Monday, May 14, 2012

Communal Politics in India - Part 1

The assembly elections have been declared in Maharashtra, and with this the atmosphere is heating up politically. In this state there have been substantial number of farmer’s suicides, all over there are serious issues related to rising prices, unemployment and other problems of daily life. But it seems that some political parties in Maharashtra are not much concerned about these core issues of society and seem to be more interested in the identity issues emerging from the past. Recently (September 3rd, 2009) tension developed in Miraj, Sangli and neighboring areas during Ganesh festival. This is the major festival of the state. During the festival trouble began with the erection of an arch on the route of Ganesh Visarjan, this arch depicted the slaying of Afzal Khan by Shivaji. Anticipating trouble due to the communal polarization around Shivaji and Afzal Khan, to maintain peace, the police removed the arch. Protesting against this removal of the arch some Ganesh Mandals decided not to immerse the Ganpati idols till the arch was restored. This is what led to the violence in due course, in which one person died and five got injured. BJP leadership condemned the Governments’ step of removing the arch. Shiv Sena leader asserted that they will put posters of Shivaji slaying Afzal Khan all over the state and stated that had Shivaji been not there all of us would have been reading Namaz! The state administration did control the situation but since by now lot of emotive appeal has been generated around Shivaji it was an easy job. Few years ago during the previous Parliamentary elections, the same parties had tried to organize the procession to demolish the tomb of Afzal Khan. Fortunately at that time it was brought to people’s notice that this tomb was built by Shivaji himself and the matters came to a rest, but not before it created lot of bad blood. The matters related to Shivaji are very sensitive in Maharashtra, the state administration has even planned to construct the statue of Shivaji in the Arabain sea, costing thousands of crores, from public exchequer, at the cost other public necessities. As a matter of fact, Shivaji is popular amongst people, not because he was anti Muslim or worshipper of Cows and Brahmins, but because he reduced the taxation on the poor peasants. Shivaji adopted humane policy in all the aspects of his administration, which did not base itself on the religion. In the recruitment of his soldiers and officers for army and navy, religion was no criterion and more than one third of his army consisted of Muslims. The supreme command of his navy was with Siddi Sambal, and Muslim Siddis were in navy in large numbers. Interestingly his major battles were fought against the Rajput army lead by Raja Jaisingh, who was in the administration of Aurangzeb. When Shivaji was detained at Agra forte, of the two men on whom he relied for his eventual escape, one was a Muslim called Madari Mehtar. His confidential secretary was Maulana Haider Ali and the chief of his cannon division was Ibrahim Gardi. Rustom-e-Jamaan was his bodyguard. His respect for other religions was very clear and he respected the holy seers like 'Hazarat Baba Yaqut bahut Thorwale', whom he gave the life pension and also he helped Father Ambrose, whose church was under attack in Gujarat. At his capital Raigad, he erected a special mosque for Muslim devotees in front of his palace in the same way that he built the Jagadishwar temple for his own daily worship. During his military campaigns Shivaji had issued strict instructions to his men and officers that Muslim women and children should not be subjected to maltreatment. Mosques and Dargah's were given due protection. He also ordered that whenever a copy of Koran came into the hands of his men, they should show proper respect to the book and hand it over to a Muslim. The story of his bowing to the daughter-in-law of Bassein's Nawab is well known to all. When she was brought as a part of the loot and offered to him, he respectfully begged her pardon and asked his soldiers to reach her back from the place from where she was forcibly brought in. Shivaji was in no way actuated by any hatred towards people of other religions. As a matter of fact he had great respect for holy people of all religions. All this goes on to show the values of communal harmony which Shivaji pursued, and that his primary goal was to establish his own kingdom with maximum possible geographical area. To project him as anti-Muslim and anti-Islam is travesty of truth. Neither was Afzal Khan an anti Hindu king. When Shivaji killed Afzal Khan, Afzal Khan’s secretary Krishnaji Bhasker Kulkarni attacked Shivaji with a sword. Today communal forces are out to ‘use’ Shivaji issue, to communalize the same for their political goals. In Maharashtra, Shivaji Afzal Khan have been projected as Hindu and Muslim kings. From amongst all the possible pictures of Shivaji, why is the one related to Afzal Khan is chosen? One can also show the pictures of his Pratapgadh fort with Afzal Khans tomb in that, one can show Shivaji paying respect to the Mazar of Madari Mehtar, a Muslim prince, who helped him to escape from Agra? The very selection of this picture is to divide the communities along religious lines. Communal interpretation of History, Communal historiography has been the major tool in the arsenal of communal forces. Minorities should not react to such things and try to call for peace with all the communities all the time. Now we are witnessing this pattern of history being used to communalize the society, to create sectarian divides in society. What is needed is to overcome these communal angles, to undermine identity issues, to build the Indian nation. We need to look at historical icons, as kings ruling for power, rather then the representatives of a particular religion. REFERENCE: Communalizing History: Shivaji And Afzal Khan By Ram Puniyani 30 September, 2009

