An unassuming Mirza house in sensitive old city is witnessing a sudden stream of people after 16 years. Inside a dimly-lit room, Padshah Begum tries hard to hold back her tears as people congratulate her over the acquittal of her son Mirza Nissar Hussain in the 1996 Lajpat Nagar blasts case.
Nissar is Padshah’s second son who was acquitted in the Delhi blast case on Thursday. Her first son Mirza Ifthikar was released from jail after 14 years when court found him not guilty in the same case.
“We have been saying from day one that both brothers are innocent. Nissar was just 16 years old when he was arrested. He had gone to help his brother who was doing business in Delhi. Their lives have been ruined,” lamented Padshah.
For Mirzas, the justice has come too late and at a very high cost. They had a thriving pashmina shawl business in Delhi, but it had to be shut after the arrests. The third son Mirza Zaffar had to take up a job of a teacher to sustain the family.
Earlier in the day, slamming the Delhi Police for shoddy investigation, the Delhi high court acquitted two convicts and alleged JKIF militants including Mirza facing death penalty in the case and commuted the death penalty of the third terrorist to life imprisonment. Those acquitted are Md Ali Bhatt and Mirza Nissar Hussain, who were given death penalty by the trial court in 2010 while death penalty given to the third convict, Mohd. Naushad, was commuted into life imprisonment.
A very high intensity blast rocked Lajpat Nagar in New Delhi on May 21, 1996, killing 13 people and injuring 39.
(With inputs from Delhi)