1993 Bombay bombings

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1993 Mumbai bomb blast
Location Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Date 12 March 1993
13:30–15:40 (UTC+05:30)
Target Hotels, office buildings, banks, petrol pump , markets etc
Attack type
car bombing
Weapons 13 car bombs (RDX) containing shrapnel
Deaths 257[1]
Non-fatal injuries
713[2]
Assailants Mafia groups affiliated with (D-Company),

The 1993 Bombay bombings were a series of 13 bomb explosions that took place in Bombay (known now as Mumbai), Maharashtra, India on Friday, 12 March 1993.[3] The coordinated attacks were the most destructive bomb explosions in Indian history. [4] This was first of its kind serial-bomb-blasts across the world. The single-day attacks resulted in over 350 fatalities and 1200 injuries.[5][verification needed]

The attacks were coordinated by Dawood Ibrahim,[6] don of the Mumbai-based international organised crime syndicate named D-Company.[7] It is widely believed that D-Company executed it on behest of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence. Ibrahim is believed to have ordered and helped organise the bombings in Mumbai, through his subordinates Tiger Memon and Yakub Memon. The bombings are also believed to have been financially assisted by the expatriate Indian smugglers, Hajji Ahmed, Hajji Umar and Taufiq Jaliawala, as well as the Pakistani smugglers, Dawood Jatt.

The Supreme Court of India gave its judgement on 21 March 2013 after over 20 years of judicial proceedings sentencing the accused.[8] [9][10] However, the two main suspects in the case, Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon, have not yet been arrested or tried.[11] After India's three-judge Supreme Court bench rejected Memon's curative petition, saying the grounds raised by him do not fall within the principles laid down by the apex court in 2002, [12] the Maharashtra state government executed Yakub Memon, on 30 July 2015. [13]

Prelude[edit]

Background[edit]

In December 1992 and January 1993, there was widespread rioting in Mumbai[14] following the demolition by Hindus with hand tools of the disputed structure babari masjid in Ayodhya. A series of riots soon erupted throughout the nation, most notably in Mumbai. Five years after the December–January riots, the Srikrishna Commission Report found that nine hundred individuals lost their lives and over two thousand were injured.[15]

Confession of Gul Mohammed[edit]

Three days before the bombings took place on 9 March 1993, a small time hood from the Behrampada slum in North east Mumbai named Gul Noor Mohammad Sheikh a.k.a. "Gullu" was detained at the Nav Pada police station. A participant in the communal riots that had rocked Mumbai the previous year, Gullu was also one of the 19 men handpicked by the silver smuggler and chief mastermind, Tiger Memon and sent to Pakistan via Dubai on 19 February 1993, for training of the use of arms and bomb making.[16]

Upon completion of his training, Gullu returned to Mumbai via Dubai on 4 March 1993, only to find that in his absence the police had picked up his brothers to get him to surrender. In a vain attempt to secure his brothers' release, Gullu surrendered to the police. He confessed to his role in the riots, his training in Pakistan, and a conspiracy underway to bomb major locations around the city, including the Mumbai Stock Exchange, Sahar International Airport and the Shiv Sena Bhavan. However, his conspiracy claim was dismissed by the police as "mere bluff".[16]

The arrest of Gul Mohammed spurred Tiger Memon to advance the date of the blasts which were to coincide with the Shiv Jayanti celebrations in April 1993 to 12 March to pre-empt any police action.[16][17]

The bombings[edit]

At 1:30 pm a powerful car bomb exploded in the basement of the Mumbai Stock Exchange building. The 28-story office building housing the exchange was severely damaged, and many nearby office buildings also suffered some damage. About 50 were killed by this explosion.[18] About 30 minutes later, another car bomb exploded in front of the Mandvi Branch Corporation Bank near Masjid, and from 1:30 pm to 3:40 pm a total of 13 bombs exploded throughout Mumbai. Most of the bombs were car bombs, but some were in scooters.[19]

