1996 Samlate Blast Case- After 23 Years, Court Acquits Three Kashmir Residents- Says They are Innocent

July 24

Three Kashmir residents have been released after 24 years of imprisonment in a grenade blast case that occurred in 1996.

On 22nd july 2019 Rajasthan High court finds them innocent in dumping of arms & ammunition case, earlier the Dehli High court has also found them innocent in Lajpat najar blasts.

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Jail authorities of central jail Jaipur Rajastan have released , Latif Ahmed Baja (42), Ali Bhatt (48), Mirza Nisar (39).They are residents of Hassanabad Rainawari & Khanq-i-moula srinagar- They will be arriving soon at 2.00 pm today at their residencies.

“We’ve lost relatives while we were inside. My mother, father and two uncles passed away. We have been acquitted, but who will bring back those years,” one of the accused told the Indian Express.

They had been incarcerated since 1996. During this time, they were lodged in jails in Delhi and Ahmedabad, but were never released on parole or bail.

All of them had been arrested in 1996 at different places inside the state but were later brought to Jaipur and booked in FIR No. 148/96 u/s 302/307 IPCand 4/5 Explosive Act of Police Station Mohwa, Rajasthan, registered on 22.05.1996 in connection with bomb blast which occurred in a bus at Samlate, which was on its way from Agra to Jaipur.

After keeping them in Jaipur for about one year, Farooq Khan and Abdul Gani, who was earlier arrested in Gujarat, were taken to Delhi and booked in Lajpat Nagar bomb blast case. Latief Ahmad was also taken to Gujarat, but Mirza Nissar Hussain and Mohammad Ali were retained at Jaipur. In 1997 Engineer Farooq Khan and one more person namely Javaid Ahmad Khan who had also been arrested in Gujarat and booked in Lajpat Nagar case, were brought to Jaipur and booked in FIR No. 39/96 pertaining Jaipur Stadium blast case.
After keeping the prisoners in Jaipur for about two months, they, except Javaid Khan, were again taken back to Delhi for facing trial in Lajpat Nagar bomb blast case. In June, 1999, they were again brought to Jaipur to face trial in Samlete bus blast case and when they were produced before the District Court Mohwa and the Judge heard arguments in their cases and disclosed his mind of discharging them, they were again taken back to Delhi to face trial in Lajpat Nagar Bomb Blast case.

In District Court Mahwa, the police had filed four separate challans against the accused persons allegedly involved in Samlete bus blast case. One challan was filed against Mirza Nissar Hussain and Mohammad Ali.

Second challan was filed against Farooq Ahmad Khan, Latief Ahmad Waza, Javaid Ahmad Khan and Abdul Gani Gooni. Third challan was filed against Riyaz Ahmad, a police constable, who died in AIMS, Delhi on 27.09.1997, and fourth challan was filed against Chander Prakash, Abdul Hamid, Rias Beg and Saleem alias Pappu who were, however, all discharged from the case by the Rajasthan High Court- Saleemalias Pappu is, however, still languishing in jail and is presently lodged in Bharatpur jail.

In April, 2010, the case relating to Lajpat Nagar Bomb Blast was decided by a Delhi Court. Immediately thereafter Farooq Khan, Abdul Gani and Lateef Waza were shifted to Jaipur to face trial in District Court Mahwa in Samlete blast case, where they came to know that during their lodgement in Tihar Jail from 1999 to April 2010, the prosecution had examined 80 out of 142 witnesses in Chander Prakash’s case and that in the light of the evidence of these 80 witnesses, Prakash and others had been discharged by Rajasthan High Court. It was, however, in the March 2012 that charge was framed against all these Kashmiri prisoners u/s 120-B IPC only by the court, which of course is unknown to law.

After the framing of charge all the aforesaid five Kashmiri prisoners filed an application before the court stating therein that the evidence given by 80 prosecution witnesses in Chander Prakash’s case be read against them as well, because all the four challans had been ordered to be consolidated by the Supreme Court in 2000.

It took, however, two years to the court to decide that application and ultimately direct that the evidence given by those 80 witnesses will be also read against the Kashmiri prisoners. From 3/2012 till 3/2014, the court has, however, recorded evidence of 08 more witnesses only out of the remaining 62 witnesses.

The prisoners were also thrashed several times during their confinement, according to Kashmiri Prisoners, a blog maintaining detailed accounts of Prisoners from Jammu Kashmir.

On 14/04/2010, when the five Kashmiri prisoners were brought from Delhi to Central Jail Jaipur, they were attacked by about 20 prisoners of the Jail alongwith Home Guards posted there and ruthlessly beaten. In the said attack, Latief Ahmad Waza received an injury on his head.

On 17.04.2013, the five Kashmiri prisoners were again attacked and ruthlessly beaten by the Hindu inmates of the jail as a result of which Mirza Nissar Hussain and Abdul Gani received severe injuries on their bodies.

While acquitting them on Monday, the High Court said the prosecution had failed to provide evidence of conspiracy.