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Indian Court convicts 12 of planning Mumbai train bombings

NEW DELHI: An Indian court on Friday convicted 12 of planning blasts that ripped through Mumbai commuter trains in 2006, killing more than 180 people and wounding hundreds.
The 12 men who were convicted have been identified as Kamal Ansari, Asif Khan, Mohammed Faisal Ataur Rahman Shaikh, Ehtesham Kutubuddin Siddiqui, Naveed Hussain Khan, Tanvir Ansari, Mohammed Majid Shafi, Shaikh Mohammed Ali Alam Shaikh, Mohammeed Ansari, Muzammil Sheikh, Soheil Shaikh and Zameer Shaikh.
Judge Yatin D. Shinde on Friday found them guilty of murder and criminal conspiracy charges and said he will announce their sentences on Monday after hearing arguments from the prosecutors and defence attorneys. They face the death penalty.
“I want the strictest possible punishment for them,” prosecution lawyer Raja Thakare told media. “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.
One of the accused, identified as Abdul Wahid Shaikh, was acquitted of all charges. The accused were represented by Shahid Azmi, a Muslim rights activist and lawyer, who was killed mysteriously killed by unidentified gunmen in 2010.
Seven bombs went off within 15 minutes on the packed trains during the evening rush hour in Mumbai on July 11, 2006. Over the course of the nine-year trial, the court examined nearly 250 witnesses.
Police accused Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) of carrying out the 2006 attacks, although a little known outfit called the Lashkar-e-Qahhar claimed responsibility.
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.
The attacks prompted India to freeze peace talks with Pakistan for several months.

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