Indian court acquits 4 Hindu activists in train bombing that killed more than 40 Pakistani nationals
NEW DELHI — A special court in India Wednesday acquitted four Hindu activists, including a monk, accused of carrying out deadly blasts in 2007 on the Samjhauta Express, a biweekly train that runs between India and Pakistan.
The blasts, which occurred in the north Indian state of Haryana bordering New Delhi, had killed 68 people, most of whom were Pakistani nationals. The deceased included about a dozen children.
The court said the prosecution was unable to prove the charges against the accused.
The case was the most prominent example of Indian authorities bringing charges against alleged Hindu extremists accused of planning attacks on Muslims.
Those acquitted include Swami Aseemanand, a Hindu monk, charged in two other terrorist blast cases — one on a mosque and the other on a popular Sufi Muslim shrine. He was cleared of charges in those cases in recent years. The monk is a former activist with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a Hindu nationalist organization that is the parent of India’s ruling party.
Aseemanand had confessed before a magistrate of planning the train bombing and other attacks targeting Muslims, but later recanted and said the confession was made under duress. He had made similar assertions in recorded interviews to the Caravan, a news magazine.