On this day in 1993, a series of bomb blasts over the span of two hours and ten minutes paralyzed India’s financial capital, Mumbai, then known as Bombay.
The first bomb exploded on Friday afternoon March 12 at around 1:30 p.m. and the first target was the city’s most iconic building – the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). Subsequently, a series of explosions ripped through the most commercial and busy places in India’s busiest city. The explosion stopped around 3:40 p.m. and by then Mumbai had exploded into a nightmare.
Mahim Causeway Fishing Colony, Cinema Plaza, Sea Rock Hotel, Air India Building, Zaveri Bazaar, Juhu Centaur Hotel, Century Bazaar, Katha Bazaar, Worli and Passport Office have were targeted in the attack, which killed more than 250 people while 700 others were injured.
Various public spaces in the city were targeted using scooters, suitcases and cars – all of which were surrounded by bombs and left in public places. All these bombs were activated one after the other within 15 to 30 minutes using a timer.
The blasts, orchestrated by underworld goon Dawood Ibrahim along with Tiger Menon, were the biggest terrorist attack to be carried out in India to date. It was also the first time the RDX was used to make bombs.
Anees Ibrahim, Dawood’s younger brother, was given the task of bringing RDX to Indian soil, and the original plan was to bomb Bombay in April 1993, on the occasion of Shiv Jayanti.
However, the date of the bombing was later revised following the arrest of Gul Mohammad Sheikh alias Gullu on March 9 by Mumbai police for rioting.
According to various reports, Mumbai police mocked Gully’s confession when he told them about the plot to blow up major sites in the city. However, later Rakesh Maria, then Deputy Commissioner of Police, set up a task force of over 150 members to look into the case and the matter was reportedly resolved within 48 hours.
The task force discovered an abandoned scooter and a Maruti van stuffed with grenades, which did not explode.
The main suspects of the Mumbai explosions:
Five years ago, in June 2017, a special court found six main suspects guilty of planning these attacks and they are:
Abu Salem: He was found guilty of distributing weapons and ammunition
Mustafa Dossa: He was accused of bringing weapons and explosives into the country. He was also charged with conspiracy and directing people to Pakistan for training.
Merchant Tahir: He was accused of having organized the trip of other offenders to Pakistan
Riyaz Siddiqui: He was convicted of shipping explosives used in the explosion
Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan: He was accused of having received the ammunition when they arrived in Mumbai
Sheikh Karimullah: He was accused of smuggling weapons into the country.
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