30 Nov 2008, 0000 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE: A local court on Saturday awarded Death sentence to 11 muslim Jihadi criminals and life sentence to 12 muslim Jihadi criminals in connection with the 2000 serial blasts in churches across Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa.
Special sessions court judge S M Shivanagoudar, who had convicted 23 people last Friday, pronounced the judgment. All the muslim convicts belonged to the Deendar Channbasaveshwara Anjuman sect. While kingpin muslim Zia-ul-Hassan and his four children are in Pakistan, four others acquitted. Three of the accused died while trying to escape after planting a bomb at a Bangalore church.
Special public prosecutor H N Nilogal had pleaded for capital punishment for all the 23 convicted. The group had triggered six blasts in Andhra Pradesh, one each in Maharashtra and Goa and four in Karnataka.
The CoD (Corps of Detectives) team, comprising DSPs - V S D'Souza, M B Appanna, G R Hiremath and Manthesh - investigated the three blasts in Karnataka churches at Wadi, Hubli, Bangalore and the fourth blast in which the culprits were killed in a van and filed a chargesheet before the special court.
The accused were made to believe that blasts at churches in India would trigger a civil war between Hindus and Christians. A religious leader from Afghanistan would invade and conquer India, which would be converted into an Islamic country.
The serial blasts were carried out by activists of Deendar Channabasaveshwara Anjuman, founded in the 1920s. The conspiracy was hatched in October 1999 in Hyderabad, during the death anniversary of its founder Hajrath Moulana Siddiqui. Siddiqui's son, Zia-ul-Hasan and his four sons, who migrated to Pakistan, had visited Hyderabad during Siddiqi's death anniversary.
On June 8, 2000 two bombs had exploded at St Anne's Church, Wadi in Gulbarga district of Karnataka. The CoD filed chargesheet against 19 accused. Since four of them were absconding, 15 accused faced trial. On July 8, 2000, bombs exploded at St John's Luthern Church, Hubli. The CoD filed a chargesheet against 19 accused, of which 16 faced trial.
Next day, bombs exploded at St Peter Paul Church, JJ Nagar, Bangalore, where the cops filed a chargesheet against 29 accused, of which 17 faced trial. Within minutes, a van carrying people who planted the bombs also went off accidentally on Magadi Road, where two of the accused -- Zakir and Siddiqi -- were killed and another accused S M Ibrahim was injured.
Those Muslims who were awarded capital punishment are: Mohmad Ibrahim (40), Bangalore; Shaikh Hasham Ali (30), Hyderabad; Hasnuzama (55), Nuzvid, AP; Abdul Rehman Saith (50), Chikkaballapur; Amanath Hussain Mulla (58), Bangalore; Mohammed Sharfuddin (37), Hyderabad; Sayed Muneeruddin Mulla (40) -- Hubli; Mohd Akhil Ahmed (29), Hyderabad; Ijahar Baigh (32), Hyderabad; Sayed Abbas Ali (28), Hyderabad; Mohmad Khalid Choudhary (32), Hyderabad.