February 13th, 2012
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Samjhauta blast: Bomber arrested

samjautha-expressNew Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested the the man who is alleged to have planted the bomb on the India-Pakistan train Samjhauta Express that killed 68 people, in February 2007. Kamal Chouhan, a resident of Indore, was arrested yesterday and will be presented before the Patiala House Court in Delhi today.

Chouhan is said to have confessed to have planted the bomb. Chouhan is believed to be a close aide of Ramji Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange, the key accused in the case. Intense, rigorous interrogation of the accused is underway to ascertain the whereabouts of Sange and Kalsangra, on whom the NIA has announced a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh.

The NIA has already charged right-wing extremists Swami Aseemanand, Sadhvi Pragya, Sunil Joshi (now dead), Sandeep Dange, Lokesh Sharma and Ramchandra Kalasangra alias Ramji for triggering the explosions. The NIA says that in its four years of inquiry, it has found that “the entire conspiracy was hatched between 2005 and 2007 by the accused Swami Aseemanand, Sunil Joshi (now dead) and his associates…at different places in Gujarat, MP and other places.”

The Samjhauta Express bombings occurred on 18 February 2007 at midnight. Bombs were set off in two carriages, both filled with passengers, just after the train passed Diwana station near the Indian city of Panipat, 80 kilometres North of New Delhi. Of the 68 people who were killed 43 were Pakistani’s. More than 50 people were injured. The Samjhauta Express a bi weekly train service connecting Delhi, India and Lahore, Pakistan was an attempt to ease the tense situation between the two nations and an a step towards the peace process. Launched in 1976, the Samjhauta Express served as the only rail connection between the two countries until the launch of the Thar Express.

Extreme Hindu Fundamentalist groups are believed to be associated with the blast. Aseemanand’s confession that he was also involved in the bomb blasts at Malegaon in Maharashtra in 2006 and 2008, both of which targeted Muslims, linked him closely to Hindu terror group Abhinav Bharat which counts Sadhvi Pragya as one of its founder members.

 

 



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