The acquittal of Aseemanand and three others in the 2007 Samjhauta train blast case is a reminder that “terrorists of extreme Hindutva variety” are not brought to justice in India, the CPI(M) claimed Friday.
In an editorial in its mouthpiece People’s Democracy, the Left party said that between 2006 and 2008 six “terrorist” incidents were perpetrated by a network of extreme Hindutva groups, and Aseemanand, Pragya Thakur and Lt. Colonel Shrikant Purohit were among the prominent conspirators.
“The acquittal of Aseemanand and three others in the Samjhauta train blast case is a shameful reminder that the criminal justice system in India is incapable of bringing terrorists of the extremist Hindutva variety to justice for their crimes,” it said.
The blast in Samjhauta Express between India and Pakistan took place near Panipat in Haryana on February 18, 2007, when the train was on its way to Attari, the last railway station on the Indian side.
A special court in Haryana’s Panchkula, which had acquitted Aseemanand and the three others, Thursday said the National Investigating Agency lost a valuable piece of evidence by not conducting an identification parade.
The CPI(M) editorial further claimed that Aseemanand, an RSS-VHP activist who was earlier acquitted in the Mecca Masjid blast and the Ajmer Dargah blast cases, was considered to be the main organiser of the terrorist attacks which targeted Muslim places of worship.
“Both these cases were investigated by the National Investigation Agency(NIA). Under the Modi regime, the NIA has the dubious record of undermining all the terrorist cases related to the Hindutva extremist groups,” it said.
In the Mecca Masjid blast, in which nine people were killed in 2007, all the accused including Aseemanand were acquitted. In the Ajmer Dargah blast case, prosecuted by the NIA, Aseemanand and six others were acquitted.
“It was only in this case that two RSS pracharaks were convicted and sentenced to life; however their sentences were stayed by the High Court. In the case concerning the Malegaon blast of 2008, the NIA dropped charges against Pragya Thakur under the MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act). But the special court reinstated the case against her under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA),” it said.
The party alleged in the editorial that with this judicial verdict, the message has gone that “no one is responsible” for this terrorist event, when in fact there was sufficient evidence linking the blast to persons connected with the outfits affiliated to the RSS.
“What the Samjhauta, Malegaon, Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Sherif blast cases have revealed is that the Modi government will not recognize or accept that there were terrorist attacks planned and executed by extremist Hindu elements. For the Modi government, terrorism can only be perpetrated by Muslim extremists and not by Hindu extremists. The criminal justice system is being subverted to convey this chilling message,” it said.
Earlier in the day, senior BJP leader and Union minister Arun Jaitley attacked the Opposition, especially the Congress, over the Samjhauta blast verdict and said people cannot tolerate an entire community being labelled as terrorists.
Jaitley said wrong set of people were “framed” by forging evidence and the entire Hindu community was “smeared”.
Innocents were killed in the blast but investigators focussed not on real culprits but on establishing the political theory of Hindu terrorism, he said, alleging that the Congress gave the slogan of “Hindu terrorism” for its “vote bank” politics.
This story first appeared in business-standard.com on MAR 29, 2019 here.