Issues

Sunil Joshi and the dragon that killed him

Seventh of September 2006 saw a resurgence of Hindutva movement around reviving of the controversy around Vande Mataram.

It was deliberately crafted around the worked up anniversary of Bankimchand Chaterjee’s novel Anand Muth. It fits well in the core strategy of Rashtrya Swayamsevak Sangh. RSS uses the refusal of Muslims’ to sing Vande Mataram to prove Muslims are unpatriotic. Though actually the full song violates Muslims’ fundamental belief of worshipping one God, the full song is about worshipping motherland and is taken from Bankim Chaterjee’s novel which is about collaborating with Britishers to eliminate Muslims.

As a town with a sizable Muslim population, Malegaon was seen by the RSS as a convenient place for whipping up communal passion against them. Thus the meeting at the famous temple at Mosampul in Malegaon included Shiv Sena leaders Dada Bhuse, Sanjay Dusane, Rama Mistry, Pramod Shukla, Anand Bhika Pawar, Narendra Maharaj, Raja Ram Jadhav, Kailash Teesge, Tarabai Shirsat, Chayabai Shewade. Bhuse and Pawar pointedly said that the national song was against the British and its reactionary fervour was still not dead as others had taken the place of the British in modern times. (Malegaonvi Shiv Sena turfe Vande Matram, Lotkmat 8 Sept. 2006). The basic approach of RSS, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena and VHP and their later day avatar of Jai Vande Matram, Abhinav Bharat, was to target Muslims by means of terrorism. By then terrorism had acquired the weltanschauung of anti-Muslim connotation.

It was primarily this worldview that led to the attacks on Muslims on September 8, 2006. Sunil Joshi played a crucial role in it. It would be preposterous to say that he was an associate of SIMI and he used Muslims to bomb Muslims. However, the lie has gained currency that well motivated and devoted members of Students Islamic Movement of India let him penetrate their movement. In the first place the government at Delhi could never produce a single instance of SIMI involvement in the bomb blasts yet it prevailed upon the Supreme Court to continue banning SIMI after every two years. Sunil Joshi was a hardcore communalist and would not divulge anything against the right wing extremists of Hindutva. To say that Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur organized the second terrorist attack in Malegaon on September 29, 2008 to avenge SIMI’s alleged killing of Sunil Joshi is simply subterfuge.

The only assumed link in the second attack is that Sadhvi’s motorcycle was parked under the SIMI office at Bhiku Chowk. She wanted to give a warning to SIMI that she was capable of taking them on according to the pet ideology of the Hindu right, of a bomb for a bomb. The well designed plot did not have the SIMI office as a target at all.

Those who brought the motorcycle of Joshi (she had sold it to him) to the chowk did not want to park it there. They tried their best to park it at their chosen target at the Nukud corner where the crowd of Muslim women buying bangles and ornaments for Id was the biggest.

That would have caused a huge casualty may be in thousands. But the lady police who had cordoned off the approach from Bhiku chowk to Nukad corner had steadfastly refused to let the motorcyclist enter the corner. It is this approach lane to the Nukad corner that is aptly named after Martyr Hemant Karkare.

Both the terrorist attacks of 2006 and 2008 were mounted by inner core group of Bajrang Dal which has the temerity of changing names to avoid detection and bad publicity. Similarly, saying that Joshi’s “overall behaviour was something not expected by a woman (read Pragya)” and that is why she got him killed is dodging and diversionary.

Then the question ultimately asked is who really got him bumped off. And why. It could be that Pragya played into the hands of someone far superior. It could be a well placed man like Indresh Kumar or equally senior Parveen Togadia. They have enormous sums at their disposal. Of course, Harshad Solanki took instructions from her on the day he and his cohorts killed Joshi. The pugmarks are still there but the dragon is still elusive.

The dragon could be an organization or agency or its individuals working as splintered entities. This comes handy for the purpose of avoiding detection or later manipulation. The assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, Nathuram Godse, had got himself circumcised in JJ Hospital of Mumbai, to implicate the Muslim community.

He had never left RSS and according to his accomplice and brother and father of Himani Savarkar, Gopal, his whole family was nurtured on the ideology of RSS.

In those days there was no group like Bajrang Dal to carry out extensive destructive work. Bajrang Dal is the armed wing of RSS. It is this group which has the expertise of making bombs, using advanced weapons of mass murder and training to carry out difficult tasks. It has suicide squads and splinter groups designed to carry out violent attacks and deflect attention from the parent body as well as the mother of all groups, RSS. Durga Vaheni is the female counterpart of Bajrang Dal and Pragya rightfully belonged to it.

Lt Col Purohit, had trained and supplied RDX from his flat in Pune. He gave it not just to the Bajrang Dal activists of Nanded but also those who attacked Malegaon Muslims in 2006 and 2008, be they Abhinav Bharat or Jai Vande Matram. Attacking Samjhauta express was even more daring. It shows an all India recruitment of terrorists.

The definite and sure involvement of the army is indisputable. Shrikant Prasad Purohit was in the intelligence wing of the army working in the so called counter terrorism section. On October 15, 2008 even before his name appeared anywhere for 2008 attack in Malegaon the lieutenant colonel had sent a letter to his superior. In it he wrote not to report but to confide to a sympathizer and obtain advice from him. The lieutenant colonel wrote to Major Bhagirath Dey “The blasts which took place in Gujarat and Malegaon are on the same day and same time using the same technique. I had learnt that it is Mr Indresh Kumar of the RSS, who is instrumental in carrying out these actions.

It is likely that senior RSS officials like Indresh Kumar are playing into the hands of ISI, knowingly or unknowingly.” (Malegaon blast case: Purohit’s letter indicts Indresh, Sadhvi Pragya. India Today March 3, 2011).

This disclosure reads like a report of an intelligence officer to his superior. But the army’s silence for over more than two years would amount to either Purohit trying to save his skin or mutually worked out strategy of bailing out a fellow officer from a seemingly disastrous situation. There could be different explanations. That the army is itself neck deep in it or RSS is.

The headquarters of RSS at Nagpur was the Camelot of different assignment in different parts of the country. The visor, the armour and the swords and spears were replaced by bombs and bomb makers. According to Swami Asimanand, Indresh Kumar had told him that bomb making was not the work of the swami, it was for Sunil Joshi. He had given 50000 rupees to Joshi for the work. (‘RSS leader Indresh provided money for making bombs’ Zee New January 8, 2011)True to its nature the modern day Camelot was in touch with its knights in shining armour. The reports were coming in from someone (“Pophale”?) on duty in the police control room of Malegaon on September 8, 2006.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 March 2011 on page no. 12

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