In further relief to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, the National Investigation Agencyhas given her a clean chit in the Ajmer Dargah blasts case. The NIA also cleared Rashtriya Swajamsevak Sangh leader Indresh Kumar in the case.
Swami Assemanand is at it once again and this time around he has named RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat. The accused in the Samjautha Express, Mecca Masjid and Ajmer blasts has alleged that it was Bhagwat who sanctioned these strikes.
The National Investigation Agency which is seized off all these cases is however treading cautiously on the issue. Aseemanand is known to backtrack on his statements and has done so once in the past as well which left the NIA red faced before the court. NIA sources tell rediff.com that they will wait and watch and would not want to jump to any conclusions since these are statements given before a magazine. Not once in our entire questioning of the man has he ever named Mohan Bhagwat and hence there is no reason for us to act suo motu on the case. We will instead wait for a court order and only then act, the NIA official also pointed out.
The dragging of Indresh Kumar’s name into the Malegaon blasts case had threatened to shake the RSS up. However today the National Investigation Agency has with it a testimony which clearly states that the RSS was never in favour of carrying out bomb blasts.
According to the NIA investigation, Indresh Kumar had met with Sunil Joshi in Jaipur a few months before the Malegaon 2006 blasts. During that meeting, Joshi had told Kumar about the plan to carry out an attack in Malegaon. However Kumar is said to have told Joshi that neither he nor the Sangh would approve of this act and there shall be no support for an act of terror. The NIA has this testimony from an RSS pracharak who was part of this meeting between Joshi, Sadhvi Pragya Singh and Kumar at Jaipur.
The remark by Home Minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde on terrorism and training camps run by the RSS has created a furore across the nation. It has even given the likes of Hafiz Saeed, top man of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba some ammunition to bash India.
The question is what prompted Shinde to issue such a statement linking the RSS to terrorism by some Hindu fundamentalists and if the investigators have been able to ascertain the direct role of the RSS in the various attacks that rocked the nation in the past couple of years.
The concluding part of the interview with Subhash Gatade, author of the book, Godse’s Children-Hindutva terror in India.
If you have noticed all these incidents, the first information that always trickles in blames either the SIMI or the IM. Only a few years later does the other angle to it come out. Why do you think this is the case?
I have discussed many related aspect to your present query in your question ‘Why has it taken so long for the police to crack down on this phenomenon called Hindu terror?’ and also regarding ‘role of security agencies as well’.
I would like to add only two points. It is high time that one seriously looks into the composition of security and investigating agencies and ensure that it is made more diverse, more representative of our multireligious, multiethnic, multilingual country, to avoid any unnecessary spins to investigations.
We should also be wary of the majoritarian mindset which dominates what is known as civil society of our country. Can we imagine any country in the world which calls itself biggest democracy and where genocides/carnages are easily forgotten and the chattering classes are ready to turn a new leaf. Look at Nellie massacre (1983), Antisikh riots (1984), Hashimpura (1986) or killings of innocents in the aftermath of Babri Mosque demolition (1992-93) or Gujarat carnage (2002). You will find to your dismay that ‘peace’ has been definitely restored but justice still eludes the victims.
The death of Sunil Joshi has remained a mystery. What is your reading of this incident and who do you think murdered him and why?
A close look at Sunil Joshi’s political journey makes it clear that he was one of the ‘pioneers’ of the terror turn in Hindutva politics. He alongwith his close group ( which are still absconding) was found to be involved in bombing temples in Mhow and adjoining regions in Malwa, M.P. and blaming it on Muslims, to precipitate riots from late 90s only. He was the key person in planting bombs in Bhopal (2002 and 2003) as well as Ajmer and Meccas Masjid. If one believes fellow Pracharak Terrorist Assemanand’s confession, he had only arranged ‘manpower’ for the Samjhauta blast.
The fact is that after a period when police pressure started mounting up as he was the key player, he planned to surrender, which was not liked by the masterminds of this terror project. They perceived the threat to their whole gameplan in his surrender and it was decided to finish him. As facts stand today, only his close colleagues have been chargesheeted in the media.
It is high time that NIA also digs up into the case to unearth who else in the establishment facilitated ‘silent burial’ of this case earlier despite the fact that the state was ruled by BJP all these years.
You say that the RSS has promoted the culture of violence. Do you squarely blame the organisation for the emergence of Hindutva terror?
It is not my discovery that RSS has promoted a culture of violence.
Look at many reports of commissions which looked into riots in different parts of the country after independence and you will find what has been said about it. In fact, after assasination of Mahatma Gandhi, by Nathuram Godse, this is what the Government of India communiqué issued on February 4, 1948 said which announced the ban on RSS :
…Government have, however, noticed with regret that in practice members of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh have not adhered to their professed ideals.
Undesirable and even dangerous activities have been carried on by the members of the Sangh. It has been found that in several parts of the country individual members of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh have indulged in acts of violence involving arson, robbery, dacoity and murder and have collected illicit arms and ammunitions. They have been found circulating leaflets, exhorting people to resort to terrorist methods, to collect firearms, to create disaffection against the government and suborn the police and military.
Coming to its ‘own role in the emergence of Hindutva terror’ is concerned, as I explained earlier, the investigating agencies, security agencies will have to give a categorical answer to it. Only they will be able to tell whether the likes of Devender Gupta and many of their ilk, who are at present cooling their heels behind bars for their alleged involvement in different terror acts, were acting on their own, as what one analyst calls as ‘rogue elements’ in the highly hierarchial organisation or they were instructed to do so by the top bosses.