Three hotels, the Hotel Sea Rock, Hotel Juhu Centaur, and Hotel Airport Centaur, were targeted by suitcase bombs left in rooms booked by the perpetrators.[20] Banks, the regional passport office, the Air India Building, and a major shopping complex were also hit. Bombs exploded at Zaveri Bazaar, area opposite of Century Bazaar, Katha Bazaar, Sena_Bhavan, and Plaza Theatre. A jeep-bomb at the Century Bazaar exploded.[21] Grenades were also thrown at Sahar International Airport and at Fishermen's Colony, apparently targeting Hindus at the latter.[22] A double decker bus was very badly damaged in one of the explosions and that single incident accounted for the greatest loss of life – perhaps up to ninety people were killed.[21]

Locations attacked included:

Aftermath[edit]

The official number of dead was 257 with 1,400 others injured (some news sources say 317 people died;[26] this is due to a bomb which killed 60 in Calcutta on 17 March[27]). Several days later, unexploded car bombs were discovered at a railway station. Terrorist groups based in Pakistan were suspected to be responsible for these bombings, and evidence uncovered pointed to the involvement of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

On 10 August 2003, two large and destructive bombs left in taxis exploded in south Mumbai – the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar in the busy Kalbadevi area – killing 52 people and wounding more than a hundred others. Two Pakistan based militant groups, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba, were found to be responsible for the attacks.

On 11 July 2006, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra during the blasts, Sharad Pawar, admitted, on record, that he had "deliberately misled" people following the 1993 Mumbai blasts by saying there were "12 and not 11" explosions, adding the name of a Muslim-dominated locality to show that people from both communities had been affected.[28] He tried to justify this deception by claiming that it was a move to prevent communal riots by falsely portraying that both Hindu and Muslim communities in the city had been affected adversely. He also admits to lying about evidence recovered and misleading people into believing that some of it pointed to the Tamil Tigers as possible suspects.[28]

The bombings also caused a major rift within the D-Company, the most powerful criminal organisation in the Mumbai underworld headed by Dawood Ibrahim. Infuriated at the bombings, Ibrahim's right-hand man Chotta Rajan split from the organisation, taking most of the leadership-level Hindu aides such as Sadhu Shetty, Jaspal Singh and Mohan Kotiyan with him. Rajan's split divided the Mumbai underworld along communal lines and pitted Chotta Rajan's predominantly Hindu gang against Dawood Ibrahim's predominantly Muslim D-Company. The ensuing gang war took the lives of more than a hundred gangsters and continues to this day.[29] Seven of the accused (Salim Kurla, Majeed Khan, Shakil Ahmed, Mohammed Jindran, Hanif Kadawala, Akbar Abu Sama Khan and Mohammed Latif) were systematically assassinated by Chotta Rajan's hitmen.[30][31]

Arrests, convictions and verdict[edit]

Many hundreds of people were arrested and detained in Indian courts. In 2006, 100 of the 129 finally accused were found to be guilty and were convicted by Justice PD Kode of the specially designated TADA court.[32] Many of the 100 are still missing including the main conspirators and masterminds of the attacks – Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim. On 12 September 2006, the special TADA court hearing the case convicted four members of the Memon family for their involvement in the 1993 Mumbai bombings.[33]

Three other members of the Memon family were acquitted by the special TADA court with the judge giving them the benefit of the doubt.[33] The four members of the Memon family are being held after being found guilty on charges of conspiring and abetting acts of terror.[34] All four of them face jail terms from five years in prison to life imprisonment, that will be determined based on the severity of their crime.[33] A day later, the TADA court announced that it would start pronouncing the verdict of the thirty-one people charged with transporting and planting bombs.

Yakub Memon, the brother of prime accused Tiger Memon, was charged for possession of unauthorised arms. After the blasts, family members of Tiger, including Yakub, escaped from Mumbai to Dubai and Pakistan. Correspondents say Tiger Memon owned a restaurant in Mumbai and was allegedly closely associated with Dawood Ibrahim, the chief suspect.[35]

Except for Tiger and his brother Ayub, the entire family returned to India and were promptly arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation in 1994. Since then, Yakub was in custody and was undergoing treatment for depression. The Memon family was subsequently tried in court and found guilty of conspiracy. The defence lawyers have asked for leniency in the sentencing and have caused delays in the process.[35]

Yakub Memon was executed by hanging in Nagpur Central Jail at around 6:30 AM IST on 30 July 2015.

