On February 28, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Special Court awarded death sentences to 7 ISIS operatives convicted in the 2017’s Bhopal-Ujjain Train Blast case.
The Special Court also awarded life imprisonment to the 8th ISIS operative convicted in the case. Justice VS Tripathi observed that the case falls in the ‘rarest of rare cases’ category.
The NIA Special Court awarded death sentences to Mohd Faisal, Gaus Mohd Khan, Mohd Azhar, Atiq Muzaffar, Mohd Danish, Syed Mir Hussain, and Asif Iqbal alias Rocky. In contrast, Mohd Atif Irani was awarded life imprisonment in the case.
Earlier, on February 24, the NIA Special Court found the 8 ISIS operatives guilty under sections 121, 121A, 122, 123 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC); sections 17, 18, 18A, 18B, 23, 38 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and sections 3, 25, 35 of Arms Act. Justice VS Tripathi observed that the case fell in the ‘rarest of rare cases’ category, and therefore the convicts deserve the severest punishment.
On March 7, the convicts planted a bomb on the Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train, which injured 8 people. It was revealed that the convicts wanted to bomb the Lucknow-Bhopal Pushpak Express but failed. The convicts were travelling in the Pushpak Express with an explosive-filled bag; however, they could not plant them due to the heavy crowd.
Indian Express quoted their sources “After their failure to plant the bomb on the Pushpak Express, they got desperate. They managed to get into the last coach of the Bhopal-Ujjain train that was about to leave the station, left the bag filled with explosives and got off.”
On March 7, the low-intensity blast occurred at Jabri railway station between Bhopal and Ujjain. The convicts were arrested from Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur, Lucknow and Unnao districts about 20 days after the incident.
While the convicts pleaded for leniency on the quantum of sentence, stating that the 8 ISIS operatives have been in prison for over 5 years, the Court refuted the plea stating that the convicts were not entitled to leniency as they waged war against the country.
The NIA Special Court has sent the case’s file to the Allahabad High Court for the confirmation of the death sentence, as High Court’s confirmation is needed for the execution of the death sentence according to the law.