Dr Ram Puniyani on Partition Tragedy

The Partition of India - Demographic Consequences

The interrogation of Narendra Modi by SIT, appointed by Supreme Court was a major landmark in the investigation of Gujarat carnage. Over a period of years the gradual erosion of democratic values has led the situation to a sorry pass where the Gujarat related cases had to be shifted out of Gujarat, and finally even Supreme Court had to step in, to take charge of investigation of the brutal killing of Congress MP Ahsan Jafri, who was brutally massacred by a mob. Jafri had made multiple calls, and the top police official Pandey had visited the place few hours before the tragedy took place. Congress was totally helpless as the total chain of command from local level to the central level was controlled by the BJP. Modi did try to create some more haloes around his head by appearing for being questioned. There were reports that he was to appear in front of SIT on 21st March, SIT Chief R K Raghavan stated on March 11 that Modi was summoned to appear before SIT for questioning on March 21. The SIT office was kept open the whole day but the chief minister did not turn up. Contrary to this fact Modi lashed out on the media and ‘vested interests’ saying they are trying to defame Gujarat (for Modi, Gujarat is Modi and Vice versa). Now those demanding the justice for the victims of Gujarat carnage are presented as vested interests. This statement of his was hardly challenged by anyone. SIT kept quiet about it and it sounded as if he carried the day. Truth is the contrary, the SIT office was kept open for him. And who has vested interests in Gujarat, those using religion to come to power or those human rights activists who are struggling for the rights of minorities which are being reduced to second class citizenship? Modi presented himself to SIT in grand style and this was pronounced as a political victory for him. It was claimed that the faith of BJP workers went up in his leadership. Now what does one say to this? Does fulfilling a legal obligation tantamount to political victory? This formulation was deliberately floated to hide the ignominy of a Chief Minister having to appear before an investigating agency for the first time in India. A matter of shame projected as political victory! Only the followers of Gobbels can do it for sure. Whenever BJP is caught with blood on its hands or doing partiality or discrimination the first thing it does is to deflect the issue by citing other cases with some parallels. If one talks of rehabilitation for victims of communal violence, the rhetoric is what about Kashmiri Pundits? As if two wrongs make a right! The comparison of Gujarat carnage is immediately done with the anti Sikh pogrom of 1984. Of course there are lot of similarities between the anti Sikh pogrom and the anti Muslim Gujarat carnage, but there are many a differences also. By all accounts it seems the anti Sikh pogrom; equally tragic was a spontaneous one while Gujarat carnage in all probability was a preplanned one, using the train burning of Godhra as a pretext for the violence. The dead bodies of victims of train burning were deliberately paraded on the streets of Ahmedabad, under full glare of TV cameras, top level meetings were held instructing officers concerned to let the Hindus vent their anger and the rest is too well known to be recounted. Congress can never be exonerated from the cruel role it played in the anti Sikh pogrom. There is an interesting sidelight to the tragic pogrom also. What was BJP doing when the pogrom was underway? About this some inference can be drawn from the article by the then veteran RSS worker Nanaji Deshmukh. In his article in Hindi magazine Pratipaksh 'Moments of Soul searching', which was written in 1984, in the wake of Anti Sikh pogrom, Deshmukh blames the Sikh community for the murder of Indira Gandhi and advices Sikhs to keep patience and tolerance while they were being butchered. One can draw one’s own inference about the role of followers of this ideology. All said and done, Congress workers played pro active to passive role during this pogrom for three full days after which military took over and brought this insanity to a halt. Babu Bajrangi and others involved in the massacres in Gujarat told Tehelka, sting operation, that they had been given three days to complete the retaliation. But here the processes were so complex that the violence went on and on for a painfully long period. Tavleen Singh a senior journalist, points out that if Rajiv would have to face SIT, the Gujarat violence would not have taken place. There is some truth in that as by now the section of political groups have known the rewards of unleashing these murders, Rajiv came back to power with largest majority ever for Congress and Modi has returned to power twice after the carnage. As a matter of fact, culprits of most of the acts of communal violence have generally not been punished. The chain of command culpability is not there and while most of the perpetrators of communal violence get away with the crime, the top one’s who are really behind the violence are hardly touched as their culpability is not direct. A demand is coming up from a section of Sikh community that a similar SIT should be formed for the anti Sikh pogrom also. The demand has all the merit, despite the lapse of long years after the pogrom. While one does not hope BJP can keep aloof from communal politics, one hopes Congress gets over its crime of 1984 in an honest way. Congress, despite its serious fallacies, is not a child of organization like RSS, which is opposed to Indian Democracy and Constitution and wants a Hindu nation. Congress needs to get over such tendencies lurking within its massive umbrella, those who are there despite no faith in the values of freedom movement. This needs to be sorted out and Congress needs to come out clean from this murky past. Justice must be done to all irrespective of whose victims they had been. REFERENCE: BJP And Congress In The Dock For Communal Violence By Ram Puniyani 12 April, 2010
Role of RSS in Communal Politics of India - Part I

