Suspect No 1: LET and Jaish and any splinter Jihadi groups that enjoy sensual backrubs from the Pakistani administration and an occasional encouraging slap on the butt from the kind General.
Why? Long record of leaving bombs carelessly in public places. And the LET-Jaish combo will not be entirely displeased that since it is mostly Pakistanis who have died in an Indian train, it has left India in an embarrassing diplomatic position, forced to defend itself against charges of complicity, incompetence and cover-up.
Why not? The LET and Jaish said they did not do it. But since they have been saying that they do not kill innocents for quite some time now and because these assertions of theirs have frequently proven to have been less than factual, we may take their protestations of innocence with a wee-bit of salt.
Suspect No 2: Hindu extremists
Why? Because most of the victims were Pakistanis. And low-grade explosives do not need an extensive terrorist network, backed by a certain government’s treasure-chest, to assemble. And the death of innocents, as long as they belong from the “wrong” religion/country, do not especially sadden them.
Why not? Not part of their traditional psychotic pattern. Violence, rape, loot and murder: yes. Train bombings: no. But there can always be a first time.
Suspect No 3: Raghavan Datta, a deranged ex-Indian army renegade commando who is on a personal (non-government backed) crusade to make sure that India and Pakistan never live peacefully. He has unleashed a reign of terror in India and Pakistan with Mission Milaap, an endeavour to bring the two countries together, being his prime target of hatred.
Why? President Musharaff has said that these attacks were caused by people who want to derail the peace process. He has said repeatedly that India and Pakistan are both targets of terrorism. Our Prime Minister had talked about having a mechanism for combating the joint threats posed to both India and Pakistan. And who poses these “joint threats”? Raghavan Datta.
For a man who has vowed to destroy Mission Milaap, what could be a bigger target than the Samjhauta Express?
Why not? Some people observe that terrorist incidents in Pakistan (not counting violent gang-warfare in Pakistani cities), as compared to those in India, are so few in number that it may be slightly stretching the truth to say that terrorism is a threat, to the same extent, for both the countries. Sure there are some terrorist incidents in Pakistan also but they are mostly caused by India-hating Jihadis, who despite all the mollycoddling they get from the Pakistani authorities, still feel that the General is not doing enough to bring about the decimation of India. Some people argue that where it is evidently clear that it is one side promoting terrorism (and getting scorched by some friendly fire in the process) in the land of the other, blaming Raghavan Datta is a bit rough on the poor guy at the best and at the worst, a slightly disingenuous way of deflecting blame from the guilty parties by spreading the blame all over.
Incidentally, Raghavan Datta does not exist—being merely a character played with wooden aplomb by Suniel Shetty in “Main Hoon Na” (2004).