New Delhi: A special NIA court in Haryana’s Panchkula on Monday fixed the date for next hearing in the 2007 Samjhauta blast case to be March 20.

On March 11, the court reserved its verdict in the case for March 14. The verdict was deferred after a Pakistani woman approached the court and filed a petition, saying that she had new evidence in the case. Earlier, the court had reserved its order for March 11.

On February 18, 2007, a blast in the Samjhauta Express that connects India and Pakistan killed 68 people, mostly Pakistan national. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) in its chargesheet said that the explosion targeted Pakistani Muslims.

The incident happened at Diwani village near the industrial town of Panipat, 160 kilometres from here, in Haryana, when it was heading towards Attari, the last station on the Indian side.

The NIA in its chargesheet said the blast was carried out using IEDs and inflammable substances, which caused a fire in two coaches of the train in Haryana on the night of February 18, 2007. Two unexploded suitcase bombs were also found in other compartments of the train.
Aseemanand, a member of the right-wing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat, was alleged to be involved in the bombing. He is currently out on bail.

Sunil Joshi, the alleged mastermind, was found dead in 2007, in Madhya Pradesh’s Dewas, while Ramchandra Kalasangra alias Ramji could not be traced. Lokesh Sharma, Sunil Joshi, Sandeep Dange and Ramchandra Kalasangra are named in the chargesheet.

The Samjhauta Express, named after the Hindi word for “agreement”, comprises six sleeper coaches and an AC 3-tier coach. The train service was started on July 22, 1976, under the Shimla Agreement that settled the 1971 war between the two nations.