NEW DELHI – Two people who allegedly sold the suitcases used to make bombs that ignited deadly fires on a train linking India and Pakistan have been arrested, police said Wednesday, announcing the first arrests in the attack that killed 68 people.
The men were picked up Tuesday in the central Indian city of Indore, where authorities believe the bombers bought suitcases that were stuffed with explosives and petrol, said R.C. Mishra, a senior police official.
The bombs were set off on Feb. 18 aboard the train, which runs from New Delhi to Lahore, Pakistan.
Asked if the men sold the suitcases knowing they would be used for makeshift bombs, Mishra said only that police were questioning them to see if they are linked to the actual bombers.
"They sold the suitcases and even got their covers stitched locally. But they aren't forthcoming who carried out the attack," Mishra told The Associated Press. "We are questioning them."
Investigators believe suitcases bombs were used to start fires in two cars of the Samjhauta Express because they found similar devices in a third car. It's believed the bombs in the third car did not detonate because their timers were not properly synchronized.
In the days after the attack, police released the sketches of two other suspects who boarded the train when it left New Delhi, but were allowed to jump off when the train slowed down about 15 minutes before the bombs went off.
The India-Pakistan train link was suspended after a 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament that New Delhi blamed on Islamabad and that nearly led to a war between the two countries.
But relations between the nuclear-armed neighbors have improved, and the train service — restarted in 2004 — is one of the most visible results.