Agencies / Islamabad / NEW DELHI
Pakistan on Wednesday summoned the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad to protest against the acquittal of all four accused in Samjhauta Express blast case, and accused the Indian government of promoting and protecting ‘Hindu terrorists’.
Acting Foreign Secretary at the Pak Foreign Office summoned Indian High Commissioner and lodged strong protest and condemnation against the acquittal of four accused in the Samjhota Express terror attacks.
In a statement, the Pak Foreign Office said that Pakistan had consistently raised the lack of progress on Indian attempts to exonerate the accused in the heinous terrorist act.
It stressed that Pakistan raised the issue repeatedly with the senior officials, including at the Heart of Asia meeting in 2016.
“Formal demarches were also lodged regularly with India on the lack of progress and acquittal of the accused in other cases,” said the FO.
The FS stated that the acquittal of the accused exposed the sham credibility of the Indian courts.
The FO statement said that India levels allegations of terrorism against Pakistan, while protecting with impunity, those terrorists who confessed to their crimes publicly. It asked India to explore judicial remedies to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.
National Investigation Agency (NIA) court acquitted four suspects in Samjhota Express blast in 2007 that had killed 70, including 42 Pakistanis.
Prime suspect Swami Aseemanand among three others was acquitted in the terror attack on the train, which was going to Lahore from New Delhi.
NIA Counsel RK Handa said that the court concluded that the investigating agency failed to prove the conspiracy charge and the accused ‘deserved a benefit of doubt’.
The blast had ripped apart two coaches of the cross-border train.
The Haryana police registered a case, but the probe was handed over to the National Investigation Agency in July 2010. The NIA filed a charge sheet in July 2011 against eight persons for their alleged roles in the terror attack. Of the eight, Swami Aseemanand, Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajinder Chaudhary appeared before the court and faced trial.
Sunil Joshi, the alleged mastermind of the attack, was shot dead near his home in Madhya Pradesh’s Dewas district in December 2007. The three other accused — Ramchandra Kalsangra, Sandeep Dange and Amit — could not be arrested and were declared proclaimed offenders.
NIA, in its chargesheet, had said that the accused were upset with the terror attacks on Hindu temples – Akshardham (Gujarat), Raghunath Mandir (Jammu) and Sankat Mochan Mandir (Varanasi) – and conspired to trigger the blast in the Pakistan-bound train to avenge the spate of attacks on various temples.
The accused had conspired and propounded a theory of “bomb ka badla bomb”, the NIA had said