Bomb plotter put to death for crimes
INDIA yesterday executed convicted bomb plotter Yakub Memon for his role in a series of co- ordinated attacks that killed hundreds of people in Mumbai in 1993, Indian media reported.
Memon was hanged at Nagpur jail in the western state of Maharashtra on the day of his 53rd birthday, according to the NDTV and CNN- IBN news channels, after last- ditch pleas for clemency were rejected by India’s president and supreme court.
PTI said that Memon’s body was due to be handed over to his family, adding that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was expected to make a statement to the state assembly later yesterday.
The Bombay Stock Exchange, the offices of Air India and a luxury hotel were among about a dozen targets of the March 1993 blasts, which killed 257 people in the deadliest attacks ever to hit India.
They were believed to have been staged by Mumbai’s Muslim- dominated underworld in retaliation for anti- Muslim violence that had killed more than 1000 people.
Security was tightened near the targets in Mumbai yesterday. Memon, a former accountant by profession, was the only one of 11 people convicted over the atrocity to have his death sentence upheld on appeal. The sentences on the others were commuted to life imprisonment.
He had denied any involvement in the blasts during a staggered trial and appeal pro- cess that bitterly divided opinion in India and led to calls from rights activists and an ex- judge for his life to be spared.
Former Supreme Court judge Harjit Singh Bedi had said the Supreme Court should take notice of reports that Memon had co- operated with investigators and returned voluntarily from Pakistan, where he fled after the blasts.
Others pointed out that his brother Tiger Memon was alleged to have masterminded the attacks, along with Mumbai gang boss Dawood Ibrahim. Both have been on the run since 1993.
Memon and two other brothers were convicted in 2006 by a specially designated court, using controversial antiterror legislation that was introduced after the attacks that is no longer on the statute books.
Indian protesters shout slogans during a rally earlier this week against Yakub Memon’s death sentence.