Lifer to 5 Kashmiris: ‘Shocked’ families to challenge Jaipur court verdict

Srinagar: A day after a court in Rajasthan state sentenced five Kashmiri men—who are in jail for 18 years—to life imprisonment on charges of triggering bomb blasts in Jaipur city in 1996, their families Tuesday said they would challenge the verdict before the Rajasthan High Court.
Additional district and session judge, Bandikui, Urmila Verma in a judgment passed Monday gave life imprisonment to Javed Ahmad Khan, Abdul Gani Goni, Lateef Ahmad Waja, Mirza Nisar Hussain and Mohammad Ali Bhat for allegedly blasting a Bikaner-bound bus in 1996 killing 14 people. Abdul Hamid, of Ferozabad in Uttar Pradesh, was sentenced to death and an indemnity of Rs. 1 lakh while Rayees Baig of Agra was sentenced to life imprisonment.
“The judgment has shocked us all. We were expecting release of our sons who are in jail for 18 years. However, the verdict has proved again how Kashmiris are being denied justice,” Waja’s brother, Tariq Ahmad, told Kashmir Reader over phone.
“We won’t give up. We’ve been fighting this battle in courts from last 19 years. We’ll continue to fight. Our innocent brethren have already served life terms in jails. We won’t let them rot in jails,” he added.
Tariq said the families of the convicted men will move to the Jaipur High Court challenging the judgment of the session court after obtaining order copy of the verdict on Wednesday.
“My father died because of the separation from his son. We’ve lived a miserable life since my brother was arrested and booked on filmy grounds. We can’t even think to leave it here,” he said. “Tomorrow, we’ll get the order copy from the court. We’ll instantly move an appeal before the High Court.”
Mirza Iftikhar, whose brother Nisar Ahmad has also been given a lifer, told Kashmir Reader that the families of convicts were unanimous to take the ‘struggle for justice’ ahead. He said that a High Court lawyer has already been consulted in this regard.
“We’ll go together in this struggle for justice. We will knock all the doors of Indian judiciary if need be,” Iftikhar, who was acquitted by a Delhi Court after serving 14-year incarceration on unproven charges of triggering blasts in Lajpat Nagar in 1996, said.
Mohammad Ali Bhat’s father, Haji Sher Ali said that he was confident that his son and other accused would be freed after serving 18-year imprisonment.
“I was sure that my son and other innocent men will be set free. However, the verdict has shattered us all. We’ll strive for justice, come what may,” he said.