no trouble in any area. Heavy security has also been deployed at the Nampally court premises.

Eight people were facing trial for their alleged involvement in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast.

11 years in a recap

  1. The Mecca Masjid near Charminar in Hyderabad was bombed May 18, 2007, during the Friday prayers. Nine people lost their lives in the blast and 58 others sustained injuries.
  2. The attack was carried out by a cellphone-triggered pipe bomb and two more IEDs were found at the mosque and diffused.
  3. After a police probe, the case was then transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation and a charge sheet was filed.
  4. The case was then taken over by the NIA in 2011 and 10 people with links to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its sister organization were named in the case.
  5. The same had been hinted at earlier by then home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.
  6. Of the 10, five of them were arrested and faced trial in the case. The five accused are Lokesh Sharma, Swami Aseemanand, Devendra Gupta, Rajendra Chowdhary and Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar.
  7. Self-proclaimed monk Aseemanand was also an accused in the 2007 Ajmer Dargah blast but was acquitted in the case.
  8. The case involves two other people -- Sandeep V Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra – who have been on the run. Another accused Sunil Joshi has died.
  9. During the trial, over 220 witnesses were questioned and more than 400 documents were presented to the court.
  10.  Aseemanand and Rateshwar are currently out on bail, while the other three are behind bars.

 Speaking of the blast and how long it has been, Riyaz, who lost his father Yousuf Khan, and brother-in-law, Shafeeq-ur-Rehman said that he had followed the case thoroughly in the beginning. However, he now says it was a long time ago and the memories have now become hazy. He hopes the guilty are punished. 

"For the first few months I had followed the case, but as months and years passed by I forgot about it. I don't even know in which court the case was going on. I heard about some Muslim boys being arrested and then someone said a Hindu group and (Swami) Aseemanand were involved," Riyaz told The Indian Express.

"I don't have much about idea about it. Justice is delayed, but I am sure God will punish the guilty."