The report had confirmed the complicity of the Hindu extremist group Abhinav, Indian Army officers of the ilk of Lieutenant Colonel Purohit, who actually supplied the military-grade explosive RDX, and other Hindu radicals, who had plotted and executed the heinous crimes against humanity as part of their campaign of ethnic cleansing of Muslims.
By Mohammad Jamil
It is a matter of routine for Indian leadership to accuse Pakistan for every act of terrorism in India whereas it has been proved many a time that invariably every act of terrorism was committed by India’s homegrown terrorists. All along, India had also been officially denying any link of Hindu extremists with the mayhem, death and carnage resulting from the blasts, and instead tried to shift the blame for the heinous crime to the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). Meanwhile, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Chief, Swami Aseemanand has confessed before a magistrate that he along with other Hindu activists was involved in the Malegon, Samjhota Express, Ajmer and Mecca Masjid bombings. This has knocked the bottom out of Indian Prime Minister’s pretense. Indian weekly Tehelka magazine stated that his confession has unraveled the inner workings of the Hindutva terror network.
Pakistan on Saturday asked India that it should not squander the opportunity and bring to justice the perpetrators of the bombing of Samjhota Express train in light of a RSS leader’s confession about the involvement of Sangh activists in the attack. “It took almost four years for the Samjhota Express investigations to come to this pass. We can only hope that no further time will be squandered in bringing the criminals to justice,” Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told Indian news agency PTI in a text message.
Basit was responding to a question on Pakistan’s reaction to Swami Aseemanand’s confession about the involvement of Sangh activists in several terror attacks, including the 2007 bombing of Samjhota Express that killed nearly 70 people, majority of them Pakistanis. Basit said. “We look forward to hearing from India officially. The relations of Pakistani victims of Samjhauta Express terrorist action are desperately awaiting their protracted trauma to come to an end,” he added.
Aseemananad’s statement made under Clause 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) is legally admissible evidence that makes it crucial for the investigators probing the terror bombings targeting Muslims. Aseemanand, who was arrested last year, also alleged that Indresh financed Joshi for the terror activities and provided him men to plant bombs. He also confessed to his own role in the terror plots and how he had motivated a bunch of RSS pracharaks and other Hindu radicals to carry out terror strikes at Malegaon, Hyderabad and the Ajmer Sharif shrine. Terming it as ‘Sanghi terrorism’, Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders should make their position clear in the wake of the latest revelations about involvement of an RSS activist in terror activities. He said that the government should ‘take strict action against people involved in terror and those who are supporting them’.
Last August, a report of Indian English daily ‘India Today’ had made a reference to official admission by an Indian investigating agency that Samjhota Express and the Jamia Masjid Delhi were on the hit list of Hindutva terrorists who were also involved in attacks on Ajmer Sharif, Malegaon and Makkah Masjid in Hyderabad. The Rajasthan Anti-Terrorism Squad’s 806-page charge sheet on the Ajmer blasts says the module behind these three targets had sinister plans to target the Samjhota Express and Jamia Masjid as well. However, the report stated that it was not clear though whether this terror cell could execute its plan. Over 60 Pakistanis died in the Samjhota Express blast on February 19, 2007, while earlier 13 people were wounded in blasts inside Jamia Masjid on April 14, 2006 – months after this module (according to the Rajasthan ATS) chose them as targets at a meeting chaired by Rashtriya Savak Sangh (RSS) leader Swami Aseemanand in February 2006.
Anyhow, after 44 months of dilly-dallying, India officially admitted in April 2010 that the Hindutva brigade of the extremist group Abhinav Bharat, of which Indian Army’s serving officer, Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit was an active member, was responsible for the bombings on board the Pakistan-bound Samjhota Express. The report had confirmed the complicity of the Hindu extremist group Abhinav Bharat, Indian Army officers of the ilk of Lieutenant Colonel Purohit, who actually supplied the military-grade explosive RDX, and other Hindu radicals, who had plotted and executed the heinous crimes against humanity as part of their campaign of ethnic cleansing of Muslims. Purohit and retired army Major Samir Kulkarni had also helped train the alleged bombers. In November 2008, when the ATS of Mumbai arrested Lieutenant Colonel Purohit for his involvment in the bombings, the BJP had denounced the ATS as traitors.
Bal Thackeray, the supremo of the Shiv Sena, a longtime ally of the BJP, had forthrightly accused the ATS of framing the Malegaon bombing accused. “What Pakistan was not able to do in the last 20 years,” declared Modi, “the Manmohan Singh government has achieved in just 20 days. They have succeeded in branding our soldiers as terrorists.” It has to be mentioned that Haimant Karkare, the head of the Mumbai ATS was assassinated by Indian commandos in the garb of fighting terrorists during the November 26, 2008 Mumbai attacks. There have been voices in India demanding proper investigation to unearth the culprits behind Malegaon blasts and the linkage between the army officers and Hindu extremist organizations. Putting an end to all speculations, the anti-terror branch of Mumbai Police had said that Army RDX was used and not supplied from across the border, which vindicated Pakistan’s position. There is now substantial evidence that Purohit procured 60 kg of RDX from Jammu and Kashmir in the year 2006, a part of which is suspected to have been used in Samjhota Express train explosion and Malegaon blasts, Maharashtra police told the court that Purohit gave a part of the RDX to one Bhagwan who was suspected to have used it in Samjhota Express blast. Whereas, America and the West are pressurizing Pakistan to cooperate with India and bring the masterminds behind Mumbai attacks to justice, they do not consider it worthwhile to tell India to bring those involved in Samjhota Express and other bombings to justice. India should stop accusing Pakistan of its linkage with Muslim organizations in India, where hundreds of innocent young boys are picked up and kept under illegal detentions. In addition to torture, arrests, harassment of their families, the families and victims are pressured into signing blank papers.
In 2007, Indian agencies had accused Harkat-ul-Jehad-i-Islami activist alias Bilal of being involved in Samjhota blasts when two coaches were completely gutted. India often names Muslim organizations, which in fact do not exist. Anyhow, on the demand of Human Rights Watch and other non-governmental organizations the Indian government acknowledged that Hindu extremist organizations were behind the terrorists’ activities. On 24th August 2008 two Bajrang Dal workers died while making bombs. In this age of information technology and media explosion, India could not hide the link between the army and the Hindu extremist organizations. With the above disclosures, India should stop accusing Pakistan for its backing of terrorists, and should look inward to stem the tide of terrorism in northern states. India should also stop atrocities on the people of Kashmir and honour its commitments of holding plebiscite under the aegis of the UN.
The writer is Lahore-based senior journalist.