Posts Tagged ‘Malegaon bomb blast’

THE CURIOUS TALE OF MUMBAI TERROR – BY RAVEENA HANSA

February 18, 2009

THE CURIOUS TALE OF MUMBAI TERROR

 

The Mumbai attacks need a thorough investigation

 

By Raveena Hansa

 

 

In all the confusion and horror generated by the ghastly terrorist attacks in Bombay, a dimension which has not received the attention it deserves is the circumstances surrounding the death of Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare and two of his colleagues, encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar and Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte. The major pattern of operations involved well-organised attacks on a few high-profile sites in Colaba – the Taj and Oberoi Hotels and Nariman House – while a parallel set of operations was centred on VT or CST station, Cama Hospital and the Metro cinema, in the middle of which is the police headquarters where Karkare worked. The latter is an area where foreigners are much less likely to be found.

Why is a Proper Investigation Crucial?

 

Hemant Karkare was engaged in unearthing a terror network with characteristics which had not been seen so far. The investigation started by tracing the motorcycle used to plant bombs in Malegaon in September 2008 to a Hindu Sadhvi, Pragyasingh Thakur; it later uncovered a cellphone conversation between her and Ramji, the man who planted the bombs, in which she asked why more people had not been killed. For the first time, the Indian state was conducting a thorough professional probe into a terror network centred on Hindu extremist organisations, this one with huge ramifications, some leading into military and bomb-making training camps and politicised elements in the army, others into organisations and political leaders affiliated to the BJP.  One of the most potentially explosive discoveries was that a serving military intelligence officer, Lt.Col. Srikant Purohit, had procured 60 kg of RDX from government supplies for use in the terrorist attack on the Samjhauta Express (the India-Pakistan ”Understanding’ train) in February 2007, in which 68 people were killed, the majority of them Pakistanis. Initially, militants of Lashkar-e-Taiba and other Islamist terror groups had been accused of carrying out the attack, but no evidence against them had been found.

 

The hostility generated by this investigation was enormous, with allegations that the suspects had been tortured and that Karkare was being used as a political tool, and demands that the ATS team should be changed. Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi and BJP Prime Ministerial candidate L.K. Advani accused him of being a ‘desh drohi’ or traitor, a charge that in India carries a death penalty. The Shiv Sena offered legal aid to those accused of the terrorist attack, and an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamna threatened that ‘the people will take action’ against the ATS officers involved in the Malegaon blast probe, adding that ‘On such officers we spit, we spit’.  In an interview shortly before he died, Karkare admitted he was hurt by the campaign against him. On November 26, just before the terrorist attack, the police in Pune received a call from an anonymous caller saying in Marathi that Karkare would be killed in a bomb blast within two or three days.

 

Just as attitudes to Karkare in society at large were polarised, with some admiring him as a hero – one Maulana went so far as to call him a ‘massiha (messiah) of Muslims’, an amazing tribute from a Muslim to a Hindu – while others hated him as a traitor worthy of death, attitudes within the police force too were polarised. For example, dismissed encounter specialist Sachin Vaze (who with three colleagues was charged with murder, criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence and concealment of the dead body in the Khwaja Yunus case shortly before the terrorist attack) was a member of the Shiv Sena who was actively engaged in the campaign against Karkare and in support of the Malegaonblast accused.

 

Hard Evidence or Pulp Fiction?

 

Given this background, and reports that are riddled with inconsistencies, it is not surprising that many residents of Bombay are asking questions about the exact circumstances of the death of Hemant Karkare and his colleagues; when A.R. Antulay raised the question in parliament, he was merely giving voice to a small part of the doubts entertained by many others. The earliest reports, presumably relayed from the police via the media, said that Karkare had been killed at the Taj, and Salaskar and Kamte at Metro. If this was not true, why were we told this? And why was the story later changed? Was it because it conflicted with eye-witness accounts? In the early hours of the 27th, under the heading ‘ATS Chief Hemant Karkare Killed: His Last Pics’, IBNlive showed footage first of Karkare putting on a helmet and bullet-proof vest, then cut to a shootout at Metro, where an unconscious man who looks like Karkare and wearing the same light blue shirt and dark trousers (but without any blood on his shirt or the terrible wounds we saw on his face at his funeral) is being pulled into a car by two youths in saffron shirts. The commentary says that Karkare ‘could well have fallen prey to just indiscriminate, random firing by the cops’, and also reports that there were two vehicles, a Toyota Qualis and Honda City, from which the occupants were firing indiscriminately.

Later we were given two accounts of the killings where the venue was shifted to a deserted lane without cameras or eye-witnesses. The first account is by the lone terrorist captured alive, claiming to be A.A.Kasab from Faridkot in Pakistan and a member of the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba. According to him, just two gunmen, he and Ismail (also from Pakistan), first attacked VT station, where they sprayed bullets indiscriminately. (Around 58 people were killed there; over one-third of them Muslims, and many more might have been killed if the announcer, Mr Zende, had not risked his life to direct passengers to safety.) They then went to Cama, a government hospital for women and children used mainly by the poor. Initially, according to the police, Kasab claimed he and Ismail had killed Karkare, Salaskar and Kamte.   Later, in his ‘confession,’ he claimed that while coming out of the hospital, he and Ismail saw a police vehicle passing and hid behind a bush; then another vehicle passed them and stopped some distance away. A police officer got out and started firing at them, hitting Kasab on the hand so that he dropped his AK47, but Ismail opened fire on the officers in the car until they stopped firing. There were three bodies in the vehicle, which Ismail removed, and then drove off in it with Kasab.