Two of the accused, Mohammed Umar Khatlab and Badshah Khan (pseudonym given by the prosecution to hide his real identity) turned state approvers.[31]

Dawood Ibrahim, believed to have masterminded the terrorist attacks, is the Don of the Mumbai organised crime syndicate D-Company, largely consisting of Muslims. He is suspected of having connections to several Pakistan based terrorist groups,[36] such as al-Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden,[37] as well as Lashkar-e-Toiba[38] and was declared a terrorist by the governments of India and the United States in 2003. Ibrahim is now wanted by Interpol as a part of the worldwide terror syndicate of Osama bin Laden.[39] He has been in hiding since the blasts and is believed to be hiding in Pakistan, which the Pakistani government denies.[40] The Bush administration in the United States imposed sanctions on Ibrahim in 2006.[41]

The penalty stage of the longest running trial in India's history is still ongoing. In February 2007, prosecutors asked for the death penalty for forty-four of the hundred convicted. The prosecution also requested the death penalty for those convicted of conspiracy in the case.[42] Asghar Yusuf Mukadam and Shahnawaz Qureshi, who have been found guilty for involvement in the blasts pleaded for leniency, claiming that they were not terrorists and were emotionally driven to participate in the act. Mukadam claimed that the main conspirators took advantage of his "frame of mind" after the demolition of Babri Masjid and the subsequent riots, alleging police partiality during the riots. "Vested interests" instigated him to act as he did. Quareshi was trained in Pakistan to handle arms and ammunition. He and Muquddam parked the explosive filled vehicle at Plaza cinema, Mumbai which resulted in 10 deaths and 37 injuries.[43] Qureshi reached Pakistan via Dubai, where he claims he was taken "under the pretext of providing ... an alternative job". He claims that his house was set on fire during the riots. [44]

Some of the conspirators who managed to flee out of India after the bombings were arrested and extradited to India later on. These conspirators were declared absconders during the course of the trial. Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Firoz Khan, Taher Merchant, Riyaz Siddiqui and Abdul Qayoom[45] amongst others were arrested and trial continued against these absconders in a special TADA court in Mumbai. Ujjwal Nikam who was earlier the Special Prosecutor in these case was later on replaced by Deepak Salvi to continue with the trial in the light of the subsequent developments.[45]

The Memons[edit]

  • Yakub Memon was held in prison beginning in 1994. He was sentenced to death in July of 2007 and was executed by hanging on July 30 2015 at 6:35 am IST at Nagpur Jail.
    • Convicted for conspiracy.
    • Arranging finance and managing its disbursement through co-accused, Mulchand Shah and from a firm, Tejarath International, owned by absconding accused, and brother, Ayub Memon to achieve objectives of conspiracy.
    • Arranged for air tickets through Altafali Mushtaqali Sayyed, East West travels for the youths who were sent for arms and ammunition training to Pakistan. Also made arrangements for their lodging and boarding.
    • Purchased motor vehicles which were used while planting bombs.
    • Requested co-accused, Amjadali Meherbux and Altafali Sayyed, to store suitcases containing arms, ammunition, hand grenades and detonators.
    • Yakub Memon's death sentence was carried out on July 30, 2015 at Central Jail, Nagpur.[46]
  • Isa and Yusuf Memon, brothers of Yakub.
    • Both were charged for allowing their flat in Al-Hussaini building, Mahim, to be used to host conspiracy meetings as well as storage of arms and explosives.
    • Isa has already spent about 13 years in prison. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the bombings on October 2006.[47]
    • Yusuf is a chronic schizophrenia patient, but has spent less than a year in prison. He had also allowed the use of his van to plant bombs. Yusuf was sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the attacks.[48]
    • As of 2015, Isa and Yakub Memon were serving life imprisonment in Harsul Central Jail in Aurangabad, Maharashtra.[49]
  • Rubina Memon. Her Maruti car was the first piece of evidence in the trial. She was convicted of allowing the use of her Maruti van, registered in her name, by other accused, who had delivered the explosives and was awarded a life sentence.[50]
  • Three members of the Memon family – Suleiman, Hanifa and Raheen were acquitted with the judge giving them the benefit of doubt.[51]

The Planters[edit]

Prosecution has sought the death sentence for all except Imtiaz Ghavate. As he is HIV positive, the prosecution has sought a lesser sentence for him.