Genocide in Gujarat the Sangh Parivar Narendra Modi and the Government of Gujarat

Let the temple come up." This was the remark by Atal Behari Vajpayee when I asked for his reaction to the destruction of the Babri Masjid one day after the incident. I was surprised by his comment because I considered him a liberal force in the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). Yet, I did not attach much importance to his remark. Now that the one-man commission on the demolition, headed by Justice Manmohan Singh Liberhan, has named Vajpayee as one of the collaborators in the pulling down of the mosque, his remark falls into the slot. How could he have reacted differently when he was a party to the "meticulously planned" scheme to demolish the mosque? That L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, the other two BJP leaders, were co-conspirators was known on December 6, 1992, itself. The surprising name for me is that of Vajpayee. I would have been indulgent towards him if I had not seen a clip of his speech. A television network showed it on the day a Delhi paper had published the leaked report. Vajpayee said on December 5, one day before the demolition of the masjid, at Lucknow that the ground would be "levelled" and a yangya (religious celebration) held at that place. The commission has said that the destruction of the masjid was "preventable." Advani could have done it. But all of them, "pseudo-moderates" as the commission has described them, knew about what was happening and were "not innocent of wrongdoing." The indictment has exposed our polity because all the three came to occupy top positions in the country. Vajpayee became the prime minister, Advani the home minister and Joshi, the human resources development minister. If all the three were collaborators in the demolition of the Babri Masjid, they were dishonest in taking the oath of office which demanded that the oath taker would work for the country's unity and uphold the constitution, which mentions secularism in the preamble. The Liberhan Commission has said that they were among the 68 who were "culpable" in taking the country to the brink of "communal discord." Not only that. The three leaders acted against the Supreme Court's order "not to disturb the status quo." In other words, they made a mockery of the country's judiciary and the constitution to which they swore before assuming power. And they ruled for six years without a tug of conscience. The question is not only legal but also moral and political. How can the planned demolition be squared up with the holding of office by Vajpayee, Advani and Joshi? This is a matter that the nation must debate to find an answer, at least for the future. Those who have no clean hands should not be allowed to defile the temple of Parliament. And if they do so, what should be the punishment when facts come to light? True, the BJP came to power through the Lok Sabha election. Would the party have won so many seats if the commission had submitted its report before 1999, when the BJP led the coalition? It is unthinkable that the commission should say that the centre could not have interfered in the affairs of Uttar Pradesh until the state governor had asked it to do so. This is an alibi. My experience is that the governor adjusts his power to suit the convenience of whichever party is at the helm of affairs in New Delhi. The governor was bound to report according to the wishes of Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, whom he personally knew because both belonged to Andhra Pradesh. Even otherwise, the centre has an overall responsibility to protect the constitution. Rao could have easily acted before the demolition took place. The proclamation to impose president's rule was ready a fortnight earlier. It was awaiting the cabinet approval. The prime minister did not convene the meeting. This means his connivance, although in his book Rao mentions the pressure of his party men that did not allow him to react in time. When the demolition began, there were frantic calls to the Prime Minister's Office. He was said to be at puja (prayer) and continued to be at it till the demolition was over. What should one make out of this? Even if the Congress were to deny the allegation against Rao, the party should explain how a small temple was built overnight at the site where the Babri Masjid stood a few hours earlier. The centre was then in full control because UP had been put under president's rule after dismissal of the state government. In any case, the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute had transcended the state borders and the centre was following the developments every day. The commission's silence on Rao's behaviour is meant to cover up his complicity and that of the Congress party.

