Some follow-up information and analysis on Monday's Samjhauta Express train fire bombing in India:
".... the sketches were based on eyewitness accounts of two men who jumped off the train before a pair of explosions hit passenger cars, killing at least 68 people.One man was in his mid-20s and the other was in his mid-30s, police said. Police said the two boarded the train in New Delhi and rode it for a while before they started an argument with railroad police on the train. They told the officers they got on the wrong train and persuaded them to let them jump off. Fifteen minutes after they jumped, the blasts occurred."
"While the attack occured in India, the majority of the victims on the Samjhauta Express were Pakistanis. There were 67 bodies at the morgue in Panipat, many burnt beyond recognition, while one other person died in a New Delhi hospital overnight, officials said. About a dozen people were also injured. The suitcases were packed with plastic bottles of kerosene and petrol, mixed with strips of cloth to prolong the blaze. Two other bombs were planted on the train but failed to explode."
Timing of Bombing:
"The attack happened days before the fifth anniversary of a fire on a train carrying Hindu pilgrims that killed 59 people in Godhra in the western state of Gujarat, and sparked communal riots in which around 2500 people died, most of them Muslims."
"The attacks took place ahead of Pakistani Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri’s visit to New Delhi for talks with his Indian counterpart on Tuesday. Kasuri is scheduled to co-chair the India-Pak Joint Commission in New Delhi.....Whoever has done this must have one thing in mind – to derail the ongoing peace process between India and Pakistan."
Indian analysts on the train fire bombing:
From Praveen Swami of The Hindu (online edition of national newspaper): "Islamists have, in recent weeks, repeatedly argued that the peace process poses a threat to both Pakistan's economic survival and its ideological raison d'etre. Growing interaction at the level of ordinary people, Islamists have claimed, is working to soften the hatred they believe is necessary to protect their nation. In their imagination, Allah Ditta's train of love is a Trojan Horse, a vehicle for the destruction of the project of Pakistan." This editorial also criticizes General Musharraf for bring "either unwilling or unable to confront his Islamist opponents."
From Ajai Sahni, editor of South Asia Intelligence Review: "In political terms, the 'needle of suspicion' swings once again towards the pack of Pakistan-backed Islamist terrorist organisations that have engineered a long succession of attacks across the length and breadth of India, and which are an integral part of Pakistan's 'Kashmir strategy'. As news of the latest terrorist excess broke, it was accompanied by the usual, equally mindless, questions in the media: what were the motives of the terrorists? Why now? Why this target? Was there a "security failure" or "intelligence failure"? .... It seems almost as if this new atrocity appeared out of the void, the long and murderous history of Islamist terrorist violence in India altogether forgotten."
Response of Lashkar Terrorist Groups:
It must have been the Hindus! "Jihadi organisations in Pakistan have already begun blaming the Indian security establishment and Hindu fundamentalist groups for the attacks. A United Jihad Council release said the 'act can only be the handiwork of Indian agencies or the Hindu fundamentalists to sabotage the ongoing Indo-Pak peace process.' "
And from Lashkar-e-Toiba Founder Hafiz Saeed (BTW, he's related to three Massachusetts imams): "LAHORE: Jamatud Dawa chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed has stressed that a joint Indo-Pak investigation should be held into the firebombing of the Samjhota Express, which killed 68 people. According to a press release on Tuesday, Saeed said the 'murder of 67 Muslims is a target killing'. He said the incident was part of 'a plot to massacre Muslims', and the Indian authorities were 'intentionally hiding facts about the carnage'."