JAIPUR (Dunya News/AFP) – An Indian court on Wednesday jailed two Hindu extremists for life over a deadly bombing at a Sufi shrine that has a huge following amongst both Muslims and Hindus.
Police had initially blamed Pakistan-based terrorists for the 2007 attack on the revered 12th-century Sufi shrine at Ajmer in the western state of Rajasthan, which killed three people and injured 15.
But earlier this month a special court in Rajasthan found Devendra Gupta and Bhavesh Patel guilty, the first time in living memory that Hindu radicals have been convicted for such a crime.
A third man who was shot dead in the months after the attack and tried posthumously was also convicted. All three were convicted on charges related to explosives and conspiracy to commit unlawful acts over the blast, which came just before the Muslim festival of Eid.
Magistrate Dinesh Kumar Gupta pronounced sentence on Wednesday. Special public prosecutor Ashwini Sharma said their motive was to create communal disharmony.
“Their motive was to hurt religious sentiments of Muslims during the month of Ramzan (Ramadan) by the bomb blast,” Sharma said. Gupta and Patel’s lawyer J.S. Rana told journalists they would appeal the verdict in a higher court.
India has been alleging Pakistan of terrorist attacks for past decades without reliable probes and evidence. The most recent such development include attack on Indian military in Uri Town of Baramulla District in Kashmir valley that India has been forcefully occupying since Indo-Pak separation.
Terrorists had stormed Brigade Headquarters on September 16, 2016 claiming lives of over 18 soldiers.
Another recent attack was Pathankot offensive in January 2016 in Indian Punjab. Narendra Modi-led government had alleged Pakistan of role in both the terror attacks without having waited for any probe report.