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Home > Communalism Repository > India: Did the Hindu Right Organise the Bomb Blasts in Ajmer?

India: Did the Hindu Right Organise the Bomb Blasts in Ajmer?

by Subhash Gatade, 15 May 2009

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Abhinav Bharat, the Hindu extremist group, involved in the Malegaon blasts may also be the hidden hand behind the Ajmer blasts. The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Rajasthan police says investigations into the blasts that shook the Ajmer Dargah in 2007, have led them to members of the Abhinav Bharat.

In an exclusive interview to NDTV, the ATS Chief in Rajasthan, Kapil Garg, has admitted that Abhinav Bharat is now actively under their scanner. And a special team of the Rajasthan police had recently visited Mumbai to collect full statements and reports of the narco-analysis and brain mapping tests done on the mastermind of the Malegaon blasts Lt Col S P Purohit and others accused in the Malegaon blast cases.

Police sources say that in his narco-analysis and brain mapping tests Lt Col Purohit has revealed that another member Dayanand Pandey, also an accused in the Malegaon blast, had planned the Ajmer blast that killed 2 and injured over 20 people in October 2007.

NDTV [’Abhinav Bharat under ATS scanner for ’07 Ajmer blast’ Rajan Mahan , Tuesday, April 14, 2009, (Jaipur)]

1.

It has been more than one and half years that 42 year old Syed Salim died in Ajmer Sharief. He was one of the two men who were killed in the blast at Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti’s shrine in Ajmer on 11 th October 2007. As the circumstances reveal it must have been a very painful death. Scores of people also got injured who had gathered their to offer their prayers.

Neither his wife and two children and nor his friends would have ever imagined that such a softspoken gentleman would die such a gory death.As his friends remember Salim had settled in Ajmer out of his reverence for the Saint and used to run a cosmetics shop near the shrine.He used to visit Hyderabad once a year to meet his wife and two children.

Apart from the pain of his physical departure what pinched all his near and dear ones the most is the fact that the police and investigation agencies felt that Syed Salim himself was behind the attack. Looking at the similarities in the Mecca Masjid blasts and Ajmer blast, a police team even arrived in Hyderabad to probe whether Syed Salim, himself was the real perpetrator. A section of the media also reported that ’suspicious material’ was found in one of the dead man’s pockets. (Was the Ajmer blast a suicide attack?, DNA Correspondent, Saturday, October 13, 2007 22:02 IST)

The Rajasthan police seemed so sure about its hypothesis that it had detained six people, including two Bangladeshis, for questioning. A mobile telephone with a SIM card was used as a trigger. The then Home Minister Mr Shivraj Patil even predicted that the bomb blasts appeared to have ’links across the border’. A fanatic Islamic organisation called HuJI which had its genesis in B’desh was blamed for this act.

One can easily imagine how the police team from Rajasthan which was engaged in ’terrorisation and criminalisation of Syed Salim’ would have treated his family members who were already in grief. Perhaps the whole family including his parents and other brothers/sisters would have experienced the wrath of the Khaki. Looking at similar experiences, one can easily presume that the whole family must have faced the trauma of being belonging to a ’terrorist’s family’.

Today when the police itself had to abandon its earlier stand and has reached the conclusion that the ringleaders of the ’Abhinav Bharat’ - a Hindutva terrorist group - themselves were responsible for the Ajmer Sharief bomb blast would it be asking for too much that it write a letter to the near and dear ones of Syed Salim asking for their apologies.

2.

The target of the terrorist attack was Dargah of Moinuddin Chisti, also known as Khwaja Garib Nawaz. People of all communities prayed at the Dargah for ages. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims descend in the town on the Urs of Khwaja Garib Nawaz and the entire town of Ajmer is full of pilgrims.In fact it was for the first time in its few centuries old history that blood of innocents lied splattered in those areas where thousands and thousands of people use to gather daily to offer their prayers.

As was the routine procedure then - when Hindutva terror had not reached headlines - a few fanatic Islamist groups were blamed for this ignoble incident. There were interrogations, arrests, quite a few people were illegally detained supposedly to extract their confession for this act. Media was not to be left behind, it had juicy stories about the plans and the execution of this inhuman and barbaric act, and definite clues about its real ’masterminds’ remote controlling from across the border.

