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Indian court convicts 12 over deadly 2006 train blasts

GavelAn Indian court on Friday convicted 12 people over a series of bombings on commuter trains in the business capital Mumbai that killed around 190 people in 2006.

The men were convicted of murder, conspiracy and waging war against the country over the coordinated series of attacks during the evening rush hour that also injured more than 800 people.

The Press Trust of India news agency said the Mumbai sessions court had acquitted one person and convicted 12 after a trial that has lasted nine years and concluded on August 19. Sentencing will be on Monday.

“I want the strictest possible punishment for them,” prosecution lawyer Raja Thakare told AFP by phone.

“Whatever sentence the judge hands out, it should be able to satisfy the public at large.”

In all, police charged 30 people over the bombings, including 13 Pakistani nationals, who along with four Indian suspects have yet to be arrested.

The bombs were placed in bags that were hidden under newspapers and umbrellas in the trains.

Prosecutors said the bombs were assembled in Mumbai and deliberately placed in first-class coaches to target the city’s wealthy Gujarati community.

They said the bombings were intended as revenge for the riots in the western state of Gujarat in 2002, which left some 2,000 people dead, most of them Muslims.

Police accused Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba of carrying out the 2006 attacks, although a little known outfit called the Lashkar-e-Qahhar claimed responsibility.

The attacks prompted India to freeze peace talks with Pakistan for several months.

Over the course of the nine-year trial, the court examined nearly 250 witnesses.

The accused were represented by Shahid Azmi, a Muslim rights activist and lawyer, who was killed mysteriously killed by unidentified gunmen in 2010.



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