Friday, Aug 12, 2022

Terrorist Waliullah Khan Convicted For 2006 Varanasi Serial Blasts That Killed 20

Besides two blasts, two more bombs were recovered in Varanasi, according to reports from 2006.

Varanasi Cantt Railway Station, one of the two places where bombs exploded in 2006
Varanasi Cantt Railway Station, one of the two places where bombs exploded in 2006 Twitter/Satish Verma

Terroritst Waliullah Khan was on Saturday held guilty in two cases related to serial bomb blasts in Varanasi in 2006 in which 20 people were killed and more than 100 were injured.

On March 7, 2006, the first blast took place at 6.15  pm inside the Sankat Mochak temple and the second bomb exploded outside the first-class retiring room at Varanasi Cantonment Railway Station 15 minutes later. 

A third live bomb was unearthed in Gudaulia residential locality which was diffused, according to Rediff News report from 2006. It further quoted an intelligence official at the time saying that a fourth bomb was also recovered at Varanasi's famous Gangaghat.

Ghaziabad District Sessions Judge Jitendra Kumar Sinha convicted Waliullah in two cases which were lodged under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections of murder, attempt to murder and mutilation, and under the Explosives Act, district government counsel Rajesh Sharma told PTI.   

He added that Waliullah was acquitted in one case due to inadequate evidence. Sharma further said the quantum of punishment will be pronounced on June 6. 

Lawyers in Varanasi had refused to plead the case and the Allahabad High Court had transferred the case to the Ghaziabad district court.

In all three cases, 121 witnesses were produced before the court. 

In April 2006, the special task force, which was investigating the blasts, had claimed that Waliullah was linked to a terrorist outfit Harkat-ul-jehad Al Islami (HuJI) and was the mastermind behind the blasts.

The HuJI has links with Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, according to South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP). It added that HuJI's affiliate in Bangladesh had executed the Varanasi blasts in collaboration with the Jash-e-Mohammad and Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

(With PTI inputs)