One thing that Justice Liberhan has not explained in his 900-page report is the span of 17 years between his appointment and the submission of his findings. Though he has blamed it on the commission's counsel for the delay, it is still difficult to understand that the probe should have taken such a long time. A sum of Rs.8 crore was spent on the commission and people have commented that he was prolonging his job. I expected the government's Action Taken Report to be precise and meaningful. But it is too general and too vague. And it is shocking that the government should say that there wouldn't be punitive action against anybody. Some of the guilty are saying openly that they are not repentant over what they have done. It would be tragic if those who demolished the mosque went scot-free. They are also responsible for the killing of 2000 people in the wake of the masjid's destruction. The danger of communal discord confronts the nation in one form or another. The Liberhan Commission has rightly underlined it: the basic difference between those who want a pluralistic society and those who are obsessed with Hindutva. The ideology of the BJP, or more so of its mentor, the RSS, is clear. But those who are playing politics over the demolition are doing the greatest disservice to the country. The report parked at the home ministry a few months ago was waiting to be scooped. It is the prerogative of journalists to do so. Why should political parties make its publication an issue instead of discussing how to punish those who conspired to pull down the mosque? Significantly, all secular parties came to the rescue of the BJP when the question of the report's leakage was raised. It was sought to be made a privilege issue. This is one way to evade the real problem. Kuldip Nayar is an eminent Indian columnist. REFERENCE: Politics Of Babri Masjid By Kuldip Nayar 28 November, 2009 The Daily Star

Role of RSS in Communal Politics of India - Part II

Hindutva's Foreign Tie-Up in the 1930s

RSS Genesis: Political Agenda - Part - I

It is truly unfortunate that Kavita Karkare, widow of the slain Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief, is expressing concern about Hemant Karkare’s death being politicised when the whole investigation and the aftermath of the 26/11 trial has been. It takes away from the relevant issue of saffron terror, something that has only just come out in the open. It also negates her own earlier position and makes one rather uncomfortable to even wonder whether she has been politically co-opted. The current controversy stems from the statement made by Digvijay Singh saying, “Two hours before 26/11 started, Karkare rang me and told me how his life was blighted by constant threats from people annoyed by his investigations into Malegaon blasts.” Ms Karkare’s immediate reaction was, “Such statements will mislead people and benefit Pakistan. Mockery of my husband’s sacrifice for political gain should stop.” The mockery started when Narendra Modi came to Mumbai soon after the attacks. He was not needed. He is another state’s chief minister. By announcing Rs 1 crore compensation to the kin of the victims he was only playing electoral politics. Then he visited Hemant Karkare’s widow. This same man, and the same BJP, had been critical of the ATS chief when he was investigating the Malegaon blasts. And how will Digvijay Singh’s words mislead people and benefit Pakistan when during the course of the inquiry Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked the ISI chief to come to India? Did he imagine he would admit that Pakistan was involved? It is not surprising that the Congress party has distanced itself from Digvijay Singh’s comments. This is reminiscent of what happened to A.R.Antulay. He too might have politicised the issue, but as the holder of a sop portfolio, Minority Affairs Minister, he had nothing much to gain. His error? “I said a man like Karkare is born among millions... Who pushed him into the trap of death? Who sent him there to be killed by the Pakistanis?’’ Many people want to know about Hemant Karkare. Many people are interested that the probe into the Malegaon blasts must not stop. Some wonder about bad timing. Actually, this was the only time to talk because the events may not be connected like Siamese twins, but the Mumbai carnage pushed the Pragya-Purohit enquiry on the backburner. But he too copped out and said, “There was no need for a further probe. The home minister has clarified all doubts.” It is a huge tragedy for India that we are too insecure to even afford a rebel or two, whatever be the motives. The Shiv Sena and BJP, emboldened now by revelations of former US ambassador David Mulford in the WikiLeaks cables about the Congress party’s “crass political opportunism” and how it would “stoop to old caste/ religious-based” politics after 26/11 – which for the US obviously did not exist before 26/11 – is now yapping away. The BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain said, “The Congress has to apologize to the nation for its general secretary’s remarks and get him to resign...otherwise, it will mean they were instigating Singh to make remarks that trigger communal passions and later condemn it too, to escape blame.”

