A Pakistani couple whose five children were burnt to death in the 2007 Samjhauta Express bombing are ready to depose before a special NIA court that they had “seen the bombers and could identify them.”
Rana Shaukat Ali and his wife Rukshana, residents of Faisalabad in Pakistan who were grievously injured while trying to rescue their five children, had a verbal encounter with the two suspects who had allegedly planted the bombs in the railway coach, minutes before the explosion occurred.
No help, says counsel
“They want to come to India and tell the court they can identify the bombers. It was on the basis of the description provided by them that the Haryana police had earlier prepared the sketches of the suspects. Neither India or Pakistan is helping them,” said Momin Malik, the counsel for the Pakistani couple.
Former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh member Aseemanand is the prime accused in the case along with seven others. The blasts on the Samjhauta Express, near Panipat, on February 18, 2007, and the subsequent fire in the coaches killed 68 passengers and injured a dozen.
“On the day of the blast, the bombers came and sat next to them. The couple asked them to change their seats as they had young daughters. Before leaving they left behind a suitcase which exploded later. They are the only ones who have seen the bombers, their statement should be recorded in the interest of justice,” Mr. Malik said.
Earlier Rahila Wakil, daughter of another Pakistani victim — Muhammad Wakil who was killed in the blast — had sent an email to the court through Mr. Malik that she wanted to depose as a witness as her father had told her on phone about “some suspicious persons.”
The trial in the 2007 Samjhauta Express terror case had concluded and a special NIA court in Panchkula, Haryana, was to deliver a verdict on March 11 this year when Ms. Wakil sent the email.
The hearing scheduled for Thursday was postponed again till March 18 due to suspension of work by the Panchkula District Bar Association, said advocate Mukesh Garg, one of the counsel for Aseemanand.
Mr. Garg added that the application moved by the opposite party appeared to be malafide to delay the verdict in the case.
The initial investigation was carried out by the Railway police and the Haryana police Later, the Union Home Ministry handed over the probe to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in July 2010.