A special court in India has found five Islamists – belonging to the banned outfit Indian Mujahideen – guilty for carrying out twin blasts in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad in 2013. This is the first time militants belonging to the locally groomed group were found guilty of a terror attack in the country.
The court was set up by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) over the attack, which claimed 19 lives. The quantum of punishment of all the five will be announced on 19 December.
Among those found guilty is the co-founder of Indian Mujahideen, Mohammed Ahmed Siddibappa aka Yasin Bhatkal. Others include Asadullah Akthar, Zia-ur-Rahman, Tahseen Akhthar and Aizaz Shaik. Four of the convicts are Indian nationals while Rahman is from Pakistan.
Another key mastermind Riyaz Bhatkal, who the Indian intelligence believes is operating from Karachi has not been arrested as yet. All the detainees are under judicial custody were tried under the Arms Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The trial of the case began in August 2015 and after a year-long hearing the final round of arguments concluded in November. More than 157 witnesses were interviewed during the final round of hearing.
Sharad Kumar, director general of NIA, said: "It was a wonderful investigation carried out by the team in which every evidence was examined minutely. This is the first ever conviction of Indian Mujahideen cadres. We will be appealing for maximum punishment for the culprits."
The NIA had argued that the extremist group had been plotting to wage a war against India and the Hyderabad explosions were part of a larger conspiracy. The agency had produced more than 440 witnesses and submitted over 250 documents against the suspects.