An Indian court yesterday sentenced to death five of the most prominent members of an Indian extremist group, including one of the founders of the group, for their involvement in twin blasts that took place in the southern city of Hyderabad in 2013.The bombs exploded in quick succession in the commercial area of Dilsukhnagar on the evening of the 21st February 2013 and 18 people were killed and 130 were injured as a result.
The special court last week convicted the Indian co-founder of the Mujahideen group Yasin Bhatkal and four other senior members of it on charges of murder and terrorism. Special Public Prosecutor K Surender Rao told reporters outside the court in Hyderabad that “The court sentenced five defendants to death by hanging today. The case will now be referred to the Supreme Court for the death penalty to be confirmed.”
Lawyers for the defendants also said that they will be challenging the ruling at the Supreme Court. The court heard the statements of 157 witnesses, and according to media reports, one of the main two defendants in the case is Riyaz Bhatkal who founded the group with his brother Yasin Bhatkal. The former is on a wanted list in India and is believed to be in Pakistan.
On the other hand, the National Investigation Agency of India, the highest body for combating terrorism in the country, yesterday accused the Jaish-e-Mohammed militant group that is based in Pakistan of carrying out an attack on an Indian air force base in January. The agency said that the four gunmen who stormed the base on the 2nd of January were Pakistanis, and that the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed Maulana Masood Azhar was the mastermind of the attack.