Aseemanand, four others charged in Samjhauta Express Blast

National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed a chargesheet in court on the Samjhauta Express bomb blast on February 18, 2007, which killed 68 people, mostly Pak nationals, charging Swami Aseemanand and four others, including Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak Sunil Joshi (now dead), for the deed. This is the first time any member of the RSS has been formally charged for terrorism activity. The investigators said Aseemanand began propagating a “bomb for bomb theory to give vent to his feelings” after the terrorism attacks at the Akshardham temple in Gujarat, Raghunath Temple in Jammu and Sankat Mochan Temple at Varanasi. He also discussed his plans with RSS members Sunil Joshi, Sandeep Dange, Lokesh Sharma and Ramchandra Kalasangra.
The NIA suspects that apart from these five accused, more people were involved. Assemanand and Sharma are in Ambala jail, while a reward of Rs 10 lakh has been announced for information leading to an arrest of Dange and Kalasangra, who are absconding. Assemanand is suspected to have played a major role not just in Samjhauta blast but also the blast case, Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid blast and the Malegaon blast cases. NIA is investigating the role of Pragya Thakur, accused in the Malegaon case, for involvement in the Samjhauta attack, too. In its charge sheet before a local court in Panchkula, Haryana, NIA said the Samjhauta Express, a bi-weekly train between India and Pakistan, was chosen because most of the passengers were Pakistanis. “Aseemanand not only provided financial and logistical support to the terror group which executed the blast but also played a vital role in instigating and motivating people to carry out this terrorist act. Sandeep Dange, Ramchandra Kalasangra and Lokesh Sharma, under the leadership of Sunil Joshi, procured raw materials for the improvised explosive device and also planted the bomb in the train,” NIA told the court.