2006 Malegaon bombings
|2006 blasts at Malegaon|
|Location||Malegaon, Maharashtra, India|
|Date||8 September 2006 (UTC+5.5)|
|Target||Vicinity of Mosque|
|Perpetrators||(Suspected outfits)—Bajrang Dal (according to NIA), SIMI (according to ATS)|
The 2006 Malegaon bombings were a series of bomb blasts that took place on 8 September 2006 in Malegaon, a town in the Nashik district of the Indian state of Maharashtra, located at some 290 km to the northeast of state capital Mumbai. That were initially blamed on Pakistan but a chargesheet filed in 2013 put the blame on India based Hindu Radicals.
The explosions - which resulted in at least 37 fatalities and 125 injuries - took place in a Muslim cemetery, adjacent to a mosque, at around 13:15 local time after Friday prayers on the Shab e Bara'at holy day. Most of the blast victims were Muslim pilgrims. Security forces spoke of "two bombs attached to bicycles," but other reports indicated that three devices had exploded. A stampede ensued after the devices exploded. A curfew was imposed in the town and state paramilitaries were deployed in sensitive areas to prevent unrest.
- Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh promised compensation payments of Rs 1,00,000 (approx. €1700 or US$2150) to the next-of-kin of the deceased.
- Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the blasts and appealed for calm.
- Home Minister Shivraj Patil said the incident seemed designed to "divide the various sections of the public."
- Congress party president Sonia Gandhi has called on Indians to maintain calm.
- A home ministry official in Delhi said central security forces, including personnel from the anti-riot Rapid Action Force, were sent to Malegaon.
- There were episodes of violence when Muslims in Malegaon attacked police and their vehicles following the blasts.
- Various Muslim leaders have denounced the bombings and prayed for peace. In particular, Muslims in the state of Gujarat demonstrated against Pakistan for its alleged involvement in the blasts.
- US ambassador David Mulford said he was "shocked and saddened by the brutal terrorist bombings" and that the US stood "with India in its fight against terrorism".
On 10 September, news channel NDTV reported it had found out that investigators had identified the owner of one of the bicycles on which a bomb was planted. On the same day, police released sketches of two suspects wanted in connection with the bomb attacks. On 11 September, Maharashtra Director General of Police P. S. Pasricha said that the officers investigating the Malegaon blasts probe had gained vital leads and expressed confidence that a breakthrough would be achieved soon.
On 30 October, Times of India reported that first arrest is made in Malegaon blast case. This is the arrest of Noor-Ul-Hooda, an activist of the Students Islamic Movement of India. The DGP of Mumbai, Mr. Pasricha said that they were very close to cracking the case and the two other suspects are Shabeer Batterywala and Raees Ahmad.On 30 October, many other news media reported from Mr. Pasricha saying that this is the first arrest. An earlier news in Indian express that twenty arrests have been made has not been confirmed by any media including Indian Express. Yahoo news publishes the story with headline first arrest. On 6 November the times of India reported from Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) that the prime conspirator Shabbir Batterywala is an operative of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and the co-conspirator is Raees Ahmad of SIMI.
Suspicions and press releases
The Maharashtra police initially suspected Bajrang Dal, the Lashkar-e-Toiba or the Jaish-e-Mohammed of involvement in the attacks. No evidence was released against any of these groups, though the police claimed on 13 October to have identified the perpetrators. Lashkar-e-Toiba has had contacts with the controversial Students Islamic Movement of India in the region before. Police are also suspecting Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami in the attacks. On September 10, police sources said that the methods used are similar to attacks on mosques earlier in 2006 for which 16 Bajrang Dal activists, allegedly part of a "fringe group" of the organization, were arrested but not charged.
Malegaon has been the focus of communal tension for some time, which spilled out into the open in 1984, 1992, and 2001, when there were large scale protest over the US invasion of Afghanistan. Police had killed 12 Muslim protesters after a brief altercation with them. The erstwhile Taliban regime in Afghanistan had enjoyed immense support from Muslims in Malegaon.
On May 2006, police recovered a cache of RDX explosives and automatic rifles from the region based on information they said was provided by arrested extremist Islamists. The arrested were former members of the Students Islamic Movement of India.
In the September 2006 incident, police investigations have determined that the explosives contained in these bombings were "a cocktail of RDX, ammonium nitrate and fuel oil — the same mixture used in 7/11", referring to the 11 July 2006 Mumbai train bombings, a terrorist incident for which several Islamist groups are suspects. Since the investigation was still under way, Nasik Superintendent of Police Rajvardhan declined to give details, saying: "We can't say anything till we get reports from all the agencies".
- RDX is only available to Islamist outfits.
- Bajrang Dal activists so far have only used crude bombs, nothing as sophisticated as the ones in Malegaon.
