India’s special National Investigation Agency (NIA) has pronounced the death sentence for four jihad terrorists, Numan Ansari, Haider Ali, Imtiyaz Ansari, and Mojibullah Ansari, who belong to the Islamic jihad terror outfit SIMI and were convicted in the 2013 Patna serial bombings. The October 2013 bombings targeted an election rally of the then-candidate and present Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. Among the other convicts, Umer Siddiqui and Azharuddin have been sentenced to life imprisonment; Ahmad Hussain and Firoj Aslam to ten years imprisonment, and Ifteqaar Alam to seven years.
Lalan Kumar Sinha, the special public prosecutor who represented the NIA in the court, disclosed that nine of the total ten accused were found guilty under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 302 for murder. Also, sections of the Explosives Act, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, and the Railways Act were brought against the defendants. Sinha affirmed that all the convicts were members of the banned Islamic jihad outfit, Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). Gurwinder Singh Malhotra, an additional district and session’s judge of the special NIA court, found the nine guilty, but had to let off a tenth suspect, Fakruddin, for lack of evidence.
Sinha confirmed that five of these convicts had already been found guilty in the 2013 Bodh Gaya bombing case. He stated that he had demanded death sentences for all accused.
On April 24, 2014, a combined charge sheet was submitted against one of the accused, and a supplementary charge sheet was presented against ten individuals on August 22, 2014, including minors. The Patna Juvenile Justice Board convicted one of the minor accused, while allegations against a now-deceased accused were abated.
In its charge sheet, the NIA highlighted the fact that the suspects had developed the idea of the Patna blasts after failing to get closer to Modi during his previous rallies held in other major Indian cities and states, including New Delhi, Chhattisgarh and parts of Uttar Pradesh.
A series of eight bomb explosions rocked Patna, the capital city of India’s eastern state of Bihar, on October 27, 2013. The areas that were the direct target of the SIMI terrorists included the Gandhi Maidan, where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was holding its election rally with an estimated 300,000 participants, and the Patna Railway Junction.
The NIA discovered that the attackers had detonated a suicide vest and tied it to a palm tree in the Ranchi’s Sithiyo area while preparing for the serial blasts. The arrest of Imtiaz, who was injured in an accidental blast at the Patna railway junction on the day of Modi’s Hunkaar rally, blew the lid off the plans. Tariq Ajam Ansari was another suspected SIMI terrorist who also died accidentally while placing a pencil battery into an IED inside a public toilet on platform at the railway station. At least three IEDs were successfully defused at the scene of the convention later.
There were more than 89 casualties in these terror attacks, and six civilians were reported dead.
“The original plan was to assassinate Modi through suicide bombing, but the terrorists gave up that plan after a recce showed that his fortress-like security cover would be hard to penetrate,” the special public prosecutor revealed. Narendra Modi was then the Chief Minister of Gujarat, and that he was widely detested by Islamists had long been established.
Cases were lodged on November 1, 2013. Though no one had claimed responsibility for the jihad terror attack, investigations suggested that the Indian Mujahideen was culpable. The Indian Mujahideen is an Islamic terrorist group helmed by Abdul Subhan Qureshi, who is now under arrest by the Delhi police. It was declared a terrorist organization and banned by the Indian government in June 2010. In October 2010, New Zealand also recognized it a terrorist group, and in September 2011, the United States placed the Indian Mujahideen on its list of foreign terrorist organizations, acknowledging that it had launched multiple terrorist attacks with the ultimate aim of establishing an Islamic caliphate across South Asia. The outfit was subsequently banned by the United Kingdom for trying to create an Islamic state and implementing Sharia law in India by means of indiscriminate violence.
Investigators believe that the Indian Mujahideen is a subsidiary of SIMI, formed by lower-tier members of SIMI. The Indian Intelligence Bureau suggests that SIMI began adopting new names after its top leaders were detained and made available for interrogation.