Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday attacked the Congress, demanding that the party apologise to the Hindu community for floating a theory of “Hindu terror” in the Samjhauta Express blast case. Jaitley’s remarks came after a trial court which had acquitted all accused last week said there were “gaping holes in the prosecution evidence”.
Trial court judge Jagdeep Singh in his order, made public on Thursday, said the prosecution had withheld the “best evidence” and that some of the independent witnesses were never examined or sought to be declared hostile when they chose to not support the prosecution’s case. “I have to conclude this judgment with deep pain and anguish as a dastardly act of violence remained unpunished for want of credible and admissible evidence,” he said in his order. “There are gaping holes in the prosecution evidence and an act of terrorism has remained unsolved.”
Religious leader Aseemanand, Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajinder Chaudhary were acquitted on March 20. The explosion, which took place on February 18, 2007, had killed 68 people, including 10 Indians. In its chargesheet, the National Investigation Agency said the blast had targeted Pakistani Muslims. Samjhauta Express connects India and Pakistan.
“The Congress floated the fake theory of ‘Hindu terror’ to gain political mileage and tarnished the entire Hindu community,” Jaitley said at a press conference, according to the Hindustan Times. “They should apologise to the community.”
Jaitley claimed during the tenure of the UPA and the Congress, three or four cases on such a theory were made but none of them could stand in the court.
The finance minister said the court’s judgement in the Samjhauta case made it clear that it was a trial of “no evidence”. “So many people died,” he added. “Who will take responsibility for this? The responsibility lies with the United Progressive Alliance leadership.” Jaitley claimed the UPA government caught the wrong people to justify its theory of “Hindu terror”.
On March 21, Jaitley had said the term “Hindu terror” was coined to give a bad name to the “otherwise liberal majority community in India”. “Terror is alien to the Hindu culture,” he said. “In fact, it is alien to India’s legacy.” The Bharatiya Janata Party leader said the United States and United Nations had kept indicating that a “certain jihadi group” was behind the blasts.