 

The other account is by police constable Arun Jadhav. According to him, Karkare, Salaskar, Kamte, a driver and four police constables including himself were driving down the alley from VT to the back entrance of Cama (barely a ten-minute drive) in their Toyota Qualis to check on injured police officer Sadanand Date when two gunmen emerged from behind trees by the left side of the road and sprayed the vehicle with bullets, killing all its inmates except Jadhav. They then dragged out the three officers, hijacked the vehicle, drove to Metro junction and then Mantralaya in South Bombay, abandoned it when a tyre burst, and grabbed another car.

 

According to police accounts, they then drove to Girgaum, where Kasab was injured and arrested and his companion killed.

These accounts raise more questions than they answer. Kasab claimed that a band of ten terrorists landed and split up into twos, going to various destinations, he and his companion going to VT. He said they wanted to blow up the Taj, as in the attack on the Marriott in Islamabad; yet we are told that only 8kg of RDX were found at the Taj, and even that was not used; contrast this with 600kg of RDX and TNT used to blow up the Marriott: could they really have expected to blow up the Taj? Given that the rest of the operation was so systematic, why did they plant two bombs in taxis to go off in random locations, one in Dockyard Road and another in Vile Parle, 25 kilometres away? He said that the terrorists planned to use their hostages as a means of escape, yet there was no attempt at any time to do that; at other times, he also said they had been instructed to fight to the death.   He says he is a labourer from Faridkot near Multan and only studied up to Class IV, but it is reported that he speaks fluent English. Several people have pointed out that the pictures of him in VT show him wearing a saffron wrist-band, a Hindu custom, and police later revealed that he could not recite a single verse from the Koran, which any child growing up in a Muslim family would have been able to do. Indeed, a thoughtful article on the soc.culture.jewish group argued that the terrorists were not Muslims but mercenaries, given their appearance and behaviour (especially their reported consumption of alcohol and drugs), pointing out that they did not need to disguise themselves, since Muslims who look like Muslims are plentiful in Bombay, and would not attract undue attention.

 

During his interrogation, Kasab said that he and eight of the operatives had done a reconnaissance trip to Bombay a few months back, pretending to be students and renting a room at Colaba market, which is close to Nariman House. It is extremely hard for Pakistani nationals to get Indian visas, and they are kept under close surveillance by the police; it is also most unlikely that the Indian immigration authorities would be fooled by forged passports of another country. In that case, the Indian immigration authorities would have visa applications of nine of the terrorists including Kasab, and could match the photographs in them to those of the terrorists: has this been done? Later, Kasab changed his story and said that the team who carried out reconnaissance was different from the team who had carried out the attacks.

 

The events in VT and Cama and the back lane also put a question mark over his story. According to witnesses, two gunmen started firing at the mainline terminus in VT at 21.55 on Wednesday night, but at precisely the same time, according to CCTV footage, two gunmen began an assault on the suburban terminus.   If the first account is true, there were four gunmen at the station: where did the other two come from, and where did they go? We are shown video footage, claiming to be CCTV but without the timeline of normal CCTV footage, of Kasab and Ismail wandering around the parking lot near the mainline terminus. This surely cannot be before the shootout, since the station is completely deserted; and after the shootout, Kasab and Ismail are supposed to have escaped via the footbridge from Platform 1 of the suburban station on the other side of VT: this, again, suggests there were four gunmen. Even if Kasab and Ismail had been shown photographs of Karkare, Salaskar and Kamte before they embarked on their trip, how could they possibly have identified the police officers in a dark alley in the dead of night according to Kasab’s first story? According to his later confession, a police officer got out of the vehicle and started firing first, injuring him; how, then, did Ismail manage to kill the rest by himself?

 

Witnesses in Cama hospital say the terrorists spoke fluent Marathi, and this report in two Marathi papers (Maharashtra Times and Navakaal of  28 /12/ 2008) has been confirmed. The gunmen killed two guards in uniform, spared a third, who was in civilian dress and begged for his life saying he was the husband of patient, demanded water from an employee in the staff quarters and then killed him. They then appear to have made a beeline for the 6th floor (which was empty) and the terrace, taking with them the liftman, Tikhe. 15-30 minutes later, six to eight policemen arrived, and another employee took them up to the 6th floor. The policemen threw a piece of steel up to the terrace, whereupon Tikhe came running down and told them there were two terrorists on the terrace. A fierce gun-battle ensued for 30 to 45 minutes, in which ACP Sadanand Date was injured. Panic-stricken patients and staff in the maternity ward on the 5th floor barricaded the door; nurses instructed the women to breast-feed their babies to keep them quiet, and one woman, who was in the middle of labour, was told to hold back the birth; but they were not invaded. Eventually the gunmen appear to have escaped, it is not clear how.  If they were Kasab and Ismail, then these two must have been fluent Marathi speakers. And why would they have taken up positions on the terrace? Was it because it overlooks the lane in which Karkare, Salaskar and Kamte were later supposedly killed?

