Two years later, no breakthrough in Hyderabad blast case

May 18th, 2009 - 7:42 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram Hyderabad, May 18 (IANS) It is the second anniversary Monday of a blast at the historic Mecca Masjid here that killed nine people and injured dozens. The investigators are still groping in the dark.
The blast occurred during Friday prayers at the mosque on this day in 2007. Five more people were killed in the subsequent police firing on a mob protesting outside the mosque.

Police Monday made elaborate security arrangements around the 17th century mosque and historic Charminar and intensified patrolling in sensitive areas in the old city as a precautionary measure.

However, no group took out a rally or procession. Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) is holding a public meeting at Khilwat Ground near the mosque Monday night to demand arrest of culprits and to protest lack of action against police officials responsible for the firing.

The blast at the mosque, one of the biggest in India, was the first major act of terrorism in this southern city. The police had blamed Bangladesh-based Harkatul Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI) for it and rounded up at least 30 youths.

The police, however, failed to prove any evidence of the involvement of the suspects, who were all acquitted.

Though the investigations were handed over to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), it has not yet achieved any breakthrough.

While MIM and other Muslim organisations blame right-wing Hindu outfits for the blast, the investigating agencies say the case had turned cold as the two prime suspects in the case are dead. They include city youth Shahid alias Bilal, who is believed to be killed in a gun battle in Pakistan. Police blame Bilal for several terrorist attacks in south India.

“The CBI is investigating the case but in police language the case has turned cold. The reason is we think that two prime suspects in that case are dead,” Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram told reporters here March 6.

“Unless we get further clues, it is not possible to take that forward but the CBI is working on that,” he replied when asked about progress made in the case.

MIM, the powerful Muslim political party, has alleged that investigating authorities were going soft on the real culprits.

According to MIM leaders, Pragya Thakur and Colonel Purohit, arrested by Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of Maharashtra police in connection with Malegaon blasts, had reportedly confessed their involvement in the Mecca Masjid blast. MIM feels that sincere efforts were not being made to probe this angle and interrogate the accused.

Following the mosque blast, the city was rocked by two near simultaneous blasts Aug 25, 2007 at a public park and a popular eatery, killing 42 people and injuring scores of others.

Andhra Pradesh police’s anti-terror unit Octopus last week filed a chargesheet in the twin blasts case.

The Maharashtra police late last year arrested four operatives of Indian Mujahideen and charged them with the attacks. Three other accused are still at large.

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