- The four men accused in the case were acquitted by the court on March 20
- Special judge Jagdeep Singh said those responsible remained unpunished
- The judge said many witnesses turned hostile during trial in the case
The people responsible for the blast in Samjhauta Express, in which 68 people died, remained unpunished for want of credible and admissible evidence, Special judge Jagdeep Singh wrote in the 160-page order which was made public today. The four men accused in the case, including Aseemanand, a saffron-robed monk, were acquitted by the court on March 20.
The blast on February 18, 2007, had ripped apart two coaches as the Samjhauta Express, reached Panipat. The train was on way from Delhi to Pakistan's Lahore, and those who died were mostly Pakistan nationals.
Four years later, the National Investigation Agency had filed a case against eight people, including Aseemanand.
The agency said the accused were upset with the terror attacks on several temples - including the Gujarat's Akshardham, Jammu's Raghunath Mandir and Varanasi's Sankat Mochan Mandir - wanted to avenge them. Only four were brought to trial - one of the accused died and three others could not be arrested.
"I have to conclude this judgment with deep pain and anguish as a dastardly act of violence remained unpunished for want of credible and admissible evidence," read the order, which rapped the prosecution for leaving gaping holes in the evidence it submitted.
The judge also criticised the investigating agencies for coining terms like "Muslim terror" or "Hindu fundamentalism".
"It is generally noticed that a malaise has set in the investigating agencies which coin various terms law Muslim terrorism, Hindu fundamentalism etc or brand an act of criminal(s) as act(s) of particular religion, caste or community," read the order.
The court said that criminals cannot be projected as representatives of the religion, caste or community they belong to. Such branding is totally unjustified, the court added.
Highlighting that many of the witnesses turned hostile during trial, the judge said in the order that a system should be developed to protect witnesses.
The Supreme Court has repeatedly expressed concerns about safety and protection of witnesses and "therefore it is again high time we put in place some sound and workable witness protection scheme at the earliest so that every criminal trial be taken to its logical conclusion," read the order.