  • Shoaib Ghansar planted an RDX-laden scooter in Zaveri Bazaar that killed 17 and injured 57 others
    • He was also guilty of filling RDX in the scooter the previous night at Al-Hussaini building that killed 17 people and injured 57. He is Asghar Mukadam's cousin.
    • He was sentenced to death by the court on the counts of murder and participating in terrorist act[52] on 19 July 2007[53]
  • Asghar Mukadam planted an RDX-laden van in Plaza Cinema with Shahnawaz Qureshi that killed 10 and injured 37 others
    • Participated in the loading of RDX in vehicles, on 11 March
    • Collected money from Mulchand Shah and facilitating disbursement of money to other accused
    • Sentenced to death on 19 July 2007.[52]
  • Shahnawaz Qureshi planted an RDX-laden van at Plaza Cinema with Asghar Mukadam, killing 10 and injuring 37others
    • Guilty of taking arms training in Pakistan via Dubai and of loading the contraband in Al-Hussaini building on 11 March 1993.
    • Sentenced to death on 19 July 2007.[52]
  • Abdul Ghani Turk, guilty of parking RDX-laden jeep at Century Bazaar killing 113 and injuring 227
    • Filling RDX in vehicles killing 113 and injuring 227
    • Sentenced to death on 18 July 2007.[54]
  • Parvez Shaikh, guilty of parking a bomb in Katha Bazaar that killed four.
    • Guilty of planting bomb in Hotel Sea Rock, destroying property worth nine crores.
    • Sentenced to death on 18 July 2007.[54]
  • Mohammed Iqbal Mohammed Yusuf Shaikh, convicted for throwing hand grenades in Sahar airport; parking an unexploded RDX-laden scooter in Naigaon
    • Obtaining arms training in Pakistan, loading RDX in vehicles on the night of 11 March
    • Sentenced to death on 20 July 2007.[55]
  • Naseem Barmare, guilty of hurling hand grenades at Sahar airport.
    • Parking unexploded scooter at Naigaum.
    • Acquiring weapon training in Pakistan.
    • Participating in conspiracy meetings
    • Preparing vehicle bombs.
    • Sentenced to life imprisonment and fined Rs. 2,30,000.[56]
  • Mohammed Farooq Pawale planted an RDX-laden car at Air-India building killing 20 and injuring 84.
    • Parking an RDX-laden van near Sena Bhavan with approver killing 4 and injuring 50
    • Participated in arms training in Pakistan
    • Participated in the landing of arms and ammunition at Shekhadi
    • Sentenced to death on 25 July 2007.[57]
  • Mushtaq Tarani participated in a meeting at hotel Taj Mahal. He did a reconnaissance of the sites for the blasts.
    • Planting at Hotel Juhu Centaur injuring 3 and causing loss of property worth Rs 2.10 crore
    • Planting an unexploded scooter at Sheikh Memen street in Zaveri Bazaar
    • Sentenced to death on 18 July 2007.[54]
  • Imtiaz Ghavate was the only one who did not face death planted unexploded RDX-laden scooter at Dhanji street in South Mumbai.
    • He also participated in the landing of RDX, arms and ammunition at Shekhadi. He was present at the Al Husseini building, where vehicle bombs were readied.
    • Sentenced to life imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs. 2,27,000.[56]

In March 2013, the death sentence awarded by the TADA court to ten convicts- Abdul Gani Ismail Turk, Parvez Nazir Ahmed Shaikh, Mushtaq Tarani, Asghar Mukadam, Shahnawaz Qureshi, Shoaib Ghansar, Firoze Amani Malki, Zakir Hussain, Abdul Akhtar Khan and Farooq Pawale, was commuted to life in prison until death by the Supreme Court of India. Only the death sentence of Yakub Memon was upheld.[58]

Accused involved[edit]

Mohammed Moin Qureshi, Feroz Amani Malik, Bashir Khairulla, Zakir Hussain and Abdul Akhtar Khan had pelted hand grendes in Mahim Causeway causing three deaths and injuring six. The driver Salim Shaikh, did not pelt any hand grenades.

