By Hamid Waheed
Sayed Zabiuddin was arrested Thursday at the New Delhi airport after he was deported from Saudi Arabia, where he was raising funds for a new attack in India, police officials said. . With his capture, police may for the first time have someone in custody who has intimate knowledge about how the attack was organized. Police suspect that it was Zabiuddin’s voice that was heard in a control room in Pakistan guiding the gunmen in 2008, according to voice intercepts the FBI gave New Delhi authorities to aid their investigation. Pakistan’s interior minister had strong reservations on Indian investigation system which he termed as un professional and non cooperative with Pakistan.
False Indian propaganda and atrocities against its own people and neighbours is not new . Some conscience Indian writers like Arunduta Roy, officials like former Maharashtra IG police SM Mushrif along with human rights organisations keep raising their voices whenever they can under coercive environment of Hindu extremist elements. Today Sikhs, Christian, Muslims and Dalits (the untouchable humans) are victim of state policies and inequality in India. Historically, the exclusion of 65 million Dalits from the Indian society has been on religious and cultural grounds. Still due to pre-assigned duties of the caste into which they are born, many Dalits are destined to do sanitation jobs, transport human excreta manually, clear animal carcasses and human remains. Frequently, subjected to humiliation, often the victims of rape and enforced prostitution, controlled in parts of the country by caste militias, the Dalits are virtually slaves and hardly in a position to choose a profession of their own choice. In this case, the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) September 2009 decision to declare discrimination based on the caste system a “human-rights abuse” has stirred up harsh opposition from India. However, the UN’s decision came about despite strong disagreement from the Indian government and its aggressive lobbying to get the council to delete the word “caste” from its draft.
Each passing day discovers new realities about shining India when the truth glitters from the false cover stories . On 18 Feb 2007 at least 68 people mostly Pakistani were killed in a series of explosions and a fire on Pakistan-bound train in the northern Indian state of Haryana, near Panipat, about 80km (50 miles) north of Delhi. Initial investigation blamed LeT and JeM , even a Pakistani national Azmat Ali was arrested. Later it was found by the investigating Police that the right-wing Hindu activists and an Indian army officer Colonel Prohit had a significant role. The confessions of Swami Aseemanand further confirms hindutva redical’s role in terrorism.
In Mecca Masjid Blast on May 18, 2007 ,14 people died and as a natural reaction initially around 80 Muslims were detained for questioning and 25 were arrested. The investigation followed the script till the CBI found evidence that mobile phone-detonated explosives packed in metal tubes were similar to the Ajmer blasts. The bombs are believed to have contained a deadly mix of RDX and TNT, in proportions often used by the Indian army. CBI director Ashwani Kumar told the media that an activist named Sunil Joshi “played a key role in orchestrating the Ajmer blast and a set of mobile SIM cards that had been used in activation of the bomb-triggers in the Mecca Masjid blast was used again in the Ajmer blast”. National Investigating Agency (NIA) filed a case in a court accusing 11 Hindus and members of the ultra-right-wing Sanathan Sanstha, of masterminding and executing the October 2009 Margao blast. Initial suspicion and interrogation of suspected Muslim men, some believed to be members of “sleeper cells of jehadi groups” turned out to be an allegation.
In Ajmer Sharif Blast on October 11, 2007 ,3 people died. In 2010, Rajasthan ATS arrests Devendra Gupta, Chandrashekhar and Vishnu Prasad. Initial arrests of Abdul Hafiz Shamim, Khushibur Rahman, Imran Ali linked to HuJI, LeT could not be proved. Again in Malegaon 2ndBlasts in September 2008 in which 7 died Pragya Singh Thakur, Lt Col Srikant Purohit and Swami Amritanand Dev were found involved. Malegaon 2008 forced the review of the role of Hindutva groups. The ATS investigation led to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, whose motorcycle was used to explode the bomb, and then to 13 others, including Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit, the first-ever serving officer to be charged. During interrogation, he had disclosed to ATS investigators that he had provided the RDX in the Mecca Masjid blasts but the ATS was reportedly asked not to make it public as the Hyderabad police had detained HuJI suspects.
This shows a glimpse of investigation handling in India however, the larger story can be summarized in what a human right activist and Mumbai advocate Mihir said,” It is believed that CBI is seeking directions from the 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 fault lines are not only visible within civil LEA but the nuclear security and military issues like abduction and later murder of an important Nuclear scientist Loknath Mahalingam in Jun 2009, sixty one trucks carrying 300 tons of explosives going missing in August 2010 and involvement of top Indian officers and politicians in Kargil soldiers housing society scam are few of the burning topics .In the regional context army under General Kiyani sacrifices its own ration to help flood affected countrymen but General VK Singh says the housing scam will not affect the troops morale. HR violations in Kashmir and refusal of Indian army to implement 25% reduction of forces in Kashmir announced by their own government reflects the oncoming challenges for Indian secularism , security and its investigation systems. Most recently a court of inquiry has been ordered against an Indian officer — Major General V K Sharma, from Army Supply Corps (MG ASC) of the Northern Command in Siachen. Sources said the Northern Command received several complaints against the officer, mostly from contractors who accused him of demanding favours in return for awarding contracts. However, the duplicity in Indian investigative procedures may not find it easy to punish the culprit who is found cheating soldiers performing duties under extreme weather conditions of Siachen.
