Even as a special NIA court readied its judgement in the 2013 Dilsukhnagar twin blasts case in Hyderabad, there was a sense of normalcy at Rajiv Chowk, the area where the blasts occurred.
Close to four years ago, on the evening of February 21, 2013, at least 18 people were killed and several injured after two bombs exploded one after the other on this very street.
On Monday, security had been stepped up, with extra policemen deployed on the streets along with armed Army men.
While the policemen remained on their toes, the commercial area was buzzing with activity and packed with people, with some CCTV cameras looking on.
The nearby Konark Theatre was running packed movie shows, even as all shops and outlets on the street remained open.
“We do not expect anything to happen, but we don’t want to take a chance,” one of the policemen says as he glances about.
A few media persons had gathered at the blast site, but were mostly gathering stock footage.
While the local people went about oblivious to the extra security, a few shopkeepers who were witness to the blasts, were anxious.
“Five minutes before the blast, I was passing by the road. Had I been delayed by a few minutes, I would not be speaking to you today,” says one of the shopkeepers.
However, the extra security in place, did relieve their nerves.
“Also, I don’t think they will strike at the same place twice, especially seeing all these police cars,” the shopkeeper adds.
Another shopkeeper says, “Though we had lost some business initially, most of us have put the past behind us and have continued to lead our lives. Things are back to normal, and we don’t even want to jog our memory of that day.”
Last week, the court found five people belonging to Indian Mujahideen including the terror outfit’s co-founder Yasin Bhaktal guilty in the case.
The NIA had arrested accused Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi and Mohammed Ahmed Sidibapa alias Yasin Bhatkal from Bihar in August, 2013.
Later, Zia ur Rahman alias Waqas alias Nabeel Ahmed and Tahseen Akhtar alias Monu alias Sameer were arrested in March, 2014 by a special cell of Delhi police and the Intelligence Bureau from Rajasthan.
On September 5, 2014, Ajaz Shaikh alias Samar Armaan Tunde alias Sagar alias Aizaz Saeed was arrested from Uttar Pradesh.
According to the NIA chargesheet, Riyaz had sent money to Asadullah Akhtar and Waqas through hawala channels who carried out the attack along with Tahseen Akhtar.
On Monday, the court sentenced all the five accused to death.