His party is the last one to talk about communal passions. The escapism is on the part of political parties for various reasons and in their endeavour they will manage to get anyone on their side. Digvijay Singh has altered his tune, but he reiterated, “I want to ask L K Advani and Rajnath Singh why they went to meet the PM after Sadhvi Pragya was arrested after Malegaon blast. Why did Rajnath go to jail to meet her?” As happens often, he has had to declare that it is his personal statement and not that of the party. This is fine and needed. However, it reveals a paucity of open-mindedness when anyone raising questions about any other kind of terror is seen as a Muslim Messiah. It reduces the argument to the lowest common denominator which we as a society are so good at doing. For the sake of argument, even if he is, so what? Does it take away from the questions he is asking? How many Muslim leaders get voted in national elections because of their faith? To question something ought to be a part of democracy and civil society. Kavita Karkare is now doing a balancing act: “When my husband was investigating the Malegaon blast and was looking for Hindu accused, there were reactions from Hindu organizations. Earlier, when he was looking for Muslim accused there was a similar reaction from that community.” She has never talked about the latter, although it is most likely to have happened. However, what about the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) she filed? Her response to the Ram Pradhan Committee report last year was this: “If nobody had been at fault, I would not have lost Hemant. The chief of ATS died like a dog on the street, but nobody wants to take the responsibility. I expected this. Somebody had already told me that it was going to be a goody-goody report. Nobody wants to take responsibility. Everybody is giving clean chit to everybody.”

Her stance had been one of doubt:

“When his body was found, the bullet-proof jacket was missing...even at the hospital. From that time on, I have been fretting about this and I felt the need to file an RTI application. The reply I got was that his bullet-proof jacket had gone missing…I think I am being misled. Neither the police nor the government is providing me with the facts as to who killed Hemant. I now feel that they have cooked stories about the missing bulletproof jacket…I am not accusing either the state government or the Mumbai police. But my point of contention is that I want true answers to the several questions that are still lingering in my mind.” As they are for Vinita Kamte: “(Rakesh) Maria has been negligent. Karkare had called the control room at 11.24 pm asking for reinforcement, which did not reach him till 12.05 am, even though the police were at Anjuman Islam School, behind Cama Hospital. Being in charge of the control room, was Maria not supposed to coordinate? They say they sent 200 policemen to Karkare and Kamte; where did they go? My husband has laid down his life for the country, and as his wife I am entitled to know what happened with him that night. Why don’t they tell me, if there is nothing to hide?” Soon after these queries there was a news overdrive on defective bullet proof vest materials. While it is much appreciated for future action, was it a way of trying to run away from other important issues? Soon after the attacks, in a television interview Kavita Karkare had clearly spoken about Hindu terrorism. She spoke about how questions ran through her mind about the three senior officers being together at one place at one time. At the time I had hoped she would be able to continue as she had. She had retained her integrity and individuality. The lurking fear was that it would not take long for politicians and activists to use her. It would be a pity to see her being made into some sort of totem by those who have their own agendas. And, yes, it is widow’s right to express regret over her husband’s death being politicised. But he was also an officer, and for that reason his life was and his death is a matter of national concern. She may not wish to raise the questions she did earlier, but those queries must not die. REFERENCE: Why Can’t Hemant Karkare’s Death Be Politicised? By Farzana Versey 13 December, 2010 Farzana Versey is a Mumbai-based author-columnist. She can be reached at

RSS Genesis: Political Agenda - Part - II

The Truth About V. D. Savarkar Dr.J. Kuruvachira

Myths against Minorities- Part 1

Dayanand Pandey: Yesterday Brig. Mathur of the Deolali Cantt called and said, give me 20 men, I will train them.Col. Purohit: Maj. Prayag Modak was the one who came in our meeting and is helping us. There is Col. Raikar and Col. Hasmukh Patel. On 24 June 2007, we were to have a meeting with King Gyanendra. Col. Lajpat Prajwal, who is now a brigadier, was the one who made the meeting possible. Tehelka has accessed 37 audio tapes, two videos and several witness statements that cast further light on the Malegaon blasts case of 2008. This conversation is just a snippet of the voluminous — and self-incriminating — evidence in these tapes which reveal the right-wing Hindutva terror network beyond Sadhvi Pragya and Colonel SP Purohit. The fact that such damning evidence has been in the possession of investigative agencies for a while but has not been acted upon, is testimony to a disturbing unwillingness by the State to unearth the larger conspiracy behind the blasts. .