 

The other account is equally dubious. In his first account, Jadhav said Karkare was in the second row of the Qualis, while in the second he was supposed to be in the front row with Kamte. In the second account, Salaskar was initially sitting behind the driver, but then asked the driver to slow down and got behind the wheel himself: is it plausible that an experienced encounter specialist would deliberately make himself into a sitting duck like this when they were in hot pursuit of terrorists? In the first account they were supposed to be going to check up on their injured colleague Sadanand Date, but in the second were supposed to be looking for a red car in which they had been told the gunmen were travelling. If the report about the red car was a decoy to lure them into an ambush, it is important to know who told them that the terrorists were in a red car. If the gunmen were firing from the left side, as Jadhav claimed, how was Karkare hit three times in the chest while Jadhav himself got two bullets in his right arm? In fact, the only vegetation in that part of the lane is on the right side, and is pinned to the wall by chest-high wire netting; it would be necessary to climb over the netting to hide behind it, and climb over again to come out: impossible under the circumstances.  Witnesses say only two bodies were found at the spot next morning: what happened to the third officer? Who were the three constables killed?

 

How did two terrorists manage to kill six police personnel, including Karkare and Kamte who he said were armed with AK47s and Salaskar, an encounter specialist, when one terrorist was later captured and the other killed by policemen armed only with two rifles and lathis? Assistant Police Inspector Ombale was killed in that encounter, but his colleagues survived. A DNA report on 2 December said that sub-inspector Durgude, who had been posted in front of St Xavier’s College, between Cama Hospital and the exit point of the back lane onto Mahapalika Road, saw two young men whom he took to be students and called out to warn them that there was firing at Cama. When they ignored him, he approached them, upon which one of them turned an AK47 on him and killed him. If Kasab and Ismail were there, who was firing inside Cama? Again, it is evident that at least four terrorists, and possibly more, were involved in this operation.

 

There was also an intriguing report in DNA on 28 November saying that Anand Raorane, a resident of a building opposite Nariman House, heard sounds of celebration from the terrorists there when the news of Karkare getting killed was flashed on TV: isn’t that strange? The same report quoted a resident of Nariman House and a local shopkeeper who said that the terrorists had purchased large quantities of food and liquor before the attack, suggesting that more than two of them were planning to occupy the place for a long time. Eye-witnesses in St Xavier’s saw a man shot and lying on the pavement in front of the college around 12.30 a.m., while about three gunmen stood over him: who was that? Various reports said that two to eight terrorists were captured alive. Now there is only one in police custody: what happened to the other(s)?

 

A careful scrutiny of all the reports available so far suggests, to this writer anyway, that the killing of Karkare was a premeditated act executed by his self-proclaimed enemies, some of whom had prior intelligence of the attack on the hotels and planned their own attack to coincide with it. The operation in Cama, in particular, seems to have had the sole objective of luring Karkare into the lane where he was later reportedly killed. A.R. Antulay’s demand for a probe into the killing was widely supported, even though the same parties who were earlier vilifying and threatening Karkare responded by baying for his blood. P. Chidambaram’s clarification that it was by chance that Karkare, Salaskar and Kamte happened to be travelling in the same vehicle does not explain any of the other anomalies: Why did the terrorists go into Cama? If they were intending to slaughter people ruthlessly as they did in VT, why did they desist – did they have a sudden crisis of conscience? If they intended to create a hostage crisis, why did they go to the 6th floor and terrace, where there were no patients or staff? On the other hand, if they were looking for a getaway vehicle, wouldn’t they have been more likely to find it on the road than on the terrace of Cama? How did these Pakistanis learn to speak Marathi so fluently? And are we really expected to believe that they could defy the laws of nature by being in two places at the same time, engaged in a shootout at Cama while at the same time gunning down sub-inspector Durgude outside St Xavier’s?

 

The Objective: Shutting Down Terrorist Networks

 

These are just a few of the numerous questions being asked by vigilant Bombayites who find themselves thoroughly dissatisfied with the information that has been doled out. These are citizens who understand that their security depends on identifying Islamist terrorist networks in Pakistan and shutting them down, but feel it is equally important to their security to identify and shut down Hindutva terrorist networks in India, which have been responsible for the majority of terrorist attacks in Maharashtra, and possibly the whole country, in the past five years. Why are they so cynical about the possibility of a genuine professional investigation? The answer is that we have too much bitter experience of investigations in which innocent people (usually Muslims) are rounded up, tortured and even killed, while the real culprits are allowed to go free. Interpol chief Robert Noble’s amazing revelation on December 23 that India had not shared any information about the terrorists with it, despite its offer to use Interpol’s extensive resources to assist in the investigation, can only fuel the suspicion that the information dished out by the police to the public via the media is not of a quality that would be acceptable to a truly professional police agency. Karkare broke with this dismal record, but now he is dead. When a person who has been vilified, slandered and threatened with death is killed in suspicious circumstances, it is imperative that a proper investigation should be carried out soon, before too much evidence can be manufactured and/or destroyed. If Kasab aka Iman disappears or is assassinated like Lee Harvey Oswald, or is executed, that could only be seen as evidence of a cover-up.

 

The government and people of Pakistan have as much interest as the government and people of India in eliminating the terror networks that have killed President Asif Ali Zardari’s wife Benazir Bhutto and thousands of others in both Pakistan and India. The terrorists, on the other hand, be they Islamist or Hindutva, have a common interest in destroying secularism, democracy and peace within and between the two countries. That is their precise agenda. Pakistani politicians had offered a joint investigation into the terrorist attacks, a far more sensible suggestion than belligerent statements by some Indians accusing Pakistan of harbouring terrorists who are killing Indians, which led us to the brink of war. It should be obvious that a military conflict between India and Pakistan, advocated by the Shiv Sena, would be disastrous for both countries economically, while a nuclear war, which might ensue if extremist forces captured power in both countries, would have unthinkable consequences. If the Indo-Pakistan peace process is halted, as L.K. Advani advocates, the terrorists would have won.

