The acquittal of four including Swami Aseemanand and three others in the Samjautha Express blast of 2007 claiming 68 persons live near Panipat in Haryana has raised some questions which time will have to tell. The train that provides one of the few links between India and Pakistan too fell victim to the terror attacks and the victims were Indian and Pakistani civilians. The NIA, which was entrusted with the investigation, filed a charge sheet in 2013, contending that two improvised explosive devices had gone off. The investigation agency charged eight persons ‘angry with attacks on Hindu temples by jihadi terrorist activities’. Of them, the most prominent was Swami Aseemanand, who has, in recent years, been acquitted in the Ajmer Dargah and Mecca Masjid blast cases. One of the accused in the Samjhauta Express case was killed in December 2007. Three have been untraceable, and the rest were acquitted. The NIA’s failure to carry its case in court against the accused is galling. While both the investigation and later the trial were hampered by the transnational aspect of the crime, with most of the victims and even eye-witnesses being Pakistani, we now have a distressing situation. ‘No one knows who killed the 68 victims,’ as Kapil Sibal had put it. The acquittal of all the accused has already been criticised by Pakistan who keeps on pushing terrorists into Indian soil. The blast was a terrorist act that took Indian and Pakistani lives. The victims deserve closure, which can only come about when culprits are brought to book. Though the case has failed to come out with a seal-proof conclusion for the victims justice remains a far off cry.
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