It would be opportune to relook at one such exclusive stories which appeared in a publication which is supposed to be favourably inclined towards the anti-communal cause. (Today one can find such stories to be ’entertaining’ as it is evident that it is a pack of lies, but one can just imagine the tremendous impact it is able to create as far as ’stigmatisation’ and ’terrorisation’ of the minority community is concerned.)

HYDERABAD: The police have stumbled upon evidence indicating that the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) used in Mecca Masjid and Ajmer blasts were fabricated in Hyderabad.

Bangladeshi HuJI activist Abu Hamja prepared eight IEDs in Hyderabad in May first week and the explosive material was smuggled into the city from Bangladesh by an alleged LeT operative Shaik Abdul Nayeem of Maharashtra, sources said on Friday. While two IEDs were used in Mecca Masjid, four were sent to Ajmer. One bomb at the mosque failed to detonate.

“We informed Ajmer police about the latest findings. It’s not yet known where the other two bombs were sent,” they said.

The narco-analysis test conducted on Masjid blast suspects revealed these facts and helped the Hyderabad police reconstruct the execution of the terror strike.

The HuJI activists Abdul Mohammad Shahid and Khaja, both Hyderabadis operating from abroad, masterminded the Masjid blast.

Nayeem smuggled the explosives and handed them over to one Imran in Hasmathpet here through his relative Shoaib Jagirdar.

Police say Khaja’s brother Khader, who is presently in Dubai, provided the logistical support.

Khader is reported to have gone for a job in Dubai in February and returned to city within two months. However, he stayed in Hyderabad for some days and again went to Dubai, days before the Masjid blast.

Hamja came to Hyderabad in the first week of May, along with Majnu, Tanveer and Zabi and two others, all Bangladeshis.

They fabricated the IEDs at Imran’s house and handed them over to Rafi and Zabir, both Hyderabadis. It was Kareem Dabba, a childhood friend of Shahid, who planted the IEDs in the Masjid.

The mobile phone alarm system was used to detonate it. Shahid, police say, was sending money to all his terror modules through his brother Samad, who lives in Dubai.

Dabba, a poor mechanic, was paid Rs. 1,000 to plant the IEDs in the mosque. Though police identified as many as 25 persons as involved in the blast, eight were already arrested on charges of conspiracy. Others including Shahid and Khaja are still at large.

Distributes ice-creams

Interestingly, more or less the same are believed to be involved in Gokul Chat and Lumbini blasts in August.

“We have evidence confirming that Hamja took shelter in the house of one Choudhary in Dhaka and distributed ice-creams after learning about the Masjid blast,” sources said.

(Mecca Masjid, Ajmer blast bombs made in Hyderabad, Jan 12, 2008, Hindu, Marri Ramu

All those people who have been following bomb blast cases in India would be able to reveal today that the police case regarding Mecca Masjid blasts ( May 2007) - which saw deaths of nine innocents followed by police firing which saw few more deaths - lies shattered today. It is now history that how LeT ( Lashkar-e-Toiba) and SIMI ( Students Islamic Movement in India) were blamed for this act. Many Muslim youths were apprehended from different parts of Hyderabad and were illegally detained for months together. All of them faced torture to extract their ’confession’ for a crime which they had not committed. Civil Liberty and Democratic rights organisation had to file Habeaus Corpus petitions in the courts against these illegal detentions. Police was compelled to release most of them and had filed charges against 21 amongst them for hatching the said conspiracy. They were charged with waging war against the state and carrying explosives.

Last week of December 2008 witnessed the seventh additional metropolitan session judge in Hyderabad releasing 17 out of the 21 accused unconditionally. Apart from their confessional statements and evidences procured by the police officers supposedly to buttress their case, nothing else had been produced before the courts.A few days before this release of the 17 accused, Shoieb Jagirdar and three others had been released by the courts for want of evidence.

3.

Irfan Engineer, a social activist and commentator had written an important writeup then which had appeared in a section of the websites/blogs. The article titled Ajmer bomb blast: who want communal disharmony in India? Submitted by kashif on Sun, 10/14/2007 - 05:08 had questioned the prevalent thinking among the police and administration about Muslims.

..Predictably, even before one switched on the TV to view the news about the bomb blast, one could say that HUJI or some Muslim extremist organization would be blamed. And indeed, as soon as the police and others concerned with investigation reached there, they knew who could be suspected for the crime. ..