 

Indeed, without a joint investigation, the terrorist networks behind this outrage can never be uncovered: how else could the names and addresses in Pakistan revealed by Kasab be followed up to the satisfaction of all parties? Interpol could act as a coordinating agency, but would not be able to follow up information about the terrorists unless it is provided by the Indian authorities. The Indian government owes it to the memory of Karkare, Salaskar and Kamte, who died fighting terrorism of all hues, to establish a credible account of exactly where, when and how they were killed, and identify their killers; unlike the well-known female TV anchor and others who berated Antulay for ‘helping Pakistan,’ we do not have to agree that one has to be a moron in order to be a good Indian! The government also owes it to us, the public, who are the prime targets of all terrorist attacks, to carry out a credible investigation which identifies and puts behind bars all the mass murderers involved in this and other attacks.

 

(Ends)

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http://www.hindu.com/nic/dossier.htm



Online edition of India’s National Newspaper


Mumbai Terror attacks – Dossier of evidence

This is a scanned copy of the 69-page dossier of material stemming from the ongoing investigation into the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 26-29, 2008 that was handed over by India to Pakistan on January 5, 2009.

Evidence 1

Evidence 2

 

Evidence 3

Some pages from the dossier were originally posted twice in another format. These have been removed. The complete dossier in the possession of The Hindu consists of 69 pages.

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Malegaon Bomb Blast: Taped phone conversation of the alleged ‘conspirators’ : The Indian Express

January 21, 2009
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/cat-is-out-of-the-bag…we-have-to-be-m…/413399/

‘Cat is out of the bag…we have to be meticulous…cautious’
Posted: Jan 21, 2009 at 0338 hrs IST
SUKANYA SHETTY & SMITA NAIR
MUMBAI: For Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit and retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay, two of the 11 chargesheeted in the Malegaon bomb blast case today by theMaharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad, news that they were apparently hoping would never become public — and lead to their arrest days later — came on October 23 last year.

It was the day The Indian Express first reported that the ATS was believed to have cracked the September 29 bomb blast case and suspected it to be the work of a Hindu extremist group based in Indore. Later that day, the ATS also announced that it had arrested Sadhvi Pragyasingh Thakur and two of her accomplices in connection with the attack which killed six Muslims during the fasting month of Ramzan.

The news is believed to have triggered hectic telephonic consultations between Upadhyay and Purohit, now named the main conspirator in the chargesheet. The alleged conversations, however, were not private. Their phones had been tapped by the ATS and all the chatter recorded. Transcripts of the calls, among several others, now form a part of the chargesheet and the ATS expects they will play a big role in nailing the case.

The Indian Express is in possession of transcript copies of some of those conversations between Purohit, who was in Madhya Pradesh, and Pune resident Upadhyay. The duo frequently refer to a “Mr Singh” in most of the calls, which ATS sources said was their code for Sadhvi Pragyasingh, based on the interrogation of the suspects.

The first of the transcripts are from a call made at 11.23 am., which lasted 5 minutes and 38 seconds:

 

Purohit: Sir, have you read today’s headlines…

Upadhyay: I have read about Hindu Jagran Manch of Indore being blamed for Modasa and Malegaon blast.

Purohit: That is Singh sahib.

Upadhyay: OK.

Purohit: That means the cat is out of the bag now as far as Mr Singh is concerned.

 

During this conversation, the two men discuss how much the police might know from the information that has been shared with the media and Purohit goes on to ask Upadhyay to get a new mobile SIM card for himself.

 

Purohit:…so what I am suggesting to you is, Sir…

Upadhyay: Yes.

Purohit: If you can kindly procure one more SIM for yourself.

Upadhyay: One more…

Purohit: SIM card.

Upadhyay: OK.

Purohit: Which may not be your own.

Upadhyay: OK.

Purohit: who karle turanth sir (Please do this immediately sir)

Upadhyay: theek hai, dekhta hoon (ok, let me see)

Purohit: Yes, Sir.

Upadhyay: Anything you suspect?

Purohit: No sir, but let us be very meticulous now.

Upadhyay: Yes, we have to be…

 

ATS sources say the two men were also through the day allegedly trying to find out more information about the progress of the case and exchanging notes. Excerpts from one such call which lasted 10 mins and 59 seconds and was made at 5:54 p.m.:

 

Purohit: Some developments, Singh has sung a song quite a bit.

Upadhyay: OK.

Purohit: Situation is of tension. Your name is not figuring there.

Upadhyay: OK.

Purohit: My name is likely to figure.

Upadhyay: OK.

Purohit: This is the last phone call from this phone. I will give you one more number jo maine kal aapko jisse phone kiya tha (from which I had called you yesterday).

Upadhyay: OK.

Purohit: Uske baad main switch off ho jaoonga (I will switch off after that)

Upadhyay: OK.

Purohit: I tell everyone…not to talk to me.

Upadhyay: OK.

 

Later in the same conversation, Upadhyay tells Purohit that police were also making inquiries about him.

 

Upadhyay: See, when the chap has come to me, my name has also figured. There is no doubt about it because otherwise why should anybody come at my place.

Purohit: Yes, but sir, aise hai na, ek to aapka naam aaya hoga (your name must have figured) because of organisation head karke.

Upadhyay: Maybe, whatever be the reason, but checking has started.

Purohit: Yes.

Upadhyay: Checking has started means we have to be cautious.

Purohit: Very much, Sir.

