Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Thursday sarcastically claimed that “no one knows who killed the 68 victims” who died in the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast. A special National Investigation Agency court on Wednesday acquitted all the accused in the case.
“2007: Samjhauta Express Bomb Blast. 68 killed. NIA discharged eight accused. Verdict: No one knows who killed the 68 victims,” Sibal tweeted. “Must be a proud day for our criminal justice system!”
Aseemanand, Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajinder Chaudhary were all acquitted on Wednesday, two days after the court reserved its verdict in the case.
Meanwhile, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Thursday dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to appeal against the verdict. “What kind of a chowkidar [watchman] are you?” Owaisi said referring to Modi’s “Main Bhi Chowkidar” campaign, PTI reported. “25 Indians are also among the dead. Bomb blast is a terrorist offence. How are you a chowkidar?”
“If Modi was really a ‘chowkidar’ he should immediately announce that the government would appeal against the court verdict,” he added. Owaisi said that the country does not need a chowkidar, but an honest prime minister.
The explosion, which took place on February 18, 2007, had killed 68 people, including 10 Indians. In its chargesheet, the NIA said the blast had targeted Pakistani Muslims. The incident happened at Diwani village near Panipat, 160 km from Panchkula in Haryana. The train, which connects India and Pakistan, was heading toward Attari, the last station on the Indian side.
The NIA’s chargesheet had named several people, including Aseemanand, who was acquitted in the Ajmer Dargah blast case in May 2017 after prosecution witnesses turned hostile. Last year, Aseemanand was also acquitted in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case.