Everybody will be told that the police are on look out for Bilal of HUJI for further investigation. As it is public memory is short. This is the unfortunate reality in the country. ..

The suspected reason given for the blast once again is that whoever planted the bomb wanted to foment communal riots. It was also stated that a section of Sunni Islam is opposed to the Dargahs and that could be the probable reason why the Dargah was targeted. If this is the ground for suspecting only HUJI, or only some Muslim outfit intolerant to Muslims visiting Dargahs, then the investigation will be severely jeopardized and even flawed. In fact, there won’t be any investigation worth the name at all. For those who are opposed to Muslims worshipping at the Dargahs are not Deobandis or Wahabi Muslim followers alone.

Let us take a look at others who are opposed to Muslims visiting Dargahs and saying their prayers. Shiv Sena in the eighties tried to appropriate Haji Malang Dargah in Kalyan, a township to the North East of Mumbai. Since the year 1982, Anand Dighe of Shiv Sena, launched a campaign called Malang Mukti Andolan. He led Shiv Sainiks to demonstrate on Urs every year. Shiv Sena was contending that Haji Malang was Samadhi of Macchindernath Panth and it must be restored to Hindus. After the Shiv Sena-BJP coalition came to power, in the year 1996, the then Chief Minister Manohar Joshi, along with Uddhav Tahckeray and Ganesh Naik performed Ganpati Aarti at the Shrine

... Why should the Shiv Sena not be suspected for its involvement in the blast only on the ground that it is intolerant to syncretic shrines? If that is the ground, needle of suspicion should also point towards the Shiv Sena.

The Sangh Parivar problematized the Baba Budan Giri shrine, which is situated about 40 KMs from Chikmaglur in Karnataka. Baba Budan was a sufi saint and a disciple of Dattatreya. Baba Budan settled in the mountains and introduced coffee culture in the mountains. After his death, Baba Budan Giri Dargah was built and is visited by large number of people from all communities. The Dargah is also called as Guru Dattatreya Bababudanswamy’s Dargah. The site is symbol of syncretism in Karnataka. ....The Sangh Parivar organizations are thus trying to reclaim the syncretic shrine exclusively for Hindus. Why are the Sangh Parivar Organisations not being suspected only on the basis that they are against Muslims praying at Dargahs?

The police theory is that the planters of the bomb are those forces who want to create communal tensions, possibly trigger off communal riots. HUJI may have that intention, but it is not the only organisation which has such a design. Right from Madan Commission that looked into communal riots in Bhiwandi, Jalgaon and Mahad in 1970, Reddy Commission inquiring into 1969 riots in Ahmedabad to Srikrishna Commission inquiring into 1992-93 Mumbai riots, all the Commissions have blamed Hindutva organizations. Why are the police not even suspecting all organizations that may be interested in communal tensions, if they take the purpose of the blasts seriously?

Police theories about bomb blasts do not inspire any confidence even amongst lay people who think a little bit. The real culprits behind the bomb blasts might be feeling assured that they would never even be suspected, let alone investigated. ..

The article had thus tried to explain perhaps the reason behind targetting of places of worship in quick succession one after the other. And it had talked about investigating agencies doing some serious thinking and ’hard and impartial evidence gathering, ruthlessly and thoroughly looking at all the angles,’ lest ’India can continue to expect more unfortunate bomb blasts targeting innocents.’

It is selfevident that police and security forces did not try to do any out of the box thinking on the issue and remained engaged in blaming this or that fanatic organisation owing allegiance to Islam.

4.

A few days back, Ajmer blasts suddenly reappeared in a section of the press, with Maharashtra ATS alongwith Rajasthan ATS making startling revealations about the perpetrators of this act. It was worth noting that the mainstream media largely ignored this news which had important ramifications for the secular fabric of the country. ’The Statesman’ carried a front page news on 13 th April, followed by Asian Age which carried it on inner pages and ’Mail Today’ carried a three column story on its second page on 19 th April. Apart from NDTV none of the other channels bothered to report this incident.