  • Bashir Khairulla convicted for his participation in arms, ammunition and explosives training conducted by Tiger Memon in Sandheri and Bhorghat
    • Convicted for participating in the conspirator's meetings in the house of Mubina Baya and for participating in the filling of RDX in the vehicles.
    • Sentenced to life imprisonment on 20 July 2007.[59]
  • Zakir Hussain was convicted for participating in the arms, ammunition and weapon training in Pakistan, for participating in conspirator's meetings and participating in the filling of RDX
    • Sentenced to death on 24 July 2007.[60]
  • Abdul Akhtar Khan convicted for taking arms, ammunition and explosives training in Pakistan.
    • Sentenced to death on 24 July 2007.[60]
  • Firoz Amani Malik convicted for taking arms, ammunition and explosives training in Pakistan
    • Sentenced to death on 24 July 2007.[60]
  • Moin Qureshi convicted for participating in the arms, ammunition and explosives training, participating in the conspirator's meeting and participating in the filling of RDX in vehicles on 11 March.
    • Was also found guilty for being in possession of 17 hand grenades.
    • Sentenced to life imprisonment on 24 July 2007.[60]

Landing agents[edit]

  • Dawood Phanse a.k.a. Dawood Taklya (Dawood Baldie). He is guilty of conspiracy, organising the landing of arms, ammunition and the nearly 3,000 kg of RDX in 57 gunny bags at Shekhadi in Raigad district on 3 and 7 February 1993; attending a conspiracy meeting in Dubai with Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon.[61]
    • Initially, the prosecution had sought the death sentences, but due to his old age, he was given two consecutive life sentences (to be served concurrently) and fined Rs 2 lakhs.[62][63]
  • Sharif Abdul Gafoor Parkar a.k.a. Dadabhai, guilty of bribing officials and police at Raigad to assist in the landing of RDX, arms and ammunition at Shekhadi, showed training camps at Sandheri and Bhor Ghat, transportation of consignment.[61][63]
    • Sentenced to 14 years imprisonment as he was aware of the content of the contraband, but accquited of conspiracy. He was also fined Rs. 2,00,000, defaulting which he would have to serve three more years.[63]

Customs officials[edit]

  • S.N. Thapa, former additional customs collector, preventive
    • Accused of being Guilty of conspiracy. Convicted for getting the information about the landing at Shekhadi and that the main exit point could be in Mhasla Shrivardhan area. He is alleged to have laid a trap at Purarphata on Mhasla-Goregaon road on 30 January. Besides that, his team gave up the vigil after 2 February in spite of the warnings (confessions of co-accused in TADA Court shows that landing actually took place many days after team led by Thapa had left for Mumbai) and that the smugglers, in fact, postponed the landing as they heard from sources that an ambush had been laid for them by Thapa. These accusations stand to be the same even though confessions of others convicted say otherwise. To quote "He (Phanse) also confessed that the duo (Phanse and Parkar)bribed all Customs officers except for Thapa, who incidentally is an accused in the case.".[64] In the 10,000 page judgement copy provided, TADA Court judge, P.D. Kode resons that even though there is no direct or in-direct evidence against Mr. S.N. Thapa, he is awarded a term of life imprisonment because he was the seniormost customs officer and thus must be knowing about the conspiracy. Till his last days, Thapa proclaimed his innocence and was confident that the greater conspiracy of his wrongful arrest,trial and conviction would be unveiled in the Supreme Court who, in 1994 granted him bail after going through all evidence stating that there is no direct or in-direct evidence to prove that Mr. S.N. Thapa was part in planning, landing or transportation of contraband substances nor that was he aware of any such conspiracy for blasts in Mumbai.[65]
    • S.N. Thapa died due to lung cancer on 11 April 2008. His family expressed hopes that the supreme court will entertain their quest for the truth.[citation needed]
  • R K Singh, Former assistant commissioner of customs,
    • convicted for facilitating RDX landing in Shekhadi after accepting bribe of more than 7.8 lakh Rupees.
    • Had meetings with the accused.
    • Sentenced to 9 years rigorous imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs 3,00,000.[66]
  • Mohammed Sultan Sayyed, former customs superintendent.
    • Convicted for facilitating RDX landing in Shekhadi after accepting bribe of more than 7.8 lakh.
    • Had attended meetings with the accused.
    • Sentenced to 7 years rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs 1,00,000.[66]
  • Jaywant Gurav, former customs inspector.[citation needed]
    • Convicted for allowing passage of RDX from Raigad to Mumbai
    • Sentenced to 8 years rigorous imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs 2,00,000.[66]
  • S S Talwadekar, former customs superintendent.[citation needed]
    • Convicted for allowing passage of RDX from Raigad to Mumbai
    • Sentenced to 8 years rigorous imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs 2,00,000.[66]

