India's Dhemaji blast case: 5 sentenced to life

13 killed and over 40 people were also injured in the 2004 blast during an Independence Day function at the Dhemaji College parade ground

A court here Thursday awarded life term to five and four years jail to two of the 15 accused in the Dhemaji blast case, 15 years after the bombing carried out by the ULFA killed 13 people, including 10 school children, on Independence Day. Over 40 people were also injured in the 2004 blast during an Independence Day function at the Dhemaji College parade ground.

Dhemaji District and Sessions court Judge Sukhram Das awarded life sentences to ULFA member Rosid Bharali, who is absconding, Jatin Duwory alias Rongmon, Leela Gogoi Khan, Depanjali Gohain and Muhi Handique. Each of them was slapped with a fine of Rs 10,000.

Martyrs' Tomb in memory of the Children died in the bomb blast
The court awarded Prosanta Bhuyan and Homen Gogoi four years of rigorous imprisonment and imposed a Rs 5,000 fine on each of them. Rosid Bharali, who is said to be the mastermind of the blast, is reported to be in hiding with ULFA-Independent 'commander-in-chief' Paresh Baruah.

The court acquitted Jaya Chutia, Apsara Baruah, Gobind Kalita, Joy Chandra Chutia, Meen Barua, Jiten Chutia, Chandra Nath Gogoi and Mohan Chutia. Since the incident, 77 witnesses, including family members of the blast victims, have appeared before the court. The court was supposed to give its verdict on June 20 but deferred it following the death of a defense counsel in an accident.

Police had charge-sheeted the 15 persons under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. Fourteen of the 15 accused, the bereaved families and witnesses were present at the court on Thursday.

Most of the victims of the blast that had occurred around 9 am were school children and their mothers. An IED planted at a corner of the college's playground had exploded just before hoisting of the national flag.

Government officials, security personnel, students and teachers of various schools were among those present at the function. Most of the children, who were killed in the blast, were aged between 12 and 14 years.

ULFA-I commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah, five years after the incident, through a statement, had sought a public apology for the incident, while the then ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, after his release from jail on bail, had visited the victims' families tendering his apology. ( PTI)


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