The crux of the revealations was that the Ajmer blasts were the handiwork of the same Hindutva terrorist group ’Abhinav Bharat’. ’Mail Today’ carried the story in its report ’Malegaon accused had role in Ajmer’ (19 th April 2009) filed by Krishna Kumar :

The Maharashtra ATS believes the arrest of three suspected Hindutva terrorists who had planted bombs at Malegaon is key to solving the Hyderabad Mecca Masjid and the Ajmer Sharief blasts.

A senior ATS official said on Saturday the Malegaon blast was linked to these two incidents as the same group of men, belonging to arrested Hindutva terror suspect Lt. Col Srikant Purohit’s Abhinav Bharat, executed the other blasts, too.

"We have evidence that the same group of men associated with the Abhinav Bharat carried out all the three blasts.If we arrest the men who planted the bombs at Malegaon, the other two cases could easily be cracked" he said.

The three suspects are Shivnarain Kalsangra, Sameer Dange and Pravin Mutalik. The ATS is hunting for the trio who, it suspects, has fled to Nepal or is hiding near the Indo-Nepal border.

The statement of the ATS official is significant as the Jaipur police, too, are investigating Abhinav Bharat’s links to the Ajmer blast in October 2007.

The conversation between Purohit and Dayanand Pandey, who were arrested in connection with ghe Malegaon blast, revealed they were involved in other blasts, too.

While Pandey claimed the Hyderabad blast was carried out by Hindutva activists and not the ISI, Purohit boasted how he had carried out two successful operations like the Malegaon blasts in the past. The ATS believes the two operations could be the Mecca Masjid and the Ajmer Sharief blasts.

It need not be forgotten that when Malegaon II investigations were going on many names had come to the fore but the untimely death of Mr Hemant Karkare, the ATS chief of Maharashtra, in the terrorist attack in Bombay created a situation where all such people were allowed to go scot free. May it be the case of Dr R.P. Singh, a leading physician working in a hospital in Delhi, or may it be the case of Himani Savarkar, the president of Abhinav Bharat or for that matter the old Saffron hand - B.L. Sharma ’Prem’ - who is contesting elections for the Parliament from Delhi, none of them were interrogated. Himani Savarkar had given an important clue to the investigators during initial investigations, wherein she had divulged that the plan of the attack was hatched in her presence during the meeting in Indore.

There were reports that Togadia, the international secretary of VHP had funded Abhinav Bharat. According to CNN-IBN :

New Delhi: In a sensational development in the Malegaon blast case Lieutenant Colonel Srikant Prasad Purohit has claimed that Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Praveen Togadia was involved in funding Abhinav Bharat.

Abhinav Bharat is being investigated in connection with blast of September 29 in Malegaon in which at least six people were killed.

Lt Col Purohit, who has been arrested for masterminding the blast, reportedly claimed that Togadia provided the organisation with some funds to start out.

The claims were reportedly made while the Lt Col was being interrogated by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

He revealed that he received a call from a man who called himself the VHP’s Maharashtra chief to say that Togadia wanted to know who was investigating the Nanded blasts case.

However, Togadia has denied his involvement with Abhinav Bharat. He said the allegations are unfounded, criminally defamatory, malafide and politically motivated.

(With inputs from Sumon K Chakrabarti) Purohit claims Togadia funded Abhinav Bharat , CNN-IBN Published on Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 11:45, Updated on Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 12:53 in India section

It also need be reminded that a few other bomb blasts before Malegaon bomb blasts - which clearly showed involvement of Hindutva terrorist - were not even investigated properly. The bomb blast in Kanpur ( August 2007) which saw deaths of two RSS/Bajrang Dal activists- Rajeev Mishra and Bhupendra Arora - is a case in point.The Kanpur police had even claimed that the explosives seized from the site could have easily destroyed half of Kanpur. Police had also found maps of Muslim majority areas of Ferozabad from the house of one of the victims. How did the whole matter proceed ? Narco test was done on two acquaitenances of Rajiv and Bhupendra and they were left untouched. And the police did not even bother to apprehend/interrogate two vital contacts of the victims/perpetrators whose name had surfaced during the narco test of the two acquaitenances. One among them was a Professor in Kanpur IIT and the other one was a local leader of VHP.

Digvijay Singh, the ex chief minister of M.P. who has been in the forefront as far as divulging details/conspiracies involving Hindutva terrorists are concerned, had made an interesting point sometime back. He posed the question, should it be called mere coincidence that there are no bomb blasts after the arrests of Masterminds of Malegaon bomb blast.