The Samjhota Express Blast: Unforgotten Tragedy – OpEd


On February 18, 2007 two sections of the Samjhota Express were blown off by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) by Hindu extremists who belonged to a right-wing ultranationalist Hindu organization, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The Samjhota Express was a peace initiative. Families got divided along the border lines due to the partition of the subcontinent back in 1947. For the sake of consoling these people, the train was launched by both governments, India and Pakistan so people on both sides of the border can visit their relatives. But enemies of peace could not bear with it. 

Although attacks against Muslims had started in 2006, Samjhota Express Blast halted the peace process. Initially, to be safe and further malign Muslims’ status in India, they were blamed for the attack. However, a sound investigation carried out by National Investigation Agency (NIA) unearthed that members of the RSS were behind the heinous attack. It killed 68 people including 43 Pakistani and 10 Indian while injuring 10 Pakistani and 2 Indians. Inspector General of Maharashtra Police and Chief of Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) Hemant Karkare had revealed RSS involvement in the attack. Political leaders at the time also termed the attack as ‘Saffron Terrorism’. BJP and RSS leaders accused the police is trying to please the Muslim population by blaming RSS. They tried to oust Karkare from the investigation team, but later on, he was killed in Mumbai 2008 operation by RSS operators. 

It was portrayed that Karkare was killed by the militants, but actually, the event was cashed as an opportunity by RSS to get rid of Karkare. The wife of Karkare had blamed Colonel Prohit and Raw behind the Samjhota Express blast and the killing of his husband. And this must be noted that Col. Purohit has confessed to training the terrorists to initiate a war between Pakistan and India to keep bilateral relations at the bar. Pakistan has variously asked to share the findings of the incident’s investigation but to no avail. Even Swami Aseemnand who was arrested by law enforcement agencies as the mastermind of the attack also confessed in 2010 that RSS members were behind the attack. But later he flunked his statement. The four accused Swami Aseemnand, Kamal Chauhan, Raginder Chaudhry, and Lokesh Sharma got bail from the Indian court. Swami also acknowledged that some of the worst attacks in India were carried out by RSS goons. 

This is the level of amnesty and accountability in India, which calls itself the world’s largest democracy. It has always blamed and accused Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism, while Aseemnand’s statement has revealed the truth. No family of the Samjhota Express has sought any justice. Even NIA special Judge, Jagdeep Singh dismissed the plea of a Pakistani woman who asked to consider an eye witness of the incident from her country. BJP is the political wing of RSS. By no means will any accountability action be taken against the members of extremist organizations. Data taken from the Documentation of the Oppressed reveals that since 2014, there are reported 1487 crimes against minorities victimizing 32,419 people including 265 killed and 2500 injured. Behind 519 incidents, religious identity was the main reason and it has been revealed that in 710 cases the perpetrators were members of Hindutva. Moreover, it also highlights that among the victims, 29,176 are Muslims and most of these crimes are carried out in states like Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka where BJP is in power. 

The international community especially the West does not dare ask India due to its strategic interests lying parallel later. Even the United States Commission of International Religious Freedom has variously recommended the state department to put India under the category of state of ‘particular concern’ but to no avail. No voice had been raised against the injustice carried out by Indian courts by giving bails to the masterminds of the Samjhota Express blast. The world should get up from the slumbers of negligence or stop asking anyone. Because when it comes to the smaller states like Pakistan, every rule and international law becomes relevant, while when it comes to the states like India, no act can punish it for its crimes and human rights violations with impunity. With all the pieces of evidence, one must also note that the investigation also revealed the training places of the perpetrators and the bomb material they bought, all taking its roots from RSS, which is to be held accountable for the sake of justice. 

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