 

Again in this conversation, the two men talk about the Sadhvi and wonder how much information she may have revealed, according to the transcripts.

 

Upadhyay: My suggestion would be that she had taken your name, it is confirmed now.

Purohit: It is confirmed now.

Upadhyay: OK, fine, she has taken your name but they will not be able to trace you immediately, that is for sure.

Purohit: Sir.

Upadhyay: It appears that she might tell the location if she knows.

Purohit: Sir.

Upadhyay: That you are here and there or whatever but then your right name is difficult so immediately it cannot be done. He has changed his number. Sudhakar. So it does not appear that they will be able to directly contact you. So that much safety factor is there and thirdly you are not in the organisation as such.

Purohit: Sir.

Upadhyay: So that much safety factor is still there but naturally some sort of problem cannot be avoided

Purohit: Sir

Upadhyay: Now, well, to tackle it, I suggested that we have a lawyer. Because I was suspecting and something or the other trouble will get created unnecessary and we will have to sort it out.

 

In an earlier conversation during the day, during a call made at 4.12 p.m. which lasted 5 minutes and 18 seconds, the serving and former army officer suspect the hand of the Nationalist Congress Party behind the news. They think the NCP, whose leader R R Patil was then Maharashtra Deputy CM and Home Minister, had leaked the information to divert attention from the furore over Maharashtra Navnirman Sena activists attacking north Indian migrants who had come to Mumbai to appear in railway job exams.

Upadhyay was arrested five days later on October 28 and Lt. Col. Purohit on November 5.

 

 

Malegaon Blast: Crime Trail of Terror – By Mustafa Khan

November 19, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

Malegaon Blast: Crime Trail of Terror

By Mustafa Khan

As investigations into recent bomb blasts are still underway and it is difficult to prove what we write howsoever we may try to be objective there is still the emergent need for introspection that cannot be denied to journalism. Whatever you read between the lines may open up a new vista which may have till now been choked up by the ‘dumping of toxic feelings” by leaders and religious biased groups.  Much of the coverage on Malegaon is bound to generate heat in debates and discussions where cool-headed analysis in the national interest is required.

The evolving scenario makes one wonder as to what has been happening when we were ‘sleeping’. Therefore we walk a tight rope in dealing with bomb blasts and the cases of Sonal Shah, now on the advisory committee of President elect Barack Obama.

It is reported in a Marathi daily of Malegaon that Sadhvi Pragyasingh has confessed that foreign fund was used in the bomb blast in Malegaon. This contrasts with what has been reported that Lt Col Purohit had misappropriated military intelligence fund.  Both the sources of funding are serious and dangerous for the country. They involve fraud nationally and internationally that goes against the grain of the army that has had world opinion on its sides till recently as far as discipline is concerned. Therefore the necessity of each one accused in terrorism facing scrutiny at all levels and from all angles.

Purohit had taken Rs 20,000 from Mr. Shirish Yeshwant Date who had family acquaintance with him for getting him licence for arms.  Purohit supplied false information by giving bogus documents stating that Date lived in the defence colony of Deolali, Nasik. This fraudulent means of getting money is debauchery.

Mystery surrounds the arrest of Sudhakar Chaturvedi who was arrested from Dadar railway station on November 4 with a country-made revolver and a fake army identity card. If Purohit could give fake residence certificate that Date lived in defence colony of Deolali he could provide fake army identity card as well. It is reported that he not only knew the Malegaon conspiracy but was very much present in Malegaon itself.

BJP is the only political party that boasts a separate retired army personnel cell. One such retiree is the chief minister of Uttarakhand B C Khanduria retired Major General.  Another retired officer and BJP member, Sabyasachi Bagchi proudly says that RSS develops the character of the young people. It is this character building that makes them good soldier. If this were so why has the training of RSS gone haywire in the case of Purohit? Of greater concern is the interference of the party and its ideology in the armed forces through this association. SS Raikar of Bhonsala military school is also a retired person from the army. He allowed the school premises for terror, hatching conspiracy as well as arms training and providing accommodation.

The former governor of Jammu and Kashmir SK Sinha has allegedly allowed Dayanand Pandey to stay in the official residence.

Why have these army men behaved the way they have done? A neutral source retired Lt Gen V.R. Raghavan, former director-general of military operations blames “ultra nationalism of a narrow kind” responsible for the criminality of the contaminated serving and retired army officers. Thus what Bagchi says is eyewash.

No less is the case of Sameer Kulkarni who had taken deposit money from a customer to provide him a computer. Failing to supply he issued a cheque as the customer threatened him. The cheque bounced. The police registered a case against Kulkarni.

Dayanand Pandey’s first appearance in the court on November 17 is of grave import as he broke down and begged that the court should rather hang him but not touch his laptop. What is there in the laptop that he should be so much concerned about it? A popular news channel probed the matter and believes that the Pandey must have stored nude pictures of women and great men of his acquaintance. This bonanza of pornography is bound to shame him along with all those who figure in the collection. The police again used the old technique of retrieving the deleted files for clues. Or is the suspicion real that there is similar delay here as it was in the case of Purohit’s laptop. The delay in finding the laptop was a ruse behind which lies the real intention of deleting the more serious files? Pandey had harboured criminals in his ashram in Dhand, Ahmadabad. It is also believed that Ramji Kalsangar alias Ramnarayan Singh was sheltered there. On Friday November 14 2008 Dayanand Pandey committed perjury by saying that he was not Dayanand Pandey but Amritanand Dwivedi. He has other aliases as well and that is why the Kanpur judicial magistrate Mukesh Kumar Singh on Thursday noted the multiple names adopted by Amritanand while granting transit remand to ATS as he felt certain that Dayanand Pandey, Sudhakar Dwivedi and Swami Amritanand Dev were aliases of the same person who heads the Sharada Sarvadnya Peeth in Jammu.