Transcripts of some of these video and audio tapes were first published in Tehelka (Scheming, Hatred and Porn on Tape, 23 January 2009). They ­expose not just the complicity of members of various ultra Hindutva organisations from across the country but, interestingly, their vituperative hatred even for Sangh Parivar members who they ­believe are diluting their hate agenda against Muslims.

The Maharashtra Anti Terror Squad (ats) under its late chief, Hemant Karkare, had arrested high-profile seer Dayanand Pandey alias Shankaracharya and Col. SP Purohit for the planning and ­execution of the Malegaon blasts (2008) which claimed five lives. Another blast had taken place around the same time in Modasa, Gujarat, killing one. The tapes show that the conspiracy was not just restricted to the 12 who were arrested. They throw up names of those who were sympathisers and funders, as suggested by Hemant Karkare in his last ­interview to Tehelka on 25 November 2008, a day before his death. The people mentioned are majors, brigadiers, police chiefs and politicians. But after the filing of the chargesheet, there has been silence.

Damningly, Tehelka also has a copy of an important department communication to a top ats official officials in the beginning of the year, with information on Ramji Kalsangra, a key accused. Kalsangra is wanted not just in the Malegaon blasts case but also for the Ajmer dargah, Mecca Masjid (Hyderabad), Malegaon mosque and Samjhauta Express blasts. Kalsangra was the one who planted the bombs and rode the bike used in the blasts. He was declared absconding. However, the department communication accessed by Tehelka speaks of specific information about Kalsangra’s whereabouts — the fact that he visited his mother on Diwali and Makar Sankranti and was being sheltered by a Patidar family in Gopipur, Madhya Pradesh. It also mentions his voter identity (MP 33 258 192304 Shajapur). Yet no action was taken.

Disillusioned officials say they were dismayed by the disinterest in pursuing these leads. In fact, the nexus between these blasts and the Modasa one now being established by central agencies could have been done much earlier had the ats not sat on the evidence.

At the time of filing its chargesheet in 2009, the Maharashtra ats had asserted that it had a watertight case against the accused. However, it ­remained silent on the involvement of the same accused in the Mecca Masjid blast of May 2007 which killed 14 people as well as the Ajmer dargah blasts of October 2007 which took four lives. It dismissed a statement by Maj. Nitin Joshi, member of Abhinav Bharat, that his colleague Col. Purohit had said that the rdx used in the Malegaon blasts was the same as that used for the Samjhauta blasts.

The tapes accessed by Tehelka also contain what amount to confessions of rioting. For instance, RP Singh, an ­endocrinologist at Apollo Hospital, tells Dayanand Pandey, “We burnt 25 Muslims at one go. Killing Muslims by day, practicing medicine at night: we have to do this. We have to spread terror. No more crying” (translated from Hindi). Further in the same conversation, Singh is heard discussing with BL Sharma Prem, former bjp mp, Maj. Ramesh Upadhyay and Col. Purohit (in custody for the Malegaon blasts) of attempting to kill Vice-President Hamid Ansari. Singh, also associated with the World Hindu Federation, says: “I had a very good relation with Ashok Singhal from the vhp. He is a great guy but the Sangh men did not let him continue… rss should also pay a price for its betrayal”.

Col. Purohit: “The Israelis ask us to give them proof of our involvement. What more proof do they need? We have done two such operations earlier which were successful. I was the one who had got the equipment for all of them”.

Ramesh Upadhyay: “Hyderabad mein jo bomb blasts kiya thha woh apna hi admi thha. Woh colonel apko batayenge kisne kiya thha. (The Hyderabad blasts were done by our man. The colonel can tell you who it was).”

