For the family of a person condemned to be hanged, news of his acquittal ought to be an occasion for jubilation. But for the Hussain and Bhat families of Srinagar, news that their sons had been cleared of all charges related to the May 1996 blasts in Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar market did not bring as much cheer as it should have: the boys had been detained again in connection with the 2008 serial blasts in Jaipur. It beats the two families how their sons could have been involved in the Jaipur blasts, for they happened to be in jail when those blasts took place.
Mirza Nisar Hussain and Mohammed Ali Bhatt have spent 16 years in prison. The Lajpat Nagar case dragged on from the time of their arrest in 1996 to their conviction in April, 2010. Three months later, they filed an appeal with the Delhi High Court. Last week, the high court reversed the trial court’s order. Hussain and Bhat were acquitted, and the sentence awarded to another convict, Mohammed Naushad, was reduced from death to life imprisonment. It upheld the life sentence awarded to co-accused Javed Ahmed Khan.