India on Tuesday refused to hand over the Samjhauta Express bombings suspect’s confession to Pakistan, saying that the probe is still not complete and that Pakistan’s demand is premature.
According to a news report on the site NDTV.com, India refused to share the details because the investigations are at a preliminary stage. The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs asked the Ministry of External Affairs to tell Pakistan that India cannot share the information.
Updated from print edition (below)
Samjhauta Express bombings: Pakistan summons Indian diplomat
Pakistan has urged India to share the findings of investigations into the Samjhauta train blasts at the earliest, after latest disclosures that suggest Hindu extremist outfits were behind the February 2007 terrorist incident.
A jailed Hindu extremist leader recently confessed his involvement in several terrorist incidents including Samjhauta train bombings that killed 68 people, most of whom were Pakistani nationals.
A top Indian diplomat was summoned at the Foreign Office on Monday to convey Pakistan’s concerns on the involvement of Hindu extremist organisations in killing Pakistani nationals.
The Acting High Commissioner of India GV Srinivas was conveyed Pakistan’s renewed demand seeking the findings of investigations conducted by the Indian authorities into the Pakistan-India friendship train service.
“His attention was drawn to the recent reports in the media on the investigations into the Samjhauta Express blasts of February 2007,” said a Foreign Office statement.
Media reports say Swami Aseemanand, a leader of Hindu extremist outfit Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), confessed before a judicial magistrate that he and his fellow RSS activists were involved in blasts on Samjhauta Express, at mosques in Malegaon in Maharashtra state and Andhra Pradesh’s state capital, Hyderabad, and a Muslim shrine in Ajmer in Rajasthan.
RSS shares close ties with India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. Aseemanand was arrested by authorities in November last year.
In his confession he reportedly said the bombings were in retaliation to Muslim militants attacking Hindu temples. “I told everyone that a bomb must be responded with a bomb,” Aseemanand exhorted.
“Pakistan is awaiting the progress made by the Government of India in the investigations into the Samjhauta Express blasts,” said Foreign Office spokesperson Abdul Basit.
Another official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Pakistan would raise the issue at the foreign-secretary level talks scheduled to take place in the first week of February in Bhutan.
“The foreign secretary will certainly take up this issue with his Indian counterpart, as Pakistan believes the masterminds of the Samjhauta train bombings must be brought to justice,” the official added.
In February 2007, bomb blasts tore through two carriages of the Samjhauta Express as it travelled past Panipat towards Amritsar on its way to the Pakistani border.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2011.