 

His craze to false identity is venal as he was in Gorakhpur in 2006 at the invitation of BJP MLA Shiv Pratap Shukla as Jagatguru Shankracharya. He fled when a man asked about his identity. Murkier still was his craze to meet devotees only at night when he was in Faridabad staying at Mata Mandir as self styled Jagatguru Swami Amritanand Devtirth Maharaj.

 

He also committed embezzlement as president of Sharda Peeth of Jammu where he called himself Swami Amritanand. He was thrown out of the Peeth. But he was so Machiavellian that he soon started Sharda Sarvgya Peeth of his own and called himself Swami Amritanand Dev Teerth.

A fuller list of his crimes should make the BJP and RSS and other right wing affiliates of the Sangh Parivar sit up and face the nation to clarify whether they still want identity based politics and governance. Will they still misappropriate funds raised in the US in the name of relief and divert it to buy pouches of food and wine and distribute cash for those who perpetrated the pogroms in Gujarat 2002 with connivance of the government of Narendra Modi?

Ramesh Upadhya’s stalking a woman and giving her phone number on website as a call girl and also cheating the woman through the matrimonial site by showing that he was 37 and not 57 have a damaging effect on the kind of people in the Sangh Parivar.

These disrepute people under prosecution threaten to lower the position of India in the world opinion thanks to the Sangh Parivar’s involvement. If a serving lieutenant colonel of the Indian army is supplying 60 kg of RDX for terrorism that too against visiting Pakistanis then in what way are the ISI and extreme Hindu groups different in ideology and practice. On November 15 the ATS claims that the bomb blast in Malegaon is linked to the February 7, 2007 blasts on Samjhauta Express carrying Pakistanis because RDX was used in both the incidents. But two days later it allegedly changes its stance under the goading of the Intelligence Bureau. All through the government of India has been blaming the ISI of Pakistan for all the blasts in the country and especially the Samjhauta Express blasts. As to the foreign funds used in Malegaon attack it is necessary to look at how the funds end up in India, the real end users. There are documented proofs that huge amounts of money collected in the US go into the accounts of VHP and other conglomerates of RSS. Sonal Shah and her father Ramesh have been in the core group of VHPA [America] and have been instrumental in sending fund under the name of Eklavya Vidyalaya for backward tribals. But the real use is not to ameliorate the lot of the tribal people by educating them, it is rather to convert them to Hinduism if they are animists or have taken to Christianity. In the recent anti- Christian riots in Kandhamal of Orissa and other parts of India it is this fund that played havoc as it did in 2002 against the Muslims of Gujarat. The backward community of Charras was roped in by the RSS to wreak “vengeance” on the Muslims by slaughtering them. This confession is caught on camera and no action has been taken as if that was not terrorism.

George Fernandes had asked the army chief, the Air Marshal, and the Admiral to report the Kargil war to MPs. When the three went to the place it was the party office of BJP. That is how the Sangh parivar interferes in the affairs of the armed forces, directly.

 

 

The Curious/Criminal Case of Sonal Shah…and another instance of RSS involvement in Bomb Blasts in India – By Amaresh Misra and the All India Patriotic Forum (AIPF) Team

November 15, 2008

 

The Curious/Criminal Case of Sonal Shah…and another instance of RSS involvement in Bomb Blasts in India

 

By Amaresh Misra and the All India Patriotic Forum (AIPF) Team

 

 

          The euphoria over Obama’s election is still not over; yet secular Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in the US are livid over one major transgression committed by President-elect Obama’s transition team. According to news reports, Sonal Shah, a successful US based Indian-Gujarati businesswomen and founder of Indicorps—an organization active in several sectors, facilitating exchanges between Indian and US mainly software professionals—with links to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), two notorious, Hindu supremacist fascist outfits of India, has been appointed as one of the advisers to the new President-elect.

          This might have gone unnoticed were it not for the spirited defense mounted by Sonal Shah’s supporters, mostly RSS and VHP people in India. In fact the Secretary of VHPA (America) has gone on record stating that Sonal Shah was a member of the organization but that her membership has expired. Overlooked by the English media, several statements of RSS leaders have appeared in the Hindi Press. One truly bizarre assertion made by an Indore based RSS leader in the Dainik Bhaskar goes on to “extol Ms. Shah for belonging to that super breed of Hindus who have entered the haloed precincts of the US Government and who now should do all in her power to see to it that minority appeasement ends in the US too!”

          Minority appeasement in the US! Is it not true that America has elected a minority President? So the American electorate has committed the greatest sin—appeasement of minorities! And the RSS leader of Indore is hoping that minority appeasement would end through a Hindu fundamentalist working in the office of—hold your breath—a super-product of minority appeasement!

          Another gem comes from Kota, a small town in Rajasthan. Here in an issue of Rajasthan Patrika, two RSS and VHP leaders have in a joint statement hailed Sonal Shah’s appointment in Obama’s team. They have gone on to state explicitly that “no matter what—let the Indian Congress Government appease minorities. President Obama has shown determination by appointing a proud member of the VHP, the daughter of Ramesh Shah, a very senior VHP leader, in his team. After all, American NRIs have really helped the Hindu cause here by sending us money. In fact during the Ram Mandir movement, they were very generous. Then that Masjid was demolished; which was something very good. Shri Ramesh Shah was in the forefront of rejoicing after the Masjid was demolished. Now his daughter has been anointed and it is good for Hindus the world over”.

