11 sentenced to death for Karnataka church blasts

November 29th, 2008 - 9:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Nov 29 (IANS) A Karnataka court Saturday handed out death sentence to 11 people and life imprisonment to 12 members of a banned religious sect for bomb blasts in several churches in the state in 2000.The 23 belong to a sect called Deendar Channabasaveshwara Anjuman founded by Moulana Siddique in 1924 in Gulbarga district in north Karnataka.

Besides Karnataka, the sect members are also accused of setting off explosions in churches in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Goa. Though the sect was started in Gulbarga, its head office was in Asif Nagar, Hyderabad, according to the Karnataka police.

The explosions were set off in around 13 churches, including four in Karnataka - one in Wadi in Gulbarga, one in Hubli in north Karnataka district of Dharwad and two in Bangalore, between May and July 2000.

The central government has banned the sect.

A special court headed by S.M. Shivanagoudar pronounced death and life imprisonment sentences after eight years of hearing the case.

Shivanagoudar said though no one was killed during these blasts, the attacks amounted to anti-national activities.

Mohmad Ibrahim, Shaikh Hasham Ali, Hasnuzama, Abdul Rehaman Saith, Amanath Husain Mulla, Mohmad Sharfuddin, Sayed Muneerudin Mulla, Mohmad Akhil Ahmed, Ijahar Baigh, Sayed Abbas Ali and Mohmad Khalid Choudary were given the death sentence.

Life sentence was given to Mohmad Farook Ali, Mohmad Siddiqi, Abdul Habeeb, Shamshuzama, Shaikh Fardin Vali, Sayed Abdul Khader Zilani, Mohmad Giyasuddin, Meerasab Koujalagi, Rish Hiremath, Basheer Ahmed, Mohmad Husain and Sangli Basha.

The Karnataka police told the special court that though the sect was started apparently for establishing religious equality, there was a hidden agenda of “jehad” to attain Islamisation of India.

After the death of sect founder Moulana Siddique in April 1952, his eldest son Zia-Ul-Hasan became head of the sect and is now settled in Mardan, Pakistan, with his family, the police said.

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