IN a dramatic development top Indian security sources have revealed that Swami Aseemanand had confessed before a magistrate to his involvement in the Samjhota train blast of February 2007. Aseemanand, who heads the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram in Gujarat’s Dangs district, was arrested on November 19 last year for his involvement in the Ajmer, Hyderabad and Samjhota Express blasts, all of them in 2007.
It has now been established beyond any doubt that Samjhota and several other terrorist attacks in India were carried out by those who were in one way or the other linked to RSS and other Hindu extremist organizations. However, record bears testimony to the fact that Indians had always been quick to apportion blame of all such incidents on Pakistan and its security agencies. India had even initially blamed Pakistan for train attack as well in which majority of the 68 people killed were Pakistani nationals. There is well documented evidence that Hindutva terror is involved in at least twenty terrorist attacks in different parts of India from 2006 to 2008 in which hundreds of Muslims lost their lives. A serving Indian Army officer Prasad Shrikant Purohit and a retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay were arrested in connection with bomb blasts in two Muslim-dominated towns of Malegaon and Modasa in 2008. All this shows that terrorism is on the rise in India but New Delhi is unwilling to curb these tendencies and instead is focusing on propaganda to malign Pakistan. Why after passage of over three years, India has not yet shared information about investigations into the train bombing? This is despite the fact that Pakistan has been fully cooperating and provided a number of dossiers to India in connection with Mumbai attacks. Is it because India considers the blood of Pakistanis cheaper than Indians? We believe that it is also because of the apologetic attitude of the Pakistani authorities that Indians are dictating their terms irrespective of who is at fault. We would urge Pakistan Government to condition further cooperation in Mumbai incident to sharing of information and ensuring transparent trial to punish those involved in Samjhota Express bombing.
Pakistan Saturday said India should not squander in bringing to justice the perpetrators of bombing of Samjhauta Express Train in light of a RSS leader’s confession about the involvement of Sangh activists in the attack, said television reports. “It took almost four years for Samjhauta Express investigations to come to this pass. We can only hope that no further time will be squandered in bringing the criminals to justice,” Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told Indian news agency PTI in a text message, according to the reports.
The reports said Basit was responding to a question on Pakistan’s reaction to Indian Aseemanand’s confession about the involvement of Sangh activists in several terrorist attacks, including 2007 bombing of Samjhauta Express train that killed nearly 70 people, majority of them Pakistani citizens.
“The reported confession by Aseemanand underlines the need for avoiding unhelpful knee-jerk reactions as was done in India (at the time of attack),” Basit said. “We look forward to hearing from India officially. The relations of 42 Pakistani victims of Samjhauta Express terrorist action are desperately awaiting their protracted trauma to come to an end,” he added.
Pakistan has asked India several times in past two years to apprise it of developments in investigation into Samjhauta Express bombing. The issue was raised by Pakistani leaders with Home Minister P Chidambaram and External Affairs Minister S M Krishna when they visited Islamabad last year.
Jatin Chatterjee alias Aseemanand, 59, has given a detailed description of the involvement of Sangh activists and self-styled spiritual leaders in several terror attacks across India during past three years in his confessional statement given to a special CBI court in New Delhi.
The Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan will meet on the sidelines of an upcoming meeting of foreign ministers of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) member states in Bhutan to explore ways to take forward the stalled peace process between the two countries, the Foreign Office confirmed on Saturday.
Pakistan will decide on accepting India’s standing invitation for Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to visit New Delhi after assessing the outcome of the talks between the Foreign Secretaries in Thimphu on the margins of the Saarc meet, which is expected to be held in February, sources said.
Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told media representatives that Pakistan was willing to engage in talks with India but an agenda should first be chalked out by the Foreign Secretaries of both countries.
Indian External Affairs Minister Krishna on Friday renewed his invitation for Shah Mehmood Qureshi to visit New Delhi. The two Foreign Ministers last met in Islamabad in July 2010 but the talks ended inconclusively.