07/30/2015, 00.00
INDIA
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India executes Yakub Memom, plotter of the 1993 Mumbai bomb attacks

by Nirmala Carvalho
He was hanged in Nagpur prison a few hours after India’s Supreme Court dismissed his final plea. For a social activist, this is “very sad day for me. Death punishment is not an option; it is nothing but state murder."

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – India has carried out the execution of Yakub Memon, the man convicted of financing the 1993 Mumbai bombings. The serial blasts killed 257 people. Memon was hanged in a federal jail in Nagpur (Maharashtra) on Thursday morning. Today he would have celebrated his 53rd birthday.

Memon, a chartered accountant, was sentenced to death in 2007 by a special court in Mumbai after being convicted of providing financial and logistical support for the bombings.

He was the only one of 11 people convicted for the bombings to have his death sentence upheld on appeal. The sentences on the others were commuted to life imprisonment.

Memon's case has divided opinion in India, with many calling for the suspension of the death sentence.

"A very sad day for me,” said Arun Ferreira, a Dalits and tribal activist who spoke AsiaNews. “Death punishment is not an option; it is nothing but state murder.”

Ferreira, who met Memom in prison, he served four years on false charges between 2007 and 2011 and was repeatedly tortured. He was later released and cleared of all charges.

"I met and interacted with him over 15 times in Nagpur jail,” he said. “Our interactions were brief. He was well mannered and a soft spoken person and extremely well read. I often borrowed novels from him to read. It is a tragedy that Memon who had faith in the system, was let down by that very system. This is against justice and against humanity.”

"I strongly support the Holy Father who spoke out against the death pnalty and also against keeping someone for their entire natural life in jail,” lamented Ferreira.

The March 1993 blasts involved a dozen sites, including the Bombay Stock Exchange, the offices of the national carrier Air India and a luxury hotel. The attacks traumatised the multi-ethnic city, with sectarian cracks appearing in what had until then been a peaceful community.

Although the bombings have not been fully elucidated, the bombs were seen by many as a Muslim response to the demolition of Babar mosque in Ayhodhya by Hindu radicals.

By a strange twist of fate, the funeral of former president APJ Abdul Kalam, who was opposed to the capital punishment, took place today.

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