2005 Delhi bombings: A tale of two mothers at opposite ends of justice

New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) Their search for justice began almost simultaneously over 11 years ago – when one mother lost her son and his family in a Delhi bombing while the other’s son was arrested for the deadly terror act. At the end, only one of the two women walked happily out of a court here when her son was exonerated.

The other woman kept looking for closure to her pain of losing her only son, his wife and a grand son on October 29, 2005, in a bombing in the crowded Sarojini Nagar market, two days ahead of Diwali. She had expected that the three accused, including Mohammed Rafiq Shah, would get death.

Besides Sarojini Nagar market, two other bombs went off in Delhi that day — in Paharganj and in a DTC bus in south Delhi. A total of 67 people died and over 200 were injured in the terror bombings.

Mehmooda, the mother of Rafiq Shah, and Celina Das, who lost her son Michael, daughter-in-law and grandson, were present in the court room on Thursday when Judge Reetesh Singh let off Shah and other two accused due to lack of evidence as Delhi Police had failed to prove their role in the bombings.

Shah’s mother was in tears of joy after the verdict. She looked up and said: “Thank you Allah. Justice has been served.”

“But it came after an 11-year wait,” Mehmooda told IANS. She rued that her son – who was 22 when arrested from Kashmir for his alleged role in the bombings – had spent almost his entire youth in jail.

Mehmooda said she could relate to the pain of the families who lost their loved ones. She blamed police for not finding the real culprit and wrongly implicating her son.

“I have sympathy for the families of the victims. If police had caught the real culprit then we may not have had to wait too long to see our son walk free,” Shah’s mother said.

But Das was shocked at the verdict. “It is really a disappointment. I want justice. I lost my son Michael, daughter-in-law and grandson,” sobbed Das outside the courtroom on Thursday. She was accompanied by her son’s 20-year-old daughter Manisha, who was just eight when her parents and elder brother were killed in the bombing.

She told IANS that she wanted closure to the plight of “losing loved ones” who had gone to buy Diwali gifts “but never returned”.

Das said she couldn’t believe that the alleged killers were let off and vowed to continue seeking justice till she gets it.

“No one is there to take care of me and my husband in our old age,” she said.

Shah’s family said their son was not even in Delhi when the bombings took place.

Also acquitted in the blast case were Mohammed Hussain Fazili and Tariq Ahmed Dar.

Dar was, however, convicted for his links with the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba militant outfit. He was jailed for 10 years – the period he has already served.

(Amiya Kumar Kushwaha can be reached at amiya.k@ians.in)

–IANS

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