August 30, 2011
Hindu terrorists convicted for bomb blasts in Thane, Mumbai: Court sentences Sanatan Sanstha members to 10 years' jail term
The court convicted Ramesh Gadkari and Vikram Bhave for planting bombs and causing blasts at Thane, Panvel and Vashi in Maharashtra.
Four other members of the same right-wing group who were charged with the same crime were however let off for lack of sufficient evidence. Those acquitted included Mangesh Nikkam, Santosh Angre, Hemant and Hari Divekar.
Though activists associated with Hindutva groups have been charged for terror strikes in Ajmer Dargah, Mecca Masjid blast at Hyderabad, Samjhauta Express and Modasa blast, this is one of the first such cases in which the court has convicted those accused of bomb blasts.
Justice NV Nhavkar will announce the quantum of sentence on Wednesday. Seven persons were injured when bomb exploded on June 4, 2008 in Gadkari Rangayatan theatre at Thane which falls in Greater Mumbai Municipal Corporation area.
Another bomb explosion had occurred at a theatre in Vashi in Navi Mumbai on May 31 the same year. A bomb was also planted in Panvel in Raigad. The investigators had zeroed in on the role of right-wing Hindu extremists' group Sanatan Sanstha.
The bomb blast at Panvel cinema hall was to protest the screening of the Bollywood movie Jodhaa Akbar which was deemed as denigrating the Rajputs and Hindu culture. Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai had played lead roles in the film.
Similarly, plays were targeted. The fanatic members had objected to certain plays depicting Hindu gods, which they considered objectionable. The case has serious implications as it was initially considered a terrorist strike.
It also highlights that right-wing groups have been involved in terrorism in the country. Later reports suggest that the two 'terrorists' viz. Ramesh Gadkari and Vikram Bhave have been sentenced to ten years or rigorous imprisonment each.
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