Today marks the 29th anniversary of the devastating 1993 Mumbai bombings. A series of 12 bombs exploded in the afternoon on 12 March 1993 killing more than 300 people and affecting the lives of thousands.
The explosions were carried out at the behest of Dawood Ibrahim, the head of the underworld D-Company, in response to the demolition of the controversial Babri structure in Ayodhya in December 1992.
Dawood Ibrahim, together with his top associates Tiger Memon, Mohammed Dossa, and Mustafa Dossa, had planned the atrocious Mumbai attacks. Mustafa, Tiger, and Chhota Shakeel organized training camps in Pakistan and India where they trained themselves and other attackers about firearms and weaponry as well as explosives. Before carrying out the explosions, the conspirators met 15 times.
The blasts were funded by expatriate Indian criminals operating in the Gulf. According to Indian officials, the Pakistani intelligence service, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was also actively engaged in the attacks.
However, the catastrophic bomb blasts could have been averted had the police paid heed to the confession of one Gul Mohammad.
Attacks planned to coincide with Shivaji Jayanti preponed after Mumbai Police arrested Gul Mohammad
Gul Noor Mohammad Sheikh, better known as Gullu, was one of the 19 people chosen by Tiger Memon and sent to Pakistan through Dubai on February 19, 1993, for weapon and bomb-making training. The initial plan was to strike Mumbai during the Shivaji Jayanti festivities in April, but that was preponed when Gullu was apprehended on March 9, 1993, at the Nav Pada police station. The arrest of Gul Mohammed prompted Tiger Memon to pull the timing of the bombings forward.
On December 6, Mumbai was immersed in violence following the levelling of the disputed Babri structure in Ayodhya. Rabble rousers around the country used the incident to stoke resentment among Muslims and enlist them for their nefarious designs. Thousands of brainwashed Muslims were recruited who would then travel to Pakistan for training before returning to India to carry out the bombings.
Gullu, who had participated in the rioting, was arrested by police and revealed that bomb blasts were being planned at different parts in the city. Gullu also confessed to receiving training in Pakistan and admitted to plotting the destruction of important city icons such as the Bombay Stock Exchange and the Shiv Sena Bhavan. However, the police disregarded his claims, presumably taking them to be outlandish.
Gul Mohammad lived in Behrampada, a slum near Bandra. He had a history of minor crimes and thievery. The majority of those who collaborated with Tiger on the attacks shared a similar background.
The initial trial began in April 1995. The prosecution called about 600 witnesses, and the testimonies of all of them were concluded in 2000. The court gave its ruling in September 2006. Gul Mohammad was awarded a six-year sentence because he went to Pakistan and was involved in the conspiracy. On June 16, 2017, a special TADA court convicted Mustafa Dossa, mafioso Abu Salem, and four others.
While Yakub Memon was hanged in 2015 for being the key conspirator in the Mumbai bombings, others such as Tiger Memon, Dawood Ibrahim, Anees Ibrahim, Chhota Shakeel, and others are still on the run and continue to evade Indian authorities.
The 1993 bomb bombings touched every level of society, from Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt to the mafia to senior leaders. Even the then-chief minister, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, openly lied and ‘invented‘ the 13th bomb to create a false equivalence between the sufferings of Muslims and Hindus. Pawar apparently conjured up a blast to balance out the victimization because all 12 of the actual bombs took place in Hindu-majority communities.
The whole nexus between Bollywood, Underworld, and Politics was explicitly highlighted in the NN Vohra Committee report in 1993.