          The third `praise’ appears in Dainik Jagran, a rabid Hindi newspaper, known for stoking the fires of bloodthirsty mobs out to kill Muslims right after the December 6th Babari Masjid demolition; and known also for obliquely supporting Narendra Modi at the height of Gujarat riots. While commenting on the Sonal Shah phenomenon, RSS and VHP leaders have “condemned Muslim groups agitating against the appointment of Sonal Shah. These leaders (Muslim) are all pseudo secularists—they do not know ABC of secularism. They are being joined by pseudo-secular Hindus. The fact is that the Congress Government is arresting Hindus for the Malegaon blasts. The Government arrested Saadhvi Pragya Singh and then they are now questioning Mahant Adityanath, the great BJP leader of Gorakhpur. Sonal Shah’s appointment has sent the right message. In India, Hindus are being persecuted while in America they are being felicitated”.

          However, the same Dainik Jagran issue carries another statement by Swami Omnkaranand, a disciple of Jagadguru Swami Swarupanand, the anti-RSS Shankaracharya of Dwarika and Badrinath. While condemning Saadhvi Pragya Singh and the serving and ex-army officers accused in the Malegaon blasts, Omkaranand has branded `Hindu terrorists’ as irreligious (adharmik) non-Hindus. When asked about Sonal Shah, Swami Omkaranand said that he “did not know much about Sonal Shah—but he knew Ramesh Shah, her father”. When quizzed further, Omkaranand said that “Ramesh Shah had tried to seek an appointment with the Dwarika Shankaracharya—if I remember correctly he was accompanied by his daughter and her name was Sonal Shah. The Dwarika Shankaracharya met them—and the daughter and the father both requested the Shankaracharya to support the VHP. Then the Shankaracharya got angry—he lashed out at them and narrated an incident wherein he (the Shankaracharya) had a debate with Golwalkar, the RSS leader. The argument was about the status of Lord Ram—Golwalkar was saying that he did not consider Ram to be a God, only a Mahapurush; then the Shankaracharya replied that this is what Ravana used to say—so now in which category is Golwalkar who calls himself a true representative of Hindu interests, has gone on to stand?”

          Swami Omkaranand further elaborated that “the Shankacharya asked Ramesh and Sonal Shah to leave the room as he considers the VHP, BJP and the RSS adharmik who have killed innocent Muslims in Ayodhya and Gujarat. Then Ramesh Shah tried offering some money to the Shankaracharya upon which the situation became very ugly and the Shankaracharya Sevaks would have given a sound thrashing to Ramesh Shah if he had not escaped”.

          When did Sonal and Ramesh go to meet the Dwarika Shankaracharya? The reference to Gujarat riots reveals that it was after that event—so if Swami Omkaranand is to be believed, Sonal Shah visited Dwarika to plead for the VHP, after the infamous riots in which thousands of Muslims were massacred and murdered brutally by VHP backed mobsThis proves that Sonal Shah is lying when she says that she had never been a member of the VHP—here she is trying to plead for the VHP with her father. This also casts a long shadow of doubt on the statement issued by the Shah family that they had condemned Gujarat riots.

          The VHP-RSS-BJP seems to be a hydra headed organization with tentacles everywhere. They are supposed to have infiltrated the Indian and the US administration in a big way—the fact is that Sonal Shah has also been involved Ekal Vidyalas, the RSS run scheme of single teacher schools in tribal areas in India. The Ekal Vidayala has a full functioning unit in the US where they collect money in the name of tribal welfare and then direct it towards VHP activities in Gujarat and the rest of India. A recent UNI Press report categorically states:

 

          In the run up to the recent arrests of Saadhvi Pragya Singh and serving and ex-army officers in the Malegaon blast case, a whole lot of RSS run or affiliated organizations are under the scanner of the ATS Mumbai. There is an alleged link of several organizations based in the US. The ATS Mumbai has confidential reports on several US based organizations. They are alleged to have sent money to the RSS and VHP during the Gujarat riots. These organizations work under several heads in the US and change their identities frequently. They include `Overseas Friends of the BJP’, the Ekal Vidyalaya, the Hindu American Foundation and the IDRA and several such outfits which keep mushrooming. There is also an allegation that the RSS related groups have ganged up with Christian Right-Wing groups to destabilize the US Government.”             

         

          Despite denying her links with VHP, Sonal Shah has not denied links to Ekal Vidayalayas and other organizations. Her father continues to a leader of the Overseas Friends of the BJP. These organizations are accused to funding riots, pogroms and terror in India. What is her answer to this?

          Then there comes the article from Vijay Prashad, the head of International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford CT. Prashad mentions that “the Asian American Hotel Owner’s Association AAHOA supported Modi in Madison Square Garden with empty chairs. Ms. Sonal Shah is a supporter of and gets support from the same organization”.

