Mumbai remembers blasts victims

Relatives of killed commuters criticise slow investigations and lack of justice.

    Thirteen suspects have been arrested for the Mumbai train attacks but none have been tried in court [AFP]

    But while 13 Indians have been arrested and charged with plotting the attack or planting the bombs, and five Indians and 10 Pakistanis named in absentia, there has been criticism at the slow pace of the investigation and the failure to try the accused.

    Anjana Agarwal, who lost her husband in one of the blasts, said: "In a second our lives were shattered. But when it comes to justice why does one have to wait for years?"


    "In a second our lives were shattered but when it comes to justice why does one have to wait for years?"

    Anjana Agarwal, relative of a man killed in the blasts

    The Hindustan Times newspaper berated the authorities for failing to catch the ringleaders behind the bomb plot in an editorial entitled "Clueless in Mumbai", and for failing to prepare and protect the country against acts of terrorism.

    It said officials had even failed to install more than 500 closed circuit television cameras in urban railway stations "as mandarins continue to dither over whether it would be cheaper to hire these cameras rather than buy them".

    There is little sign of extra security on the city's teeming rail network, but many commuters stopped to pray on Wednesday, offering marigold and hibiscus flowers at makeshift memorials at stations where the bombs had gone off.

    Railway authorities were running one of the coaches badly damaged in the attacks but restored with much effort.

    Ajay Solanki, a railway official, said: "By running one of the damaged coaches we want to show the indomitable spirit of Mumbai."

    A victim of the train blasts  is helped by
    his wife [AFP]

    The trial of the accused is due to start in a special court later this month, after several weeks' delay caused by a last minute appeal against the court's validity.

    Many fear more delays because most of the accused were refusing to either hire lawyers or defend themselves.

    India's justice system, burdened with millions of cases, is notoriously slow. The trial into the country's worst bomb attack in Mumbai in 1993, in which 257 people were killed, ended only last year and sentencing continues.


    Some relatives of victims of the latest attacks have also complained about delays in distributing compensation and allotting promised government jobs.

    Fancy Devi, whose 14-year-old son is still affected by the trauma, said: "We were told that the government will bear the expenses of my son's treatment, but when we go to the government they say we should ask the railways."

    Authorities, however, deny mistakes have been made.

    Ramesh Kumar, a senior relief official, said: "The total number of beneficiaries is more than 900. Our help reached the families the very day of the attacks or at most the next day."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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