17 years on, victims of Mecca Masjid blast await justice

WIth the NIA not going in for appeal against the acquital of the accused, question remains as to who were the Mecca Masjid blast perpetrators

Updated - May 19, 2024 05:09 am IST

Published - May 18, 2024 08:48 pm IST - HYDERABAD

Activists urge government to order for a thorough re-investigation into the blast at Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad that took place 17 years ago.

Activists urge government to order for a thorough re-investigation into the blast at Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad that took place 17 years ago. | Photo Credit: RAMAKRISHNA G

Seventeen years ago, on May 18, a Friday, a blast caused by an improvised explosive device shattered the calm of the sprawling courtyard of the Mecca Masjid. It killed nine people and wounded dozens. The perpetrators of this heinous act of terror are yet to be brought to justice.

Records show that the youngest victim was 12-year-old Mohammed Sameer, while the others were identified as 25-year-old Mohammed Jaffer and Sk. Mohd Nayeem, 17-year-old Md Azeem, 18-year-old Mohammed Riyaz, 27-year-old Shafiq-ur-Rahman, 36-year-old Yusuf Khan and 28-year-old Sajed Ali Khan, the ninth victim remained unidentified. The blast injured as many as 58 others.

In April 2018, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Special Court acquitted the accused — Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Bharath Mohan Lal Rateshwar and Rajendra Choundary, and Naba Kumar Sarkar alias Swami Aseemanand. The NIA chose not to go in for an appeal.

Soon after the blast, the protesting crowd became restive which prompted the police to open fire. As many as five people were killed.

Hours after the blast, the Hussaini Alam Police Station registered cases under Sections 302, 307 and 120 B of the Indian Penal Code, along with relevant sections of the Explosive Substances Act. The Central Bureau of Investigation took up investigation after re-registering the case. The case was then transferred to the National Investigation Agency.

In June 2007, the government of undivided Andhra Pradesh constituted the V. Bhaskara Rao Commission to probe the police firing. While the Commission submitted a report, it has not been tabled in the Telangana State Legislative Assembly.

Meanwhile, civil society members on Saturday released a statement demanding reopening of the case and a thorough re-investigation. Lawyer Syed Mounis Jafar Abidi and activists Kaneez Fathia, S Q Masood, Sara Mathews, Ali Asghar, and Khalida Parveen also demanded that the Telangana government file an intervention petition, and the Congress government, which recently took the reins, “set an example” and “commitment to justice” by swiftly tabling the V. Bhaskara Rao Commission report.

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