Samjhauta blast and the manufacturing of a Hindu terror conspiracy
New Delhi, Mar 21: After years of trial and many more flip-flops, a special court acquitted Swami Aseemanand and three others in connection with the Samjautha Express blast case. The attack that took place on February 18 2007 left 68 persons dead.
All the four accused, Naba Kumar Sarkar alias Swami Aseemanand, Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajinder Chaudhary have been acquitted by the court, NIA counsel Rajan Malhotra said.
When the probe into the case began, Safdar Nagori of the Students Islamic Movement of India had told investigators that the attack was carried out by the members of his outfit with the help of some elements from Pakistan.
Nagori, who was arrested in 2008 told the police that the Mumbai train bombings and the Samjautha attack were carried out by the same set of people. He said that the primary idea of the Samjautha attack was to derail peace talks between India and Pakistan.
It was not just Nagori, but two other operates Kamruddin and Amil Pervez who took the same link. All of them spoke about the link between the attack and the SIMI.
At around the same time the United States too pointed out about the role of a Lashkar-e-Tayiba financier Arif Qasmani in the attack.
The state department said that the blasts were funded by Qasmani. A further probe into this revealed that the SIMI operatives Ehtesham Siddiqui and Abdus Subhan were in touch with the Lashkar cadres and had planned this blast. The investigations also found that the Lashkar orchestrated this blast at the behest of the ISI to derail peace with India.
However the case took a sudden turn after 2009. The Ajmer Dargah, Malegaon, Mecca Masjid and Samjautha Express blast cases were all blamed on the Hindus.
Each of these cases had two chargesheets and two sets of accused. Many had even cried foul stating that the UPA had deliberately changed the focus of these probes. The BJP which was in the opposition at that time blamed the UPA's appeasement policy for this role reversal.
All these cases were then handed over to the NIA. At the start of the probe, the NIA secured a confessional statement by Swami Aseemanand. In the statement he confessed to be part of the conspiracy to carry out the attacks including the one on the Samjautha Express.
However, this statement did not pass legal scrutiny as it was made under duress. Subsequently the man the NIA termed as the prime accused in the case was acquitted in most of them.
The case one could say is far from over. Recently a team of the NIA had sought information on Qasmani from the United States. The NIA would continue to probe that angle, especially in the wake of the four persons being acquitted by the special court on March 20.