1993 Mumbai blasts: Have victims got a sense of closure?

The Supreme Court pronounced a historic verdict on March 21, 2013 for 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, which had left a trail of devastation and death. It upheld the death sentence of Yakub Memon, who they said was one of the prime accused in the deathly game, commutated the sentence of ten to life imprisonment and also upheld the conviction of Hindi film actor Sanjay Dutt.

Predictably, the media lapped up the news about Dutt and how his going to jail for three and a half years would lead to loss of crores to film industry. Bollywood actors too predictably fell over each other to express sadness at the sentence that Sanjay Dutt was handed.

Amidst the din was lost the fact that more than 250 people died in the blasts and around 700 were injured. Someone lost their parents, someone their child, some husbands, while others their friends. They waited twenty years to get a sense of closure so that their wounds could heal. Pause for a moment and think – twenty agonizing years to get justice. And even though nothing and nobody can ever heal the wound of having lost someone close, one does feel at peace if those who hurt you in the worst possible way are meted out the punishment that they deserve.

For precisely this reason, the victims of the Mumbai blasts may never feel a complete sense of closure till the real architects of one of the worst bloodbaths in the history of the country are brought to book. Yes, the apex court did uphold Yakub’s death sentence saying that they had no doubt about Memon`s role in the blasts. But most importantly, they also observed that Yakub Memon and all absconding accused were ‘archers’ and rest of the accused was ‘arrows’ in their hands.

And who are these ‘archers’ – underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, Tiger Memon and, if I may add, the ISI and Pakistan. Tiger with Dawood Ibrahim fled India after the blasts. Dawood has been living a luxurious life in Pakistan’s Karachi town since then, replete with all the comforts. India has made repeated request to its neighbour to hand over Dawood to them, sending them dossier after dossier but as is always the case, it has fallen on deaf ears. With the support of the ISI, Dawood too knows that he is in safe hands and is being rewarded well for his service to Pakistan, namely the audacious attack on India.

Acknowledging Pakistan’s complicity in the crime, the SC categorically said that the accused were “trained in bomb making and to handle sophisticated weapons in Pakistan and that management and conspiracy of blasts were done by Dawood Ibrahim and others.” However, the fact is that Dawood will not be brought to book, not at least till he is ensconced safely in the neighbouring country and nor will Pakistan ever express regret for its actions. At least it does not seem likely at the moment.

And if I am charged for being a cynic then I have reasons to be. Much water has flown under the bridge since then, but the proxy war that Pakistan has unleashed on us has not stopped. The list is long – the 2001 attack on our Parliament, the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, the 2013 Hyderabad blasts, the Srinagar terrorists attacks, the Kargil war, the menace of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir and so on and so forth. All fingers point towards the involvement of Pakistan in these incidents. Nonetheless, we have not been able to defeat Pakistan at their dirty game and neither have we been able to act tough with them. On the other hand we have been making efforts to build bridges with them, attempting at confidence building measures, with Pakistan time and again stabbing us in the back. This has made us look helpless and earned us the unwanted title of being a soft state.

I am not diverting from the point but only stating the fact as to who the real villains of the 1993 serial blasts are. Who cares about the foot soldiers or the fact that Sanjay Dutt may have to spend couple of years in jail. At least the victims of the blasts don’t. In fact the foot soldiers were brain washed by the vultures like Memon brothers to take revenge in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition. One has to just dig a little deep and the facts come tumbling out; or for that matter just watch the movie ‘Black Friday’ (which is said to be based on pure facts) to know how people from minority community were recruited to carry out the blasts.

Post Script:The families of the victims (some of who are still waiting to get the compensation announced by the government) may sleep a little better now that some of those who robbed them of their dear ones were handed out the punishment that they deserved, but they may still not feel a sense of closure till the real culprits are made to suffer, just as sufferers of the 26/11 Mumbai blasts may never completely feel a sense of finality till the likes of Hafeez Saeed do not pay for their sins.