Bombay Bombing '93
Like any other day, the people were busy living their fast-moving life in the financial capital. The commoners had no hint of what was coming their way. On 12th March 1993, the city of Bombay (now Mumbai) witnessed most griming and ferocious bombing attacks in broad daylight. Turning a usual, peaceful day into the darkest and deadliest day in the history of Bombay- now also known as ‘The Black Friday’. The attacks were coordinated by Dawood Ibrahim led Mumbai based organised crime conducting D- Company and its associates who planned 12 bombs in the city at different areas in different forms, through different mediums and of different kinds with a single aim of destruction.
This devastating incident took place when the attacked areas were fully flooded with people- in the noon of a working day. Total of 257 were reported fatal in the blasts and more than 1400 were said to be injured in a single day. Property worth Rs 27 crores was destroyed during the blasts. The responsible group made a full-proof plan and executed the notion quite well that resulted in this disgusting yet smart act of terror.
It all started at 1:30 PM when a car bomb full of RDX exploded in the basement of the Bombay Stock Exchange. This 28-floor building suffered severe damage. This one bomb took almost 50 lives, coup de main. The city heard something unusual. Nobody understood what happened. This big of a blast was not something that the city had experienced before and therefore the citizens were confounded with fear. Before the administration could understand what happened and how to tackle the situation, after 30 minutes of the attack, another car exploded at the Mandvi beach near a Masjid. The city was under extreme confusion and tension as no one could figure out what was happening and how much harm this will cause.
In the span of next 150 minutes, The Bombay city witnessed a total of 12 blasts. Three hotels, Banks, Shopping complexes and other public places were made the eye of the blast. Most of the times, time bombs made up of RDX consisting shrapnel were fit under cars, scooters and busses that caused the explosion. Apart from that, grenades were thrown at Sahara International Airport (now Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja International Airport [CSIA]) and at fishermen’s colony targeting certain citizens at the latter. One double-decker bus exploded during this, killing 90 people at once. The following are the places at which the attacks were intended:-
Fisherman's Colony, Mahim causeway
Zaveri Bazaar Fort
Plaza Cinema, Dadar
Hotel Sea Rock
Terminal at Sahar Airport (now Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport [CSIA])
Air India Building
Hotel Juhu Centaur
The Bombay Stock Exchange, Building Fort
The Passport Office
The country was going through a tough time those days. A lot of riots and protests were going violent and there was no control of any leader or the government over the general public. The people were divided on the basis of religion and were expressing their outrage in an expensive way across the country. The stressfully discussed issue of Babri Masjid demolition took place not so long ago and people of both the religions involved were ready and agitated to protect their religion at any cost from the other social groups in the name of religion. This outrageous attitude of the people created national tension and maintained political, social and economic instability to a very large extent.
People were very easy to inflame against other religions, during this period and the leaders for their personal good aggravated social groups to fight against each other. The poor and backward sections of the society faced maximum hatred in their day-to-day lives. By taking advantage of these vulnerable individuals, terrorist organisations contacted numerous young talents and developed a burning desire in them to cause destruction by mentally attracting, manipulating and influencing them towards anti-national ideas. The terrorist organisations provided financial support and training of setting up the explosives. Through this process, around 20 individuals were now physically fit and mentally all set and mind-washed to execute this disturbing act of terror.
After the blasts, the general public and the government developed a state of insecurity. There was no guarantee of safety in the financial capital! The enemy had entered, employed, and caused destruction on a massive level without leaking even a bit of the planning. This blow was to be converted into confidence now, which was done by the very competent police force of Mumbai police with the help of extremely impressive officers of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The convicted were charged and were taken good care of in the custody until the final judgement by the court did not come out.
Yakub Menon and his siblings were found guilty setting up of bombs and providing their vehicles for the destructive purpose.
Yakub Menon was hanged on 20 July 2015.
The judiciary took 20 years to sentence death to the guilty like Yakub Menon after the date of explosion and provided justice to hundreds of innocent lives.
All the bomb planters, grenade throwers and the individuals who were involved in setting up of the RDX were sentenced to death or life imprisonment.
All the landing agents and all the custom officials involved, who let the RDX enter the country and let such a dangerous substance pass, were sentenced single or double life imprisonment and were fined several lacs of rupees.
A couple of policemen who knew about the dangerous plan but were not a part of it directly- but also did not report it to the superiors in exchange of some bribe were also jailed or were fined some amount of rupees.
In all, 20 people were found guilty excluding the members of the D- Company.
Although, the main minds behind this blasts were never caught or punished. The mastermind behind the incident is suspected to be Tiger Menon and Dawood Ibrahim but the Mumbai police or the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has not found any concrete proof to support the idea.
India needs to understand that the attack was done on the residents of India and not on any specific religion or social group. We all lost our loved ones and we all were in this together. We have suffered enough in the past. Now can we please be one and represent India instead of fighting over religious issues?
Because, unity and harmony is the key to enhanced quality of life.
The politicians tried to cover the case in their way. In order to prevent religious riots in sensitive times, Sharad Pawar, then chief minister of Maharashtra declared that there had been 13 explosives and not 12, in order to gain trust of general public at the fact that the terrorists have not targeted a single religion in the massive attacks. Later on in 2006, he confronted that he was lying.
This is also the case whose investigation surpassed the case of Sanjay Dutt.
On 93 blasts, ‘The True Story of the Bombay Bomb Blasts’ is a book written by Hussain Zaidi. ‘Bombay March 12’ is Babu Janardhanan's Malayalam film based on this incident. In mainstream Bollywood, Anurag Kashyap made a film called ‘Black Friday’ in 2004. This incident attracted a lot of attention across the globe and the want to capture Dawood Ibrahim turned into a burning desire due to this attack.
This is the incident that happened three decades ago. It surely caused much damage to Indian human capital and infrastructure but also provided the will to strike back. In 2021, Indian administration, defence and security has improved a lot since the last 3 decades and the police force and the corporations are competent enough to avoid several attacks like these and catch its enemies who even think of damaging the residents of the nation. India salutes its defence force and is thankful to all its soldiers who live far from their homes, are awake all night so that the residents of India can sleep peacefully at night.