Indian national probe agency charges 5 for Samjhauta Express blasts

09:05, June 21, 2011      

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India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) Monday charged five people, including a Hindu exponent, for their role in the 2007 explosions on Samjhauta Express, a twice-weekly train service to Pakistan, in which 68 people were killed, sources said.

The NIA filed chargesheet in a special court against Swami Aseemanand, Sunil Joshi, Lokesh Sharma, Sandeep Dange and Ramchandra Kalasangra for plotting a criminal conspiracy to cause bomb blasts in the train near the northern Indian city of Panipat on February 18, 2007, the sources said.

The ensuing fire killed 68 people and dozens more were injured. Of the 68 fatalities, most were Pakistani civilians, though the victims included some Indian civilians and military personnel guarding the train.

"Samjhauta train was particularly chosen, as most of the passengers who travel in it are Pakistani citizens. Aseemanand not only provided financial and logistical support to the terror group which executed this dastardly act but also played a vital role in instigating and motivating his associates to undertake this terrorist act," the sources quoted the chargesheet as saying.

The Samjhauta Express was an effort by India and Pakistan to instil peace between the arch-rivals.

The Samjhauta Express blasts happened when twin explosions shook two coaches of the train shortly after it had passed through the railway station in the village of Diwana near Panipat.

After the explosions, both carriages were engulfed in flames and many passengers were incapacitated by the smoke. Many passengers screamed and attempted to escape, but since most of the train's windows were barred for security reasons, many could not escape in time.

Source: Xinhua
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