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India acquits four accused including self-confessed Swami Aseemanand in Samjhauta Express bombing case

A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in India acquitted all four accused in the Samjhauta Express bombing case on Wednesday ignoring the confession of one of them.
“The NIA Special Court has concluded that the investigating agency has failed to prove the conspiracy charge and ruled that [the] accused deserve a benefit of [the] doubt,” Indian media quoted NIA Counsel RK Handa as saying.
The four accused include Naba Kumar Sarkar alias Swami Aseemanand, Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan, and Rajinder Chaudhary – all of whom appeared before the court today.
The NIA in its charge sheet had named eight persons as accused; Sunil Joshi, the alleged mastermind of the attack, was killed in December 2007 while three other accused named Ramchandra Kalsangra, Sandeep Dange and Amit are still at large and have been declared proclaimed offenders.
The court in Haryana state observed that as per NIA’s probe the accused were upset with previous attacks on Hindu temples — Gujarat’s Akshardham, Jammu’s Raghunath Mandir, and Varanasi’s Sankat Mochan Mandir — and had conspired to target the train as revenge.
“The accused had conspired and propounded a theory of ‘bomb ka badla bomb’ (a bomb for a bomb),” NIA was quoted as saying in the charge sheet.
The court also rejected the application seeking permission for deposition of Pakistani witnesses in the case; the application was filed by Pakistani resident Rahila Wakil on March 11 through advocate Momin Malik.
The Indian court also ignored the confession of Swami Aseemanand, who in December 2010, admitted involvement in multiple terror attacks, including the Samjahuta Express.
Tehelka magazine carried the confession of the accused who told everyone present at the meeting that ‘bomb ka jawab bomb se dena chahiye’. He also said that at the meeting he realised that Joshi and his group were already doing something on the subject.
The confession retracted four months later, also illustrated that Samjhauta Express was chosen by the Swami because it was mostly used by Pakistanis.
“I told everybody that bomb ka jawab bomb se dena chahiye (we should reply to bomb blasts with bombs) I told everyone since 80 per cent of Malegaon are Muslims, we should explode the bomb in Malegaon,’’ he said.
“Since Hindus throng to the Ajmer Sharif dargah, we thought a bomb blast in Ajmer would deter Hindus from going there,’’ the accused had said.
Furthermore, he said that since the Nizam of Hyderabad had wanted to go with Pakistan during Partition, Hyderabad should also be targeted.
Samjhauta Express Accident
The Samjhauta Express train was headed from Delhi to Lahore when a bomb blast took 68 lives on February 18, 2007.
The explosions near Panipat in Haryana majorly targeted Pakistanis as 43 of them lost life in the incident.
Haryana police had lodged a case, but the probe was handed over to the National Investigation Agency in July 2010, which then filed a charge sheet in June 2011 after a thorough probe, indicting eight individuals.
The Samjhauta Express, also known as the Attari Express, runs between Delhi and Attari in India and Delhi and Lahore in Pakistan, on Wednesdays and Sundays, however, it faces frequent disruption owing to ties between the two south-Asian countries.

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