          Vijay Prashad goes on to add:

 

“The BJP, the party in power during the Gujarat killings, but also a host of organizations known as the Sangh Parivar… these include groups whose U. S. affiliate drew in Sonal Shah’s parents, and to which she also gave her time and energy. This is not in the distant past. In 2004, while at the CAP, Sonal Shah gave the keynote address in Miami for the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of the USA. The Ekal Vidyalaya is an organization given over to`education’ in tribal areas of India. It is the policy of the Ekal Vidyalaya to organize tribal peoples into the “Hindu community” and to eschew the Christianity and animism that many practice. The climate created by the Ekal Vidyalaya and the VHP in the tribal areas of India led to the recent massacres of Indian Christians. Sonal Shah’s father Ramesh is in charge of the Ekal Vidyalaya in the U. S. She didn’t take the time in Miami to raise these concerns. Rather she talked about her Indicorps project, which has sent volunteers to work with groups like Ekal Vidyalaya. The language of social justice and cultural rights work well to cover over the fascism that is otherwise being promoted”.

 

          A new instance of RSS involvement in the recent Assam blasts has come to light:      

 

“ULFA on Tuesday alleged that RSS was behind the deadly October 30 blasts in Assam and ethnic violence in Bodo Territorial Administered Districts (BTAD). The blast claimed 85 lives while 55 people died in the ethnic violence in BTAD areas. In an e-mail statement, ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa further alleged that Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarmah was an agent of RSS and was blaming ULFA to cover up his involvement in the blasts. “Whether Sarmah is in Congress or AGP, he is in reality an RSS agent and to cover up his involvement is making misleading statements like ULFA and Jehadi are the same,” he said. Rajkhowa claimed the ULFA has enough evidence to prove RSS’s involvement in the October 30 blasts in four towns of Assam, including Guwahati. “A few months ago, the ULFA in its mouthpiece Freedom had mentioned about the secret directive sent by RSS to carry out blasts in different parts of the country but the state government took no steps in this direction,” he said. Moreover, the recent blasts in different parts of the country and the subsequent arrests have also proved that RSS and BJP are involved in blasts in states ruled by non-BJP governments, Rajkhowa alleged. He said that ULFA has never targeted indigenous Assamese population and has no links with jehadi or any other religious fundamentalist organization”.

 

A second instance of RSS involvement has surfaced in Kerala as recently as 11th November 2008:

            In yet another mysterious bomb explosion, two RSS activists were killed near Athyarkavu temple at Cheruvancherry here on Monday morning. Those killed were RSS karyavahak Kanhan Pradeepan, 38, and another worker Lalaveetil Dili alias Dileesh, 35. Pradeepan was an accused in the Ashna murder attempt case. Incidentally, the court had only announced a couple of days ago that the judgment in the Ashna case would be pronounced on November 14. According to the police, the explosion might have taken place while the two were engaged in making bombs. The impact of the blast was such that their bodies were blown to pieces. Burnt human flesh and mutilated organs were strewn in and around a well near the temple. Parts of the body of Pradeepan had to be scooped out of the well. Locals who rushed to the spot could find only the charred remains of the bodies. It was festival time at Athyarkavu and there were devotees at the temple late into Sunday night. The area is supposedly a BJP-RSS stronghold and the temple “under the control” of the latter. Reliable sources say the RSS workers were killed not while making the bombs but while shifting the bombs, kept in a hedge near the temple, to another place. The police sources, however, refused to confirm this version. The incident was as much a shock to the local people as it was startling to the police who are busy investigating terrorists links of youths in the district. Shops and other commercial establishments remained closed in Cheruvancherry town and vehicles kept off the road in the area following the incident. Forensic experts were trying to analyse the cause of the explosion, and police officials were camping in the area”.

 

          South India and West India have emerged as a major experiment ground of the RSS Sangh Parivar. In February 2008 the Tamil Nadu Police arrested activists of the Hindu Munani, a RSS outfit for planting bombs in the RSS Headquarters in Tenkasi:   

 

“The cat is finally out of the bag. In numerous bomb blasts that have taken place in the country, the investigating agencies as well as the media swoop on certain Muslim organisations and brand them as terrorists, who perpetrated the ghastly crime. Irrespective of whether the crime has taken place in a Masjid or Mandir or Market, the same stereotype stories are flashed everywhere. However the Tamilnadu Police have turned the tables and their investigations have turned the tide towards the real perpetrators of such crimes. It has arrested 3 Sangh Parivar activists for triggering blasts in the RSS office at Tenkasi. Tenkasi is a busy town in Tirunelveli District of Tamilnadu. Since its location is close to the famous Courtallam waterfalls it attracts a large number of tourists. Hindus belonging to various castes as well as Muslims and Christians have been living in harmony in this town from time immemorial. Tenkasi means Kasi of South. This town has a famous temple called Kasi Viswanathar Temple. Though the local Sangh Parivar outfit called Hindu Munnani has been long objecting to the renovation of the Bazaar Masjid situated very near to the temple, perfect communal harmony has prevailed in this town. Muslims living in this town are basically involved in various kinds of trade.

The Sangh parivar elements have been trying to communally polarise this town for a long period of time. However their attempts in the past have become futile. But the killing of Kumara Pandian, an activist of Hindu Munnani in December 2006 disturbed the peaceful atmosphere in Tenkasi. Kumara Pandian was murdered by group of Muslim gangsters out of personal animosity. However the Sangh Parivar elements targeted leading Muslim businessmen as well as Tamilnadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) and alleged they were behind the murder. On March 2, 2007, Mohideen Sait Khan the then District President of TMMK and resident of Tenkasi was brutally attacked by Hindu Munnani activists. He suffered grievous injuries in several parts of his body. However he survived the attack. The police arrested a handful of Hindu Munnani activists in this case.

Tenkasi was now boiling with communal fervour. On 14th August (just a day before the Independence Day Celebrations) 6 persons (3 Hindus and 3