Lt. Col Purohit: Acts of Terror And Finding Escape Route
By Ram Puniyani
22 July, 2012
In the wake of the various acts of terror and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur’s motor cycle being traced, it became clear that the investigating agencies are acting on the wrong thesis that ‘all terrorists are Muslims’. A Pandora’s box opened and the link of ex-ABVP activist, Pragya Thakur, Swami Dayanand Pandey, retired Major Upadhayay, Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit and Swami Aseemanand came to surface, Role of two organizations inspired by the ideology of ‘Hindu nation’, Abhinav Bharat and Santana Sanstha also came to light. The investigations led by Hemant Karkare, by the Rajasthan ATS and National Investigation Agency (NIA) made it clear that there is a deeper nexus of elements like Purohit &Co., those who have been part of terror groups or have been supporting them in various ways. The confessions of Swami Aseemanand, named many more activists belonging to RSS combine, who are currently cooling their heels in jails and are facing investigations for acts of terror.
Lt. Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit came to be identified as one of the major player in the whole episode. He is the core person of extremist Hindutva group Abhinav Bharat. He was arrested on 5th November 2008 by Maharashtra ATS for his role in Malegaon blast. It was the investigation of Malegaon blast, particularly under the leadership of Hemant Karkare, which unearthed the whole terror network, which later on came to be termed as Saffron terror by P.Chidmabaram, the Union Home minister. For Purohit and other army officers, the army instituted a court of inquiry.
During the inquiry what Col Purohit said is very revealing. Purohit claimed that he was part of the network as an infiltrator and was keeping his superiors in the loop, keeping them informed. He claims that he infiltrated the terror network to keep a tab on the same. But his statement leaves a lot of questions unanswered. The major question is if he was doing all this for army, why did army hand him over to Anti Terrorism Squad?
The whole investigation seems to be mired in mystery and lots of facts need a further probe. Tehelka had also published investigative reports naming several ex-military men from the Bhosala Military School and their involvement in the Malegaon and other blasts, which was later confirmed by the ATS. The involvement of other army officers needs to be brought to surface as the whole matter seems to be much serious than just a case of few officers keeping a tab of these terrorist groups.
The blasts taking place in front of mosques and similar places where Muslims congregate for prayers, at the time when they are leaving the congregation was a clear indication of involvement of ‘other’ groups than the usual suspects, in which many a Muslim youth had been arrested and later released due to lack of any evidence whatsoever.
In the light of many a military officers role in these acts, it did not therefore, come as a surprise that Mohan Bhagwat, RSS Chief used the platinum jubilee celebrations of the Bhosala Military school (BMS) say that “military schools run under the aegis of Hindutva institutions are the need of the hour,”.
Looking at the key role played by Bhosala Military School, which is run by a group of people whose sympathies with the RSS is no secret, one fails to understand why the chief bosses of the school were not investigated for their role in the acts of terror? Very few people even know that BMS is one of those rare schools who impart training on service pattern to the students along with regular courses which is aimed at encouraging and preparing them for entry into National Defense Academy (NDA), Indian Military Academy (IMA) etc and other defense services.
Bhosala Military School has a long history. It was set up by Dr. B.S. Munje, the mentor of RSS Sarsanghclak, Dr. K.B. Hedgewar. Dr. Munje was inspired by Benito Mussolini’s fascist methods and believed that one who controls army rules the country. His statue in the Nagpur, where RSS was founded, has this phrase written on the plaque. With this perspective in mind this school was set up to act as a feeder for Indian army. The school was set up with the assistance of British and it supplied officers to the British army. Its training is meant to supply officers for Indian army. Now it emerges from different confessions and statements that the groups involved in terror had deeper connection with this school. What ideology it teaches and what it aims is very clear from some of the statements of the accused.
The phenomenon of Hindutva terror allegedly revolves around the likes of Lt. Col Purohit and Swami Aseemanand of RSS to name the two central characters. After Swami Aseemanand’s confession the total picture and their agenda becomes clear. Aseemanand had said that ‘bomb is the answer to bomb’. He also wanted to pave the way for the goal of Hindu nation through such terror outfits and their goal was larger than just a blast here and a blast there, they aimed at Hindu nation. Purohit in his statements during interrogation has said that their effort was to fight the Indian Constitution for (Hindu) Nation, “We will fight the Constitution to fight for our nation.” The RSS propaganda that Hindu religion is in danger and it needs to be defended was also stated by Purohit. He also says “many things are wrong in the country and need to be rectified. Hindu religion is in danger. It is our duty to defend Hinduism.” And finally “We have to establish this country in accordance with the Vedic procedures; we want the Sanatan Dharma, the Vedic Dharma.”
The Purohit affair is getting murkier and murkier. The agenda of Hindu nation, the role of Bhosala military school and other army officers in the whole chain of command cannot be accepted at the face value. It needs a deeper probe and investigation of the whole terror network and the role of army officers, as it is clear that Col Purohit’s statement that he was keeping other army officers in the loop for an operation which was not the part of the army intelligence work, is a matter of worry. The role played by Bhosla Military School also needs to be probed. The ideology which such people are harboring to fight Indian Constitution to build Hindu nation is a clear danger to our Constitution, the democratic values and the plural character of the country. How does one save the values of India’s Constitution, the values of India’s freedom movement?
Ram Puniyani was a professor in biomedical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and took voluntary retirement in December 2004 to work full time for communal harmony in India. He is involved with human rights activities from last two decades.He is associated with various secular and democratic initiatives like All India Secular Forum, Center for Study of Society and Secularism and ANHAD.