Ajai Sahni, an intelligence analyst who tracks terrorist groups in South Asia, also said it was unlikely to be a Hindu group because they "lacked the organisation for such an attack".
On September 12, 2006, Indian Prime Minister referred as inappropriate to "rule out or rule in" the involvement of Hindu groups saying that "It will be inappropriate for us to rule out anything or rule in anything. I think there should be a fair investigation which inspires confidence and brings out the truth and nothing but the truth without any pre-conceived notion. That has to be the objective".
Reporter B. Raman, in an op-ed published on September 11, noted that "while it is too early to rule out the possibility of either Islamic or Hindu extremists as the perpetrators, there have been "attempts by some leaders of the Muslim community to create a divide between the community and the police by questioning the impartiality of the police and levelling other allegations against the investigating officers".
As of October 30, 2006, the most recent arrests involved members of the Students Islamic Movement of India and suspicions are presently directed at them as, after the arrests, the police have claimed to be closer to solving the case.
On 28 November 2006, Mumbai police stated that two Pakistani nationals were involved in the explosions. "We have successfully detected the Malegaon blasts case. We are, however, on the lookout for eight more suspects in the case," said DGP PS Pasricha. The Anti-Terrorism Squad probing into the case has already arrested eight suspects, including two booked in the July 11 Mumbai serial blasts, in connection with four explosions that rocked the town killing 31 people and injuring more than 200.
Three accused gave a confession before a competent authority about their involvement in the conspiracy but soon thereafter two of them retracted before a magistrate, saying they had not made a voluntary disclosure. This was revealed to a special court by the accused themselves when they were produced before it for remand. The development assumes significance as under MCOCA, a confession does not have evidential value if it is not a voluntary and true disclosure.
Seeking their remand, public prosecutor Raja Thakre said the accused had played a vital role in the conspiracy and investigations conducted by Anti-Terrorist Squad so far had revealed involvement of more persons who are yet to be arrested. On 16 November 2011 Seven accused in the Malegaon blasts were released on bail.
- "NIA to nail Hindu radicals in Malegaon chargesheet - Times Of India". Articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 2013-05-13. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
- Blasts rock Malegaon 38 killed, over 100 injured 'Hindustan Times'
- "Home Minister Shivraj Patil". Chicago Tribune.[dead link]
- Khan, Aftab (9 September 2006). "Gandhi Calls on Indians to Maintain Calm Washington Post". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2009-05-16. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
- Centre rushing additional forces to Malegaon Indian Express Archived 16 May 2009 at WebCite
- "Indian town seething with anger". BBC News. 9 September 2006.
- Religious leaders pray for peace NDTV[dead link]
- "National Religious leaders pray for peace".[dead link]
- "Gujarat Muslims hold anti-Pak rally ''IBN''". Ibnlive.com. 2006-09-09. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
- "Blasts kill 37 in India graveyard". BBC News. 8 September 2006.
- Breakthrough in India Blasts Probe Saudi Gazette[dead link]
- AFP Police release sketches of India blast suspects Yahoo News (Link dead as of 15 January 2007)
- "Cops gain vital leads 'Rediff.com'". Rediff.com. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
- [dead link]
- Malegaon blast suspect arrested - Mumbai - DNA[dead link]
- http://in.news.yahoo.com/061030/137/68wnm.html[dead link]
- "Police arrest Malegaon blasts 'conspirator' - Times Of India". Articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 2006-11-06. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
- Prafulla Marpakwar (2006-09-10). "No evidence of Bajrang involvement". Times of India. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
- Perpetrators of Malegaon Blasts identified[dead link]
- South Asia Terrorism Portal Archived 27 January 2010 at WebCite
- "Malegaon blasts Is it Bajrang or Lashkar?". Times of India. 2006-09-09. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
- "DNA India". Dnaindia.com. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
- "Indian town seething with anger". BBC News. 9 September 2006.
- Serial blasts kill 31 in India al-Jazeera[dead link]
- "Police Recover Cache of RDX explosives".[dead link]
- NDTV[dead link]
- "Malegaon, 7/11: Same Lethal cocktail used - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 2006-09-12.
- Indian Express[dead link]
- "Malegaon, 7/11: Same Lethal cocktail used". The Times of India. 2006-09-12. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
- PM Not OK With 'Rule Out, Rule In' of Hindus Samachar[dead link]
- "Terrorists make no distinction between Muslims and non-Muslims ''Rediff.com''". In.rediff.com. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
- "Police crack Malegaon serial blasts case, spot SIMI hand- Politics/Nation-News-The Economic Times". The Times Of India. 28 November 2006.
- SIMI behind Malegaon blasts: Police - Sify.com
- "3 confess in Malegaon blast case, 2 retract". Rediff.com. 2004-12-31. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
- [dead link]
|Wikinews has related news: 38 dead, over 180 injured as blasts rock Maharashtra town|
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