In a curious twist — and in grotesque proof of the lengths this group is willing to go — the tapes also reveal big fissures within the Sangh Parivar. A week ago, a story broadcast by a television channel obliquely implicated rss leader Indresh Kumar in the terror conspiracy. However, in the tapes accessed by Tehelka, senior rss leader from Pune, Shyam Apte talks of meeting members of Abhinav Bharat. Startlingly, he is recorded talking to Dayanand Pandey about getting ­Indresh Kumar eliminated through a chemical which one of their men was to procure, for not sufficiently supporting their ultra-hardline activities. Pandey says: “Post mortem mein bhi woh cheez nahi aayegi, mere liye toh usmein koi risk nahi hai. (The post-mortem won’t show the chemical, there is no risk for me.) I have told him whatever time it takes, we are fine with it.” To which Apte adds that whatever money is needed for this should be given.

If sources in the Maharashtra ats are to be believed, Apte was on the verge of being arrested in November 2008 and broke down when confronted with the evidence by the ats team. However, ats chief Hemant Karkare died soon after in the Mumbai 26/11 attack and Apte was never arrested. Today, both he and RP Singh are walking free because agencies claim they have no corroborative evidence against them. Apart from these voluntary admissions on tape, of course.

Another example of inexplicable lethargy is Swami Aseemanand, who used to run the Shabri Ashram in the Dangs region of Gujarat. He is an accused in the Malegaon case, and the cbi now believes could be a key figure in the Hyderabad and Mecca Masjid blasts. He was spotted two months ago in Waghai village in Dangs in a blue Santro by local police informers. He was also spotted in April in Mahal district of Gujarat driving a white van. But no move was made against him.

Another despairing investigator says there did not seem to be a will to question vhp leader Pravin Togadia whose name crops up many times in the tapes: “They just could not prove that Togadia had given Rs 1 lakh to Abhinav Bharat. Nor were they able to investigate why Col. Purohit’s email account had four email ids of Praveen Togadia.”

YP Singh, ips officer and law expert, is also baffled by the go-slow. “How much really was done to make it a ­watertight case and to put in the dock all those in whose direction the leads were pointing?” he asks. The answers are disturbingly evident. REFERENCE: Malegaon. Mecca Masjid. Ajmer Sharif. Why are tapes implicating ultra Hindutva outfits in terror blasts gathering dust? BY RANA AYYUB From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 30, Dated July 31, 2010 Read excerpts of transcripts of two tapes

Myths against Minorities- Part 2

The 2008 Malegaon blasts investigations have, for the first time, linked the right wing organisations to terrorist acts in the country. ATS Joint commissioner Hemant Karkare was spearheading the investigation. In an interview with TEHELKA, he had clarified the ATS stand on the conflicting reports that have been trickling out regarding the investigations.

Reports suggest that VHP strongman Pravin Togadia funded Abhinav Bharat, the organisation which is allegedly involved in the Malegaon blasts? Has this been confirmed?

There was a reference to his name during the investigation, but that has nothing to do with the Malegaon blasts investigations of 2008. At this point of time, we are only looking into the 2008 blasts.

Will Pravin Togadia be questioned, since his name has also cropped up in the narco tests done on the accused in the Nanded blasts of 2006?

No, as of now there is no evidence against him. As I said earlier, we are looking at only the Malegaon blasts, so there is no question of interrogating Pravin Togadia.

Reports suggest the involvement of high-profile seers in the Malegaon blasts. Has the ATS got proof of this?

We are not looking at seers or saints in relation to the Malegaon blasts. We are not looking at people from a particular community when we question them. We are just detaining people on the basis of evidence. As for Dayanand Pandey, he has proclaimed himself to be a seer. There are a lot of people going around claiming to be saints.

Was Swami Aseemanand from Dangs involved in other blasts, including the one at Ajmer, as reports suggest?

A reference has been made to his name during the investigations, we cannot divulge much at this stage. These people might not have been seers. Aseemanand could also have taken the garb of a seer.

While presenting its case, the ATS said that there was a possibility of those arrested in the Malegaon blasts case also being involved in the blasts that took place in the Marathwada region in 2006. Is there evidence to prove this? Has the ATS been able to link those arrested to other blasts?

