Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami operative gets life term in 2007 Gorakhpur blasts case

GORAKHPUR: A Gorakhpur Sessions court has sentenced Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI) operative Tariq Qasmi to life imprisonment in connection with the serial blasts that rocked the city in 2007.

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It is the fourth case in which Qasmi has been awarded a life sentence. He is presently lodged in the Barabanki district jail.

Government counsel SP Narayan Singh said: “Additional District and Sessions Judge Narendra Kumar Singh has awarded life imprisonment to Qasmi in the serial blasts case. In all, 23 prosecution witnesses were examined, of whom seven turned hostile.”

Jalalludin Khan, who represented Qasmi, said that his client would appeal against the judgment.

Qasmi, a Unani doctor, is married and has four children.

The then Samajwadi Party government led by Akhilesh Yadav had moved an application in the court in 2013 to withdraw the Gorakhpur blasts case, but the same was rejected.

On May 22, 2007, three blasts ripped through Gorakhpur within a span of five minutes, injuring six persons. Police investigation revealed that the blasts were carried out by extremist outfits Indian Mujahideen and HuJI.

The UP Police’s Special Task Force arrested Qasmi and another suspected HuJI operative Khalid Mujahid of Jaunpur near Barabanki railway station on December 20, 2007, and allegedly seized 1.25 kg RDX, six detonators, three cell phones, and two SIM cards from them.

Apart from the Gorakhpur case, the police also booked Khalid and Qasmi in the Lucknow and Faizabad court blast cases. The explosions had occurred on November 23, 2007.

Khalid died in 2013 while police was taking him to Faizabad from the Lucknow district jail.

During its investigation in the Gorakhpur case, the police later unearthed the involvement of suspected IM operatives Salman aka Chottu, Saif, and Mirza Shadab Baig.

Saif and Salman are in jail at present. The district police has attached a property of Baig after court permission as he has been absconding.

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