Swami, Sangh and Terror Links
By: Ram Puniyani
Investigating acts of terrorism have multiple complex issues as things are mired in secrecy. To add to the problem is the mindset of investigating authorities and those in power. The acts of terror, which have been inflicted on the country, have been mainly attributed to the “Jehadi Terror” and mostly the theory which has been guiding the police authorities has been to work on this understanding. The result has been; immediately after the attacks of terror the investigating authorities, right from day one, have been naming some Muslim groups, situated across the border, the infamous word of ‘cross border terrorism’ became a sort of buzz word. The link of those from across the border were easy enough to be sewed up with the local Muslim youth and according to the police some Muslims have been caught, arrested, ‘they have confessed’ to their crime, and the puzzle is solved, has been the oft repeated line from last few years.
Contrary to the common sense even when the terror attack took place in Muslim majority area, at times when Muslims congregate at particular times, the police very ‘competently’ would go in to arrest few Muslim youth and start building up their case implicating them in the act of terror. Those in political power, even in non-BJP states, and at center kept quietly approving this biased investigation and any doubts raised by social activists, victims of the police arrests were brushed aside.
The first major crack in this pattern occurred when in the aftermath of Malegaon blast, Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare meticulously showed the connection of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and many others from the Hindutva combine, associated with one or the other offshoot of RSS or inspired by the RSS ideology of Hindu nation, trained in the communal ideology of looking at people through the prism of their religion, and religion alone. Karkare’s efforts brought out enough skeletons from the cupboard of Hindutva stable and somewhere the stubborn police and the political authorities also started looking the other way leading to the plethora of organizations, broadly known as Sangh parivar. It is also a matter of great concern that same Hemant Karkare started being abused by Hindutva elements, intimidation and threat to his life began.
Incidentally Karkare was killed on the fateful night of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
Karkar’s efforts did initiate a process of bringing the terror investigation on proper track. There were many a top RSS functionaries like Indresh Kumar, many an associates, the major one being Swami Aseemanand of VHP, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram who started being investigated. Swami Aseemanand was known for his work in Adivasi areas in Dangs, where he whipped up the anti-Christian hysteria leading to anti Christian violence in the district. Same Aseemanand went on to organize a Shabri Kumbh in the area, for this Kumbh intimidation of Adivasis was in the air, they were terrorized to attend Kumbh and some were subjected to ‘Ghar Vapasi’, (return home, conversion to Hinduism). The highlight of the Kumbh was that the top RSS and associates leadership attended it along with the Swami. This Kumbh was also a sign of times, the part of anti Minority agenda of the Sangh.
Swami Aseemanand is in news again for having confessed to the metropolitan magistrate on 18th December 2010 about his and his colleague’s involvement in the acts of terror. As per him while the Jihad attack on Akshardham temple in 2002 created the feeling of revenge, this got crystallsed after the terrorist attack on Sankat mochan temple in Varanasi in 2006. After this tragic incident the Swami contacted the others from associated organizations and in a well planned move organized the terror attacks. Swami stated “We held a meeting at the Valsad residence of Bharat Bhai (Bharat Riteshwar) in June 2006. We planned to carry out blasts at places of worship for Muslims. Sandeep Dange, Bharat Bhai, Sadhvi Pragya, Sunil Joshi, Lokesh Sharma (arrested for Ajmer dargah blast), Ramji Kalsangra and one Amit attended the meeting. We decided to bomb Malegaon, Ajmer dargah, Mecca Masjid and the Samjhauta Express train. Joshi took the responsibility of doing a reconnaissance of all these place.” (Times of India, 13 Jan 2011)
Now the detailed police investigation showed the involvement of Hindutva combine from Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur (ex- ABVP activist), Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit, and Ret. Major. Upadhyay (was chief of BJPs ex-serviceman’s cell In Mumbai),, Swami Dayanand Pandey (RSS connection, mentor of Abhinav Bharat), Indresh Kumar (Member of RSS National executive) Sunil Joshi (RSS Prachark(later killed), Devender Gupta (RSS pracharak with Abhinav Bharat), Ramchndra Kalsangra and Sandeep Pandey and many others.
The confessions of swami have made many a points very clear. The first is that, right from the Nanded blast which took place in the house of RSS worker Rajkondawar, in which two Bajrang Dal workers died, the social activist raised the issue of involvement of Hindutva elements. On Nanded issue, a citizens committee also investigated the blast and raised serious issues related to the direction of investigation. Later in most of the blasts in Pabhani, Beed, Jalna another places in Maharashtra same pattern was observed. Social activists kept drawing the attention of Government and media, but their voices remained unheard for a long time. In addition to the attitude of police, the political leadership, even in non BJP states and at Center refused to take cognizance of the pattern of the blasts and the glaring fallacies in the line of investigation.
Large section of media kept quiet and underplayed the involvement of Hindutva elements. While most of the incidents did find the front page banner headlines about the involvement of Muslims, so called Jihadi groups, the voices of victims challenging the police version, and the findings of social activists were hardly any news, tucked in the back pages, presented in a subdued manner, if at all. During the whole process a large section of Muslim youth were tortured and many of them had to give up their education and professional carriers due to the line of investigation and the treatment from the state which was meted out to them.
On the top of this whole process the social thinking was cultivated to believe in the theory of ‘All Terrorists are Muslims’. Even today many a Muslim youth are behind the bars for the acts of terror, which as per Swami’s confession were planned and executed by Hindutva elements. Will Government take urgent steps to set right the ongoing injustice to the innocent youth who have been implicated due to the non professional and biased conduct of the state? The demand for their release and suitable compensation being given to them has to be taken up by the government in the right earnest.
What is to be done with the fountainhead of this ideology of Hate, the organization to which most of the groups owe allegiance, to which some of these are directly associated. the RSS? Many of those involved have been directly associated with RSS, others indirectly and RSS can very conveniently say that it has nothing to do with them. For RSS disowning any of its activists is a very easy job. It is not legally responsible for the associated organizations, as they are autonomous on paper. Those who have been directly a part of RSS have been expelled and disowned. RSS chief has said that RSS has no place for those indulging in violence. Legally RSS cannot be and should not be taken to task as RSS has kept its structure so fluid that it can get all the violence done, while keeping its shirt clean from the blood stains.
The demand for banning RSS has no meaning. It was banned in the wake of Gandhi murder, during the emergency and after the demolition of Babri Masjid. Banning organizations does not help. The point is to take up the battle at ideological plane, at social and political level. And that is a challenging task as RSS has been consistently spreading its ideology through various conduits and lately school books and large section of media has been the major vehicle of spread of its ideology. Its ideology is being given the religious veneer by the ilk of Swami Aseemanand, Laxmananand and other saints who are using the language of religion to propagate their political ideology and agenda.
All those who stand for a democratic society with the concept of Human rights need to come together and take multiple programs to combat the religion based nationalism, and politics laced in the language of religion, which is the major cause of the terrorism, as practiced by the likes of Osama bin laden or Swami Aseemanand.