There are agencies that have been looking at the various links, namely the CBI, which has been looking at the Malegaon blasts of 2006. The link we found is that of Rakesh Dhawre. He is a Pune-based counterfeit arms dealer who was involved in the training that took place for the blasts of 2006. He is the common link between the 2006 blasts including the ones in Purna and Parbhani, and the 2008 Malegaon blasts. Investigating agencies are working on it.

There are reports that police officials from other states have been coming to interrogate those arrested by the ATS. Is that true?

Yes, police officials from other states have been coming but that’s something which is protocol in such cases. They wanted to know of the modus operandi so that they could figure out if there are similarities to other blasts, in Andhra Pradesh and Chandigarh. What they found out is something only they will be able to tell you.

The ATS made a flip-flop on the links of those arrested with the Samjhauta blasts, which raised questions when it found no mention in the remand copy. A lot has been made of the Samjhauta Express statement that was made by the public prosecutor in the case. There was a statement made by the witness that Purohit helped in the procurement of RDX. That was a part of the case diary. It cannot be taken as gospel truth. What was wrong was the mention of the same to the media, although we had said that there is no such evidence of the same.

The BJP has targeted the ATS for its investigations. Has there been any political pressure?

We are here to do our job as an investigating agency and bring out the truth. Having said that, it’s baseless to say that we are working under political pressure. There is absolutely no pressure on me or my officials. We are doing our best to bring the truth out.

Abhinav Bharat has come out as having played a key role. Is the ATS planning to question Himani Savarkar, its founder member?

We look at individuals and not organisations when we carry out our investigations. We are not looking at Abhinav Bharat, we are looking at the individuals involved. We have not questioned Himani Savarkar so far, and as yet, there is no evidence against her.

There are reports that an ATS team has left for Delhi. Is it true?

No, it’s absolutely untrue.

There were also reports that the army was not cooperating with the ATS with regards to information on Col Purohit and his leave records?

I would like to clear this. The army has given cooperation to the ATS right from day one on every aspect of the interrogation. There have been reports that the army has not been cooperating with the ATS and that’s absolutely untrue. The army gave us his leave records and other documents, which we needed.

Is the ATS looking at arresting more army officials?

No, we are not looking at arresting or detaining any more army officials in the case.

Most of the accused have alleged that they have been subjected to physical and mental torture.
We are doing our duty as investigating agencies. Such allegations come during the course of investigations. But they are untrue. We cannot do anything about such allegations

Can Purohit and Dayanand Pandey be called the key conspirators in the Malegaon blasts? Is this evident from the narco tests of the accused?

We are yet to get the narco reports. There is evidence against Purohit, but we can’t reveal anything at this stage

As the findings of narco tests are not admissible in court, does the ATS have substantial proof to nail the accused in the case?

The ATS has been carrying out investigations. We have enough evidence against the people we have arrested and we will present it in court.

There has been a report that Purohit and Dayanand Pandey had conspired to kill RSS veterans like Mohan Bhagwat and Indreesh. What do you have to say on this? Have those arrested confessed to the same? The name of Delhi-based doctor RP Singh too has cropped up during the course of investigations. Does the ATS have evidence suggesting his involvement?

The name of RP Singh came up during the investigation of Dayanand Pandey. I can’t reveal much about it at this stage. As for the assassination of RSS leaders, some references had emerged but they can’t be linked to any organisation.

Are more arrests likely to be made by the ATS in the Malegaon blasts? Do you also see the involvement of Hindu organisations like the Bajrang Dal, RSS, and Sanatan Sanstha in various terror acts in the country?

The ATS had filed a chargesheet against the Sanatan Sanstha in a different case, but there is no proof to link organisations as yet with the blasts. We are just looking at individuals.

Does the arrest of seers and armymen in terror acts suggest a trend?

Col Purohit was just an aberration. Just because one man has been arrested it does not mean that the entire army is tainted. Tomorrow, you cannot blame the entire police force just because one officer is arrested.

Have some other names cropped up during the investigations of the accused? Has the name of Nitin Joshi, one of the key members of the Abhinav Bharat, cropped up?

At the moment we are looking for Shyam Apte and Ramji, who have been named in the investigations. They played an important role and are absconding. REFERENCE: There is enough evidence against Col Purohit; we will present it in court’ ATS chief Hemant Karkare told RANA AYYUB, shortly before his death in the Mumbai terror attacks, that more army officers will not be arrested From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 5, Issue 48, Dated Dec 06, 2008

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