An Indian court on Wednesday acquitted four men accused of involvement in the 2007 bombing of a train between Pakistan and India that killed 68 people.
The judge for the court, located in the state where the 2007 attack occurred, dismissed a Pakistani woman’s plea to admit eyewitness accounts from her country. The court then ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prove a conspiracy. Three other men charged with involvement with the attack were not tried, and one other suspect was killed in 2007.
One of the men acquitted, Swami Aseemanand, is a former member of Indian far-right nationalist organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. He was jailed in 2010 after admitting his involvement in the attack but later said that he had been tortured into giving a false statement.
Views on the acquittal are split in India’s press, with some viewing it as a victory granted to Hindu “saffron” extremists and others claiming that the acquittal proves that the “theory” of right-wing saffron extremism is a false one. India has seen a rise in religious-based hate crimes, mostly against Muslims, with 90 percent of such crimes in the past decade occurring since the swearing-in of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014.
The ruling comes after weeks of escalated tensions between India and Pakistan following a suicide car bombing in Kashmir which killed 40 Indian paramilitary police.