HINDU TERROR The Mirror Explodes

7 Aug
Dargah Shareef of Khwaza Moinuddin Chishti Ajm...

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Unfinished stories, goes an old idiom in Ajmer, find their denouement in Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti’s shrine. Perhaps, unfinished investigations do too. Two-and-a-half years after low-intensity blasts ripped apart the courtyard of the centuries-old shrine, the Rajasthan police arrested three men—Devendra Gupta, Vishnu Prasad and Chandrashekhar Patidar. Gupta, an RSS worker, was suspected to have bought the mobile phone and SIM card that triggered off the October 2007 blast in which three were killed. Till their arrest on April 30 this year, the story narrated by the investigators, lapped up by the establishment and reiterated in large sections of the media was that the Ajmer blast was the handiwork of jehadi terrorists.

The one troubling question—would jehadis target Muslim devout at a dargah?—can have complicated answers, as the body count at Lahore’s Data Ganj Baksh would testify. But in India, the question wasn’t even deemed worthy of being asked as a reasonable line of inquiry. The needle of suspicion remained firmly and automatically fixed on Islamic terrorists—young men from the community were detained at various stages of the investigation and interrogated at length—until the trail finally led to Gupta and pointed to radical Hindu nationalist groups instead. Says Rajasthan Anti-Terrorist Squad chief Kapil Garg: “We have arrested some people of that religion (Hinduism) and we’re dead sure we’re on the right track.”

Malegaon Blasts-I
September 8, 2006
37 dead

 

  • Initial arrests: Arrested include Salman Farsi, Farooq Iqbal Makhdoomi, Raees Ahmed, Noorul Huda Samsudoha and Shabbir Batterywala.
  • Later revelation: Suspicion now rests on Hindu terrorists because of the 2008 blasts.

 

Samjhauta Express Blasts
February 18, 2007
68 dead, mostly Pakistanis

 

  • Initial suspicion: LeT and JeM were blamed. Those arrested included Pakistani national Azmat Ali.
  • Later revelation: Police have seen the evidence trail lead to right-wing Hindu activists. Investigators claim the triggering mechanism for the Mecca masjid blast three months later was similar to the one used here. Police are looking for RSS pracharaks Sandeep Dange and Ramji.

Mecca Masjid Blast
May 18, 2007
14 dead

  • Initial arrests: Around 80 Muslims detained for questioning and 25 arrested. Several have now been acquitted, including Ibrahim Junaid, Shoaib Jagirdar, Imran Khan and Mohammed Adul Kaleem.
  • Later revelation: In June 2010 the CBI announced a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh for information on the two accused, Sandeep Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra. Lokesh Sharma arrested.

Ajmer Sharif Blast
October 11, 2007
3 dead

  • Initial arrests: HuJI, LeT blamed. Those arrested include  Abdul Hafiz Shamim, Khushibur Rahman, Imran Ali.
  • Later revelation: In 2010, Rajasthan ATS arrests Devendra Gupta, Chandrashekhar and Vishnu Prasad Patidar. Accused Sunil Joshi, who was killed weeks before the blast, is believed to have been a key planner.

Thane Cinema Blast
June 4, 2008

  • Affiliated to Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and Sanathan Sanstha,  Ramesh Hanumant Gadkari and Mangesh Dinkar Nikam arrested. Blast planned to oppose the screening of Jodhaa Akbar.

Kanpur And Nanded Bomb Mishaps
August 2008

  • Two members of Bajrang Dal—Rajiv Mishra and Bhupinder Singh—were killed while assembling bombs in Kanpur. In April 2006, N. Rajkondwar and H. Panse from the same outfit died under similar circumstances in a bomb-making workshop in Nanded.

Malegaon Blasts II
September 29, 2008
7 dead

  • Initial suspicion: Groups like Indian Mujahideen involved
  • Later revelation: Abhinav Bharat and Rashtriya Jagaran Manch accused of involvement. Arrested include Pragya Singh Thakur, Lt Col Srikant Purohit and Swami Amritanand Dev Tirth, also known as Dayanand Pandey.

Goa Blasts
October 16, 2009

  • 2 dead Both accused are members of the Sanathan Sanstha. Malgonda Patil and Yogesh Naik were riding a scooter laden with explosives, which accidentally went off.

Terror trails in India dramatically changed with the Malegaon blasts investigation in September-October 2008. Led by then Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare, who was subsequently killed on the night of 26/11, the investigation pointed to Abhinav Bharat (AB), an ultra-right-wing Pune-based organisation established in 2005-06, and its members or affiliates. What Karkare’s teams managed to uncover is part of recent history and should have become the basis of examining and monitoring the new phenomenon of Hindutva terror but didn’t.

The Hindutva links to Mecca Masjid, Ajmer and other low-intensity blasts have been in the public domain for close to two years; the signs were visible since 2002-03 when an ied found at the Bhopal railway station was traced back to local Hindutva activists Ramnarayan Kalsangra and Sunil Joshi. They were questioned, but no evidence was found. Yet, it prompted Congress leader Digvijay Singh to declare a Bajrang Dal hand. Later in 2006, there were explosions in the houses of Hindutva activists in Nanded and Kanpur, where ieds were being prepared. Through that year, mosques in several towns in Maharashtra—Purna, Parbhani, Jalna—were rocked by low-intensity blasts; the Nanded one was meant for a mosque in Aurangabad. Recovered with a map of Aurangabad were false beards and Muslim male outfits. That should have been warning enough.

