Earlier this week, on 7 July 2015, Parag Sawant, a thirty-six-year-old resident of Mumbai who had been comatose for nine years, succumbed to his injuries and passed away in Mumbai’s Hinduja hospital. Sawant became the 189th victim to be claimed by the serial train blasts in Mumbai that shook the city on 11 July 2006, when successive explosions on seven local trains claimed 187 lives immediately and rendered 824 injured.
It will be nine years since the blasts took place and more than nine months since the final arguments in the trial were concluded in August 2014. Yet, there is still no sign of when the judgement will be announced. Reports suggest that special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) judge, YD Shinde, could possibly deliver the judgement by either the end of July or August this year.
Between July and October 2006, the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of the Mumbai Police arrested 13 people in connection with the blasts. Most of the accused, were from the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), a banned Islamic organisation that was formed in Uttar Pradesh in 1977. As per the ATS, in 2001, members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba—a terrorist organisation that is based in Pakistan—motivated one of the accused Faisal Shaikh,—to pursue arms and ammunition training in Pakistan. The ATS also alleged that in 2004, Shaikh, who had become an operative at the LeT, then allegedly sent four other people from among the accused persons—Shaikh’s brother Muzammil; Dr Tanvir Ansari; Zameer Shaikh; and Suhail Shaikh—for arms training in Pakistan via Iran.