March 22nd, 2017
A National Investigation Agency (NIA) Special Court has awarded life imprisonment to two people for their role in the 2007 Ajmer Dargah blasts.
The two people are Devendra Gupta and Bhavesh Patel. The conviction was made under Sections 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of IPC. Besides the life imprisonment, the court also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on Patel and Rs 5,000 on Gupta.
The 2007 Ajmer Dargah blasts
The Ajmer Dargah bombing occurred on 11 October 2007 outside the Dargah (shrine) of Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer, Rajasthan.
The blast that occurred during the Ramzan left three dead and 17 injured. The Dargah was packed to capacity with about 5,000 devotees when the blast occurred at the time of iftar (breaking of fast).
Investigations initially circled around the Pakistan-based terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba. Later, however, the focus was shifted on the Hindutva organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its groups.
On 8 March 2017, a special NIA court in Jaipur convicted Sunil Joshi (who has since died), Devendra Gupta, and Bhavesh Patel. The sentence was delivered today.
A total of 13 people were accused in the case. Swami Aseemanand and six other were acquitted in the case earlier this month.
Bhavesh Patel and Devendra Gupta owed their allegiance to the RSS in the past. Patel was an RSS activist in Gujarat while Gupta worked for the RSS in Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.
This is the first-ever conviction and sentencing of RSS cadres in a terror case.