27 years ago, on March 12, 1993, a series of 12 devastating and catastrophic bomb blasts knocked the bottom out of India’s financial hub. In less than 2 hours on that fateful Friday afternoon, the ruinous bombs which exploded in rapid succession in Mumbai, then Bombay, sent the city into chaos as iconic structures were subjected to a ferocious attack.
The first bomb went off at 1:30 PM in the Bombay Stock Exchange and after that, a series of car and scooter bombs went off at regular intervals at many locations in the city over the next 2 hours. The attack at the Stock Exchange was so severe that the explosion in the parking affected at least 10 floors above it. The intensity of the explosion was so high that the sound of the blast was heard up to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Railway station.
Shortly afterwards, another bomb went off in the front of the Mandvi branch of Corporation Bank near Masjid. A car bomb went off at the Air India building, leaving a deep crater and killing about 59 people in the attack. Shiv Sena Bhawan was also targeted by the terrorists.
Other places where the bomb blasts took place include Zaveri Bazar, Mahim Causeway, Century Bazar, Hotel Sea Rock in Bandra, Plaza Cinema, Juhu Centaur Hotel, Sahar Airport, and Airport Centaur Hotel.
The attack, which was one of the largest coordinated terror attacks on Indian soil rendered more than 300 people dead and over 1400 injured.
In all, 12 bomb blasts thundered the city of Mumbai but the then chief minister, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, brazenly lied and ‘invented’ a 13th bomb blast out of thin air to build a spurious equivalence between the sufferings endured by the Muslims and Hindus. He had stated that a 13th blast had taken place in Masjid Bunder.
Pawar had seemingly conjured up a blast to balance out the victimhood. Because all 12 blasts that actually happened had happened in Hindu-majority areas. So Pawar had added a blast out of his imagination to portray that Muslims were the victim too. He had admitted it himself and even claimed that he was praised for it.
The attacks, coordinated by Dawood Ibrahim, the leader of the Mumbai-based international organised crime syndicate, D-Company, were in response to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992 when the abandoned mosque in Ayodhya built over the Ram Janmabhoomi site was brought down by Hindu groups.
Twenty four years after serial blasts battered and brushed India’s commercial capital Mumbai, snuffing out the lives of hundreds of people – a special TADA court on 16 June 2017 had convicted key mastermind of the blasts Mustafa Dossa, gangster Abu Salem and four others. One accused had been let off for lack of evidence.
According to the prosecution, members of the crime syndicate run by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, along with his key aide Tiger Memon, Mohammed Dossa and Mustafa Dossa had plotted the dastardly attacks on Mumbai.
Mustafa Dossa, Tiger Memon and Chhota Shakeel had organised training camps in Pakistan and in India to impart and undergo weapon and arms training and handling of explosives, the prosecution said.
The conspirators held 15 meetings before the execution of the blasts, the prosecution adds.
While Memon was hanged in 2015 for his role in organising Mumbai bomb blasts, other key-conspirators such as Tiger Memon, Dawood Ibrahim, Anees Ibrahim, Chhota Shakeel and others are still on the run and continue to elude the Indian Investigative agencies. Till the time all the involved in the gruesome bomb blasts are not brought to book, the indelible scars of the attack will continue to torment the much-vaunted mystical phoenix of ‘Spirit of Mumbai’.