Terrorism

Venom he sowed, blasts he reaped

New Delhi: “We have to be very aggressive to protect our centuries-old-religion, which is under the threat from Muslim militants and Christian missionaries. We have to fight fire with fire (int ka jawab denge pather se).” This is what he preached at rally after rally. And the community promptly responded. On Christman Day in 1998, 1500-strong mob of VHP and Bajrang Dal attacked a Christian missionary school and a church. On the heels of this came 35 more churches under attack.

The journey to blood and fire culminated in blasts, blasts and more blasts. Perhaps the first was at Malegaon in 2006, by his aide Sunil Joshi. Encouraged by this the next target was Samjhauta Express in February 2007 followed by Mecca Masjid blast at Hyderabad in 2007. The Ajmer blast was Sunil Joshi’s last operation in “bomb-for-bomb” drive masterminded by the “hero” of Hindutva resurgence – Swami Aseemanand of Dangs.

He has confessed now before a magistrate under Section 164 of his involvement in the Samjhauta train blast. He has also admitted Sunil Joshi’s role who was his right hand man. In addition to his own role in Mecca Masjid and Malegaon blasts (2006 and 2008) he spilled the beans about other highly “respected” RSS ideologue Indresh Kumar and fire-spitting MP Yogi Adityanath. It was Indresh who suggested the idea of targeting Muslim places of worship in retaliation to Sankat Mochan temple attack in Varanasi. Though he said that the Yogi did not finance, Indresh managed the finance. It was Indresh who introduced Sunil Joshi to Aseemanand.

What prompted him to confess? The Swami was cared for in jail by a Muslim, called Kalim, who was wrongly arrested in the Mecca Masjid blast. This good behaviour led the Swami to the act of “atonement”. With this confession, NIA made the real breakthrough. Eleven witnesses have recorded their statements before a magistrate under Sect 164 about the Ajmer blast. Their deposition completes the chain of evidence.

Having strengthened his stronghold and rapport with RSS and BJP chief ministers of MP and Gujarat, he created a political constituency for himself. His nominee Vijay Patel, a VHP activist, contested 2007 assembly election. Patel was followed by another six BJP legislators.

Sadhvi Pragya Sinh, a prime suspect in Malegaon blast of 2008, had not only attended the Shabari kumbh of 2006 but was also a frequent visitor to Daangs as her parents were based in Surat – 140 kms away.

This kingpin of terror was a post-graduate in physics from Bengal. Having succeeded in re-conversion drive he became the “hero” of RSS outfits and was very close to Narendra Modi. His case came into limelight after Pragya Sinh Thakur’s arrest in the Malegaon blast of 2008. He was using a mobile phone registered in the name of his driver Sunil Dahod. Many calls were made from this phone to the Sadhvi. When Maharashtra ATS grilled Dahod; Aseemannd managed to escape. He was arrested about two years later from Haridwar on 19 Nov. 2010 where had acquired not only a new identity but also a new passport.

the then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpaee too was impressed by his conversion drive. Following 2002 Gujarat riots he went underground for one year. Prior to his arrival in Daangs he had been active in Andamans.

In the light of his confession two question need immediate action: release of all those Muslim youths who have been languishing in jails for years for the above blasts, and action against all those “well governed” states who turned a deaf ear and eye to these sinister activities by providing them with state patronage and persecuting Muslims, claiming that they were fighting war against terror while they were ignoring home-grown terror.

The whole exercise can be summed up in the following “imaginary” conversation between Zardari and Singh (with apologies to Amitabh Bachchan’s Deewar/Sholay):
Zardari: Mere paas LeT, Jesh, Taliban, Kasab hai; tumhare paas kya hai?
Singh: Mere paas Aseemanand hai!

So, we have a Gabbar to boast!

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 January 2011 on page no. 6

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