Indian court acquits 4 Hindus in blast on train to Pakistan

March 20, 2019
FILE - In this Feb. 19, 2007, file photo, Indian security personnel walk past the charred coaches of Samjauta Express train, or Friendship Express, which caught fire after a blast at Dewana, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of New Delhi, India. An Indian court has on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, acquitted four Hindu hardliners charged with triggering explosions in the train heading for India’s border with Pakistan 12 years ago, killing 68 people, mostly Pakistani nationals. (AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi, File)

NEW DELHI (AP) — An Indian court on Wednesday acquitted four Hindus charged with triggering explosions on a train heading to India’s border with Pakistan 12 years ago, killing 68 people, mostly Pakistani citizens.

Defense attorney Mukesh Garg said the court in the northern Indian town of Mohali ruled that investigators failed to conclusively prove that the accused were guilty.

Two coaches of the Samjhauta Express, or Friendship Express, were engulfed in flames after the blasts in 2007 outside Dewana, a train station near New Delhi.

The train was traveling from New Delhi to Atari, the last station before the Pakistan border. At Atari, passengers switch to a Pakistani train.

Pakistan had been pressing India to expedite the trial. India’s National Investigation Agency filed charges of criminal conspiracy to murder against the defendants in 2011.

Pakistan summoned India’s ambassador to protest Wednesday’s acquittal.

In a statement, Pakistan called it a “travesty of justice” that reflected an “Indian state policy of promoting and protecting Hindu terrorists.”