“My brother suffered for the past 10 years. Our family suffered for the past 10 years. Who is responsible for that? Who will pay for the pain we and my brother went through,” Susanta Sarkar (44), brother of Aseemanand, told The Indian Express over the phone.
Aseemanand, the prime accused in the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast case, and three others were acquitted by a special NIA court on Wednesday. The blast had left 68 people dead.
“I got a call around 5.30 pm and got the good news. We are so happy. Our mother is so happy. We always believed that he was innocent and was framed. Today, truth has prevailed,” said Susanta, who lives with his mother, wife and son at their home at Kamarpukur in West Bengal’s Hooghly district.
“I prayed every day for him. Today God has answered my prayers and truth has prevailed,” said Aseemanand’s 90-year-old mother Promila Sarkar.
Aseemanand, originally known as Naba Kumar Sarkar, is the second of seven brothers.
Susanta, who is the BJP district secretary, said, “There was a conspiracy against him. Some people are responsible. Congress is responsible. They did this to him. It was the Congress government which did this to him.”
Speaking about Aseemanand, Susanta said, “Since youth, he was inclined towards religion and our culture. He passed out of Kamarpukur College and then Burdwan University. He then left home and worked for tribals in various parts of India. How can someone be targeted and arrested for saving our culture? You can visit areas where he worked. They respect him as God. He worked against forced conversions of tribals. We are so proud of him. He paid the price for trying to save our culture and heritage.”
A postgraduate in Botany, Aseemanand started working for the tribals in Bengal in 1977. He also worked with the RSS-affiliated Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Andaman islands.
He last visited Hooghly in 2016 after his mother fell ill. The family is in touch with him over the phone.