This Article is From Mar 24, 2013

1993 Bombay blasts: same crime, different punishment

Mumbai: The world of politics and Bollywood may be batting for actor Sanjay Dutt, who has been sentenced by the Supreme Court to five years in prison for keeping weapons illegally. A young woman wants to know what of her mother.

The daughter of 71-year-old Zaibunissa Qazi, one of those convicted in the serial bombings of Mumbai in 1993, says she is fighting for the last 20 years to get her mother justice.

The illegal weapons that got Sanjay Dutt into trouble with the law also scarred Zaibunissa's life. While the actor was convicted for receiving weapons from the underworld, Zaibunissa's crime was that some weapons from that cache were kept at her house for a few days.

Zaibunissa's daughter, whose name is being withheld on request, says Abu Salem misled her mother. She says it was bad luck that they met the wrong people at the wrong time.

Abu Salem dabbled in real estate and came in contact with the Qazi family for a property deal. He became friendly with Zaibunissa and often dropped by. She does not know if Abu Salem brought the bag with weapons on one such visit.

Both Zaibunissa and Sanjay Dutt were charged under TADA or the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act for aiding and abetting a terrorist act. Zaibunissa was given five year rigorous imprisonment under the Act. The TADA charges were later dropped against the actor, but upheld against Zaibunissa.

Zaibunissa's daughter says the family was shocked as they were expecting her acquittal.

Journalist Harinder Baweja, who reported on Zaibunissa extensively, says, "In the entire chain, everybody who brought the weapons and took the weapons were convicted under TADA. It defies legal logic why everybody else got TADA and not Sanjay Dutt."

Zaibunissa's daughter says if Sanjay Dutt can indeed be pardoned, why not her mother. "I can't imagine my life without her. She's all I have. I don't want anything, just give back my mother," she says.

She appeals, "Don't call her a terrorist. She's not. She's just a victim of circumstances and bad luck. I hope the people asking for mercy for Sanjay Dutt will also take up my mother's case."