Monday, March 27, 2023
HomeOpinionSamjhauta blast acquittals have turned India’s accusing finger at Pakistan inwards

Samjhauta blast acquittals have turned India’s accusing finger at Pakistan inwards

After the Samjhauta acquittal, it will be difficult for Indians to look Pakistanis in the eye and ask them tough questions about terrorism and 26/11 Mumbai attack.

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The acquittal of all accused in the Samjhauta Express blast case places a horrible moral equivalence between India and Pakistan. It not only calls into question the shoddy work by the National Investigation Agency, which took 12 years to finish the probe, but worse, turns India’s accusing finger at Islamabad inwards.

In the 2007 blast, which took place near Panipat in Haryana, 68 men, women and children were killed – most of them Pakistani.

For more than 10 years, Delhi has been pointing a finger at Islamabad for the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, in which 166 people were killed. The charge put Pakistan on the back foot. It was unable to explain why and how key masterminds Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi were either roaming free or spending time in jail or under house arrest with all of the privileges usually reserved for free citizens.

Now that India has found that no one killed 68 people in the Samjhauta attack, the accusing finger is now on India.  There is absolutely no answer to the shocking question as to why no one has been found guilty for the Samjahuta terror attack.

Also read: All 4 accused, including Swami Aseemanand, acquitted in Samjhauta Express blast case

The shoddy court investigation allows people like Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, a politician with a penchant for gold crowns and one who has hopped and skipped between so many political parties that one has lost count, to crow unseemingly.

The worst is that Qureshi is at least partially right. For him to point to the “sham justice” for the families of the 68 people who were killed that dreadful February morning, strikes the solar plexus. After the acquittal, it will be difficult for Indians to look Pakistanis in the eye and ask them tough questions about Mumbai.

Questions like: Why did ten Pakistanis decide to float a dinghy in the Arabian Sea off Karachi and sail up to Mumbai only to wreak mayhem for 64 hours? Why did Pakistan pick Mumbai? If the Pakistani press is finally coming to terms with Kargil, why did it refuse to ask questions about the Mumbai attacks to its own establishment?

Certainly, after the acquittal, Delhi’s high moral ground on cross-border terrorism from Pakistan has taken a huge hit. Worse, this terror attack has taken place inside India, by Indians, also against Indians.

When Indians raise Mumbai, the Pakistani answer is now bound to be: Yes, but what about Samjhauta?

Also read: Samjhauta acquittal blunts India’s censure of Pakistani inaction on terror

Indian diplomats have already been reduced to weakly responding to the Pakistani charge that India has deliberately done nothing on punishing the Samjhauta guilty. India’s high commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria is believed to have told the Pakistanis that they never cooperated in serving court summons to Pakistani witnesses on the train blast; these summons were returned. He also wanted to know why Islamabad was delaying investigations on Pulwama, Pathankot, and of course Mumbai.

Whether or not Swami Aseemanand, born Naba Kumar Sarkar, was actually guilty of so-called “saffron terror”, an ugly epithet if there was one, is not the point. Anyway, he recanted on his “confession” soon after he made one in 2010; then, after the Narendra Modi government came to power in 2014, one by one, the witnesses began to turn hostile.

Also read: Samjhauta Express begins services between India & Pakistan as tensions ease

Moral equivalence on the India-Pakistan terror question aside, the Samjhauta acquittal undermines the ordinary citizen’s faith in justice. Under the UPA, Aseemanand made a long statement on terror attacks between 2006-2008, then it all began to unravel after 2014.

Moreover, the timing of the acquittal also raises several questions. It comes within weeks of the Balakot strikes, which sent the powerful message that Prime Minister Modi was willing to take risks if it meant avenging terrorism. As he emerged from the court, a free man, Aseemanand raised his hand and shouted, “Jai Shri Ram.” Note that Lok Sabha elections are around the corner.

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  1. Nope! Not gonna happen.

    Too Utopian!

    Masses are simpletons. (And hence, elaborating to any degree whatsoever is not gonna make a dent.) Period.

  2. The Indian ruling Governments and political leaderships have never punished the guilty right wing Hindutava terrorists involved in innocent killings. At the same time Indian ruling political leaderships have blamed Pakistan government for not taking action against the terrorists. The reality is that the right wing Hindutava terrorists have killed more innocents in India than any other terrorist organizations. Why doesn’t the Indian ruling Governments don’t punish the Hindutava terrorists in their own country before telling other countries how to act against their terrorists ?

    • You can’t fathom how lucky you’re that 0 comments attacking you for being a “Khalistani” has been allowed to publish.

  3. Saw a video clip of Ms Navika Kumar, her voice filled with pain and anguish, asking if an appeal would be filed, there would be further investigation, how justice could be rendered to the families of the victims. Stuff happens, she was told.

    • ‘Dear’, did you even bother to read the article?

      It clearly spells out the first-ever scenario of him admitting it on-record, then recanted it after months by proclaiming it was “obtained under duress (read torture)” and cut to 4 years later, sensing the drastic change in political-climate getting proved with NDA’s victory under the incumbent PM; he rescinded his recantation and essentially said he lied about the “torture” and thus, he stands by his original-confession. Whilst this remains unchanged since then as of now (i.e. it’s his latest firm position), other witnesses in the case steadily starting turning “hostile” out-of-nowhere. And the case “miraculously” became weaker and weaker over time.

  4. Hi,
    Can we not ask Pakistan to share evidence as they always do in Mumbai attack cases for conviction of Hafiz Sayeed which has been provided in great detail?
    if they have been released out of a due legal process and painstaking effort by UPA govt to convict them why should it be a problem. There is no proof that current gov has tried to interfere with due legal process but one probably knows where it may stand ideologically on this issue.
    Also unlike Pakistan where they have the backing of deep state ,in this case there is no proven involvement of any state actor so would the comparison be fair and justified?

    • You’re asking them to “fetch evidence” for a crime-of-mass-destruction carried with the genocidal motive, on an undisputed foreign territory — by non-citizen actors with no history to share with the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan” and any intent to involve her in the acts of mass-destruction as well? And that too, when it’s not Pakistan whose investigation had found the involvement of those perpetrators?

      As in, despite of nothing rationally linkable to the Pakistani state officials (I do hope and even pray that you’re not asking for the state to act on behalf of the words of her citizens) in a straight line — they somehow do need to “fetch evidence”? Whatabout the so called “territorial-integrity”? Are the perps involved belong to such a “special class” that the “sovereignty” going perfectly out-the-window with zero brouhaha is something even near desirable? Boy.. Then must’ve something direct to do with one of the national symbols of the “Republic of India”.

      How more of logically-fallacious can you be? And who save for INC sympathisers proclaimed that the previous Cabinet made the sound-judgement and did all it could to get the perpetrators convicted? By your line-of-reasoning: Late Indira Gandhi proxy-founded VHP! Now go prove me wrong.

  5. The toll on the Samjhauta Express was higher than at Godhra, which set off one of the darkest chapters of modern Indian history.

    • Worse part is, unlike Godhra — Samjhauta is proven to be caused by anthropogenic factors beyond every single rational-doubt.

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