Samjhauta blasts: SC seeks reply on plea for release of jailed Pak survivor

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New Delhi, May 15: The Supreme Court has sought responses from the Centre and Punjab on the plea of the father of a Pakistani national, who landed in Amritsar jail after surviving the 2007 terror attack in the Samjhauta Express, seeking his immediate release.

Irfan, who was onboard Lahore-bound Samjhauta Express on February 18, 2007, survived the bomb blasts that had ripped apart two passenger bogeys killing 68 persons and injuring several others, and subsequently landed in a jail where he is languishing since then.

 supreme-court

A bench comprising justices A K Sikri and R K Agrawal issued notices to the Ministries of External Affairs, Home Affairs and the Punjab Government on the plea filed by Delhi resident Ashok Randhawa, who runs an organisation 'South Asian Forum for People Against Terror'.

Randhawa, who has been given the Power of Attorney by Muhammad Zahoor, father of Irfan, to pursue the case in the Supreme Court, has sought a direction to the Centre and the state to take "immediate and necessary steps regarding release of Irfan who is confined in Amritsar jail".

"The petitioner and father of the victim made various representations to the authorities of Indian and Pakistan governments, but till date they did not receive any reply or response," the plea said.

Seeking enforcement of fundamental rights like right to life and equality before the law, the plea also said that Irfan, a resident of village Chak in District Sargodha, had come to India on valid travel documents and was in the train on the fateful night.

Efforts to find whereabouts of Irfan after the blasts did not fructify as neither the DNA sample provided by his families back in Pakistan match with any of the deceased here nor did it come to light that he had landed in a jail, it said.

Later, Randhawa met the father of the victim when he visited Pakistan to meet the family of his Pakistani friend who had died in the terror attack.

The plea was filed after he learnt about the incarceration of Irfan, who had come to India on a religious visit. Sixty-eight people, mostly Pakistan nationals, were killed in the bomb blasts in the train on the night of February 18, 2007 near Panipat in Haryana.

PTI 

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