However, till May-June this year, the establishment did not either see these warning signals or chose to ignore them—except for a brief two-month period in 2008 when Karkare led the Malegaon probe. Now, it may be difficult to sustain the denial. “For the last 10 years, stories about Hindu right-wing violence have been trickling out. Instead of a systematic investigation, there has been an event-to-event investigation. The larger story has remained underinvestigated and under-reported,” says Mumbai advocate and human rights campaigner Mihir Desai. The CBI is only now seeking directions from the Union home ministry to see the Ajmer, Mecca Masjid, Malegaon and other blasts in conjunction after there has been no conclusive evidence of the involvement of Islamic groups.

The Hindutva links to Mecca Masjid, Ajmer and other low-intensity blasts have been in the public domain for close to two years; the signs were visible since 2002-03 when an ied found at the Bhopal railway station was traced back to local Hindutva activists Ramnarayan Kalsangra and Sunil Joshi. They were questioned, but no evidence was found. Yet, it prompted Congress leader Digvijay Singh to declare a Bajrang Dal hand. Later in 2006, there were explosions in the houses of Hindutva activists in Nanded and Kanpur, where ieds were being prepared. Through that year, mosques in several towns in Maharashtra—Purna, Parbhani, Jalna—were rocked by low-intensity blasts; the Nanded one was meant for a mosque in Aurangabad. Recovered with a map of Aurangabad were false beards and Muslim male outfits. That should have been warning enough.

However, till May-June this year, the establishment did not either see these warning signals or chose to ignore them—except for a brief two-month period in 2008 when Karkare led the Malegaon probe. Now, it may be difficult to sustain the denial. “For the last 10 years, stories about Hindu right-wing violence have been trickling out. Instead of a systematic investigation, there has been an event-to-event investigation. The larger story has remained underinvestigated and under-reported,” says Mumbai advocate and human rights campaigner Mihir Desai. The CBI is only now seeking directions from the Union home ministry to see the Ajmer, Mecca Masjid, Malegaon and other blasts in conjunction after there has been no conclusive evidence of the involvement of Islamic groups.

The Hindutva links to Mecca Masjid, Ajmer and other low-intensity blasts have been in the public domain for close to two years; the signs were visible since 2002-03 when an ied found at the Bhopal railway station was traced back to local Hindutva activists Ramnarayan Kalsangra and Sunil Joshi. They were questioned, but no evidence was found. Yet, it prompted Congress leader Digvijay Singh to declare a Bajrang Dal hand. Later in 2006, there were explosions in the houses of Hindutva activists in Nanded and Kanpur, where ieds were being prepared. Through that year, mosques in several towns in Maharashtra—Purna, Parbhani, Jalna—were rocked by low-intensity blasts; the Nanded one was meant for a mosque in Aurangabad. Recovered with a map of Aurangabad were false beards and Muslim male outfits. That should have been warning enough.

However, till May-June this year, the establishment did not either see these warning signals or chose to ignore them—except for a brief two-month period in 2008 when Karkare led the Malegaon probe. Now, it may be difficult to sustain the denial. “For the last 10 years, stories about Hindu right-wing violence have been trickling out. Instead of a systematic investigation, there has been an event-to-event investigation. The larger story has remained underinvestigated and under-reported,” says Mumbai advocate and human rights campaigner Mihir Desai. The CBI is only now seeking directions from the Union home ministry to see the Ajmer, Mecca Masjid, Malegaon and other blasts in conjunction after there has been no conclusive evidence of the involvement of Islamic groups.

The Hindutva links to Mecca Masjid, Ajmer and other low-intensity blasts have been in the public domain for close to two years; the signs were visible since 2002-03 when an ied found at the Bhopal railway station was traced back to local Hindutva activists Ramnarayan Kalsangra and Sunil Joshi. They were questioned, but no evidence was found. Yet, it prompted Congress leader Digvijay Singh to declare a Bajrang Dal hand. Later in 2006, there were explosions in the houses of Hindutva activists in Nanded and Kanpur, where ieds were being prepared. Through that year, mosques in several towns in Maharashtra—Purna, Parbhani, Jalna—were rocked by low-intensity blasts; the Nanded one was meant for a mosque in Aurangabad. Recovered with a map of Aurangabad were false beards and Muslim male outfits. That should have been warning enough.

However, till May-June this year, the establishment did not either see these warning signals or chose to ignore them—except for a brief two-month period in 2008 when Karkare led the Malegaon probe. Now, it may be difficult to sustain the denial. “For the last 10 years, stories about Hindu right-wing violence have been trickling out. Instead of a systematic investigation, there has been an event-to-event investigation. The larger story has remained underinvestigated and under-reported,” says Mumbai advocate and human rights campaigner Mihir Desai. The CBI is only now seeking directions from the Union home ministry to see the Ajmer, Mecca Masjid, Malegaon and other blasts in conjunction after there has been no conclusive evidence of the involvement of Islamic groups.

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