Policemen[edit]

  • Vijay Patil, ex police sub-inspector
    • Guilty of conspiracy and taking bribe to allow passage of RDX from Raigad to Mumbai.[67]
    • Has been sentenced to life imprisonment and 1 lakh rupees fine by TADA court on 22 May 2007.[67]
  • Ashok Muleshwar, P M Mahadik, Ramesh Mali and S Y Palshikar; all Police Constables
    • Guilty of allowing passage of RDX of arms from Raigad to Mumbai.
    • All four sentenced by TADA court to six years' imprisonment and a fine of Rs 25,000 each.[68] its really nice to be a police man like u


Sanjay Dutt and co-conspirators[edit]

  • Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for possession of arms. These arms were allegedly supplied by Dawood Ibrahim's gang to be trafficked to the terrorists in Mumbai for protection during potential communal rioting after the bombings.[69][70]
  • Yusuf Nulwalla, convicted for trying to destroy Sanjay's arms. He has been sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment with two years further for destroying the arms. Also, he has to pay Rs 25,000 as fine.[71]
  • Kersi Adejania, convicted for trying to destroy Sanjay's arms. He has been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment. He too has been slapped with a fine of Rs. 25,000.[71]
  • Rusi Mulla, convicted for trying to destroy Sanjay's arms. He has been freed by the court but has to pay Rs. 1 lakh to the court.[71]

Others[edit]

  • Zaibunnisa Kadri guilty for storing AK-56 and hand grenades at the instance of Anees Ibrahim and Abu Salem, she faces a minimum of five years RI.[citation needed]
  • Mansoor Ahmed convicted for carrying weapons from Sanjay Dutt's house to co-accused's house has already spent 9 years in prison[citation needed]
  • Samir Hingora convicted for conspiracy.[72] For supplying 3 AK-56 rifles, its magazines and ammunition, hand grenades to Sanjay Dutt's residence as told to by Anis Ibrahim. Prosecution has sought the death sentence
  • Ibrahim Musa Chauhan alias Baba Chauhan convicted for supplying AK-56 rifles, its magazines, ammunition, and hand grenades to Sanjay Dutt and Salim Kurla as told to by Anis Ibrahim. He was also convicted for being in unauthorised possession of one AK 56 rifles, 635 ammunition, 10 magazines, and 25 hand grenades, which were recovered by the police[citation needed]
  • Ejaz Pathan extradited from Dubai in 2003, participated in Dubai meetings, provided men for landing of arms and ammunition at Shekhadi, for being in possession of arms and sending youth to Dubai for arms training.[73]

Popular culture[edit]

S. Hussain Zaidi released a book by the name of Black Friday – The True Story of the Mumbai Bomb Blasts about the 1993 Mumbai bombings. It was later made into a film in 2004 by Indian film maker Anurag Kashyap named Black Friday. Babu Janardhanan's Mammootty-starrer Malayalam film entitled Mumbai March 12 is also based on the bomb blasts.[74]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  5. ^ Hansen, Thomas (2001). Wages of Violence: Naming and Identity in Postcolonial Mumbai. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-691-08840-2. 
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