Today, 11 July, marks the 16th anniversary of the 2006 Mumbai serial bombings. Also called the 7/11, the seven blasts brought the financial capital to a grinding halt and led to at least 189 dead and hundreds injured.
What happened on 11 July 2006?
The blasts took place shortly after 6.20 p.m. A First Class compartment in a Western Railway suburban train running to Borivali from Churchgate exploded between Khar and Santa Cruz stations. Over the next 10 minutes, six more blasts occurred in Bandra, Jogeshwari-Mahim Junction, Mira Road- Bhayander, Matunga-Mahim Junction and Borivali stations. This was the first time serial train blasts had happened in the country.
According to the anti-terrorism squad (ATS), while one of the accused bought 15-20kg of RDX, the ammonium nitrate used in the blasts was obtained locally. Quartz timers and five-litre pressure cookers were used in the bombs, which were assembled in Chembur and taken to Churchgate before being placed in the trains.
In its charge sheet, the police had named Pakistani nationals and members of the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba as the conspirators. According to the police, the attack was carried out with the help of banned group Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). It also stated that 15 people were still absconding, including the masterminds of the 7/11 terror plot.
In 2009, Sadiq Sheikh, who belonged to the Indian Mujahideen confessed to his alleged role in the bombings. However, he later retracted his confession. According to reports, Indian Mujahideen leader Yasin Bhatkal has also been suspected of playing a role in the blasts.
The police had arrested 13 people in the 2006 Mumbai train blasts cases. Out of them, 12 men were convicted in 2015. Five of the accused - Kamal Ahamed Ansari, Mohammed Faisal Shaikh, Asif Khan, Ehtesham Siddiqui and Naveed Hussain Khan - were sentenced to death, while the remaining seven were given life imprisonment.