RSS member acquitted despite damning evidence: Mehbooba Mufti on Samjhauta verdict

New Delhi: After a special NIA court acquitted four people in the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast case, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday criticised the verdict, saying that all the accused were freed despite incriminating evidence against them.

“Despite damning evidence, the accused inc (sic) a former RSS member have been acquited. God forbid, had they been Kashmiris / Muslims they would be pronounced guilty & imprisoned without even a fair trial. Why such double standards and leniency towards saffron terror?” Mufti tweeted.

Earlier in the day, a special NIA court in Panchkula acquitted Swami Aseemanand and three others in connection to the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast case.

“All the four accused persons were acquitted as the prosecution (NIA) failed to prove any of the charges against them,” defence lawyer Mukesh Garg told reporters after the verdict.

Besides Swami Aseemanand, the others acquitted were Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajinder Chaudhary, Garg said.
On February 18, 2007, explosions hit the India-Pakistan trans-border Samjhauta Express in the Panipat area of Haryana and 68 people died in the blast.

Out of the deceased, 33 were male, 19 female and 16 children. Later, two unexploded bombs were also found from the site, the National Investigation Agency had said.

“The Samjhauta Express train blast case of 18.02.2007 was a ‘dreadful terrorist act’ in which two powerful bomb blasts were carried out by a group of people in pursuance of a criminal conspiracy with an intent to kill people and further to threaten the unity, integrity, security and sovereignty of India and to strike terror in the people of India and in a foreign country,” it said.

The charge sheet alleged that all the accused were agitated and perturbed over the attacks on Hindu temple cities and towns by the Islamic terrorist groups. In order to retaliate to such attacks, the accused persons conspired to target the Muslim population, it claimed.

Accused Rajendra Chaudhary conspired, planned and executed the attack along with other suspects, it alleged. They planted bombs in the train along with other co-accused persons on February 18, the charge sheet stated.

Investigation clearly established that the terrorist blasts in Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid, Ajmer Sharif were carried out by the accused persons in pursuance to a criminal conspiracy, it further said.