At this juncture one should also underline that incidents of Hindutva terror have also involved activists of many other fanatic organisations also. Look at the manner in which activists of Sanatan Sanstha, Hindu Janjagruti Samity were found to be involved in terror acts in Thane, Panvel (2008) or Madgaon or Sancole (2009) and how chargesheets have been filed against them. Only few days back their was even a raid on Sanatan Sanstha’s headoffice near Panaji.
We have also been witness to groups like Arya Sena in Western UP which had organised attacks on mosques and Madarsas. (NDTV, 7 june 2002)
Do you think Indresh Kumar managed to get away?
As of now, it does appear that Indresh Kumar has managed to get away.
It need be reminded here that last year when investigations in Ajmer bomb blast, Mecca Masjid bomb blast and Samjhauta Express blast were on, there were reports in a section of the press (Mailtoday) how ‘Gehlot would do a Togadia to Indresh’ referring to Ashok Gehlot’s earlier stint at power in Rajasthan, when he had managed to apprehend Praveen Togadia, for his role in Trishul Distribution ceremony.
But as things stand today, it appears that Congress despite its formal committment to reach the masterminds of Hindutva terror, has decided otherwise.
The Hindu radicals claim that it is the inaction of the government against Islamic terror which has led them to carry out such incidents. Do you agree that this is the only theory or is there some larger goal involved?
Let me make few things clear at the outset. Every fanatic has to provide a rationale for her/his heinous act. If the Lashkar people promise a young recruit that his act would bring him closer to god, for a Hindutva radical any such act would bring their ’cause celibre’ namely Hindu Rashtra closer. But by merely parroting the need for Hindu Rashtra, it is not possible for people to prepare them to kill ‘others’. A Hindutva radical finds it convenient to package his murderous game in the ‘action-reaction’ play where you kill the other as he is ready to kill you and the government is looking the other way.
There is no doubt that this action-reaction theory has many takers in our country. One even finds that many liberal looking people also subscribe to this theory. I find it completely bogus and mischievous as well. As I discussed earlier the international ambience in the aftermath of 9/11 has definitely helped such violent acts.
It is high time that peace and justice loving people in this part of the world get ready to understand how terrrorism of every hue presents a menace to democracy and are ready to fight the fake demons sitting in the minds of the people.
The name of RSS leader Indresh Kumar has often made the rounds in the past couple of months in connection with various acts of terror which the country has witnessed. Barring a few instances of some of the accused taking his name, the investigating agencies have not yet managed to get anything concrete against him as of now.
However what both the NIA and the CBI are looking into now is the statement allegedly made by Colonel Srikanth Purohith in which he said that he wanted to kill Indresh Kumar and a plot to attain the same had also been hatched.
Although these revealations are not directly connected to the ongoing investigations into the Malegaon, Mecca Masjid, Ajmer or Samjautha blasts case, investigating agencies are keen to find out more since it indicates that there was a clear split in this network.
What is more important in this angle to the investigation is that Purohith also goes on to claim that Kumar had alleged links to the ISI. Sources say that this allegation forms part of an intelligence report from the military and they will need to probe further on it since if it is true then it is a very disturbing development.
Sources told rediff.com that there was constant confrontation between Indresh Kumar and Purohith of the Abhinav Bharath and the the latter had hatched a plan to eliminate him. While Purohith claims that it was a total conflict of interest that made him hatch such a plan, officials point out that this conspiracy could have been hatched since Purohith and the rest felt betrayed that Kumar didn’t do much to protect them as had been allegedly promised.
The first of the problems between the two began during the Nepal issue. Purohith had been very vocal that there should not be a regime change in Nepal since he felt that under the King, it was a complete Hindu Rashtra. However according to him, Kumar didn’t do too much to ensure that the King’s rule remained and there was not the required amount of tinkering in that administration which eventually led to the king being dethroned.
Further there is also an allegation that Kumar may have had a vested interest in Nepal since he had some personal business which in turn has upset Purohith as he felt that at no cost a Hindu rashtra should be compromised due to vested interests.
Going by the interrogation of Purohith it comes to light that he was a hardliner. He had no other interest but to counter the ISI which he felt had become a big menace for India. All through his interrogation he has stuck to this fact. He also goes on to say that he was focused on attaining a Hindu nation and for this all ISI elements had to be eliminated. It was in this regard that he launched the Abhinav Bharath. He roped in cadres and also businessmen from Pune to fund his operations, his interrogation has also revealed. He also branched out his outfit to do separate jobs such as finances, arms supply and logistics. He was however particular that people like Kumar should not remain in this network since he had felt betrayed and cheated by him.
The ATS Maharashtra which has been probing Purohith have found certain versions regarding this conspiracy to be contradictory in nature. One version that they initially got from Purohith was that he was asked to kill Kumar. However one of the financiers of the outfit, Shyam Apte claimed that it was purohith who launched this plan. HOwever the investigations so far have shown that he had first complained to the army regarding Kumar and his links across the border, but they were never taken seriously and hence he decided to do this by himself.
During the planning stages he also tried to rope in Sadhwi Pragya Singh into this conspiracy, but she had refused since she had high regard for Kumar. Purohith is alleged to have told Pragya Singh about this plan and had also sent two persons to her and asked her to accommodate them until they needed to go ahead with the plan. However she had flatly refused to be part of this operation and there is a lurking doubt that she may have also informed Kumar about this plan.
As per investigations it has been found that this plan was hatched in the year 2008 in New Delhi. He had gone to an ashram in Faridabad along with a retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sameer and Bharath to carry out this assassination. Over there he met with Dayanand Pandey a god man and here it was decided that they would need to procure arms and ammunitions to carry out this attack on Indresh Kumar.
Ganesh Sovani, advocate for Pragya Singh however said that these aspects have not come up for probe since they do not find any mention in the reports handed out by the investigating agencies.
The plan to eliminate Kumar however did not materialize since Purohith was arrested and the entire operation fell flat.