Bihar: A special NIA court on Friday convicted all five accused in the 2013 Bodh Gaya serial blasts. Judge Manoj Kumar found Haider Ali alias Black Beauty, Imtiaz Ansari, Umar Siddiqui, Azharuddin Quraishi and Mujibullah Ansari guilty of planting bombs around the Buddhist temple in Bodh Gaya on July 7, 2013.
A Tibetan monk and a tourist were injured in the blast, which took place in the morning when a large crowd had gathered near the sacred Bodhi tree for morning prayers. Nine blasts within thirty minutes rocked the peaceful city of Bodh Gaya, marking the first terrorist attack on the soil of Bihar.
The terrorists had planted a cylinder bomb under the Bodhi tree as well which luckily did not explode.
The NIA said terrorist organisation SIMI was behind the blasts. SIMI had allegedly hatched a conspiracy to target the Buddhist site to avenge alleged killing of Rohingya Muslims by the Myanmar army.
The NIA revealed that Haider Ali, who had been radicalised by SIMI member Umar Siddiqui in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, was the mastermind of the attack. He received explosives from Raipur and came back to Bodh Gaya. After reconnoitring the place a number of times, he entered the temple premises in the guise of a Buddhist monk.
Umar Siddiqui and Azharuddin Quraishi are natives of Chhattisgarh and the rest of the accused belong to Jharkhand.
The five convicts are also suspects in the 2013 October 23 blasts in Patna’s Gandhi Maidan, which took place while Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was addressing a rally. Seven people had died and hundred others injured in the seven blasts which became a major political issue in the run up to 2014 general elections.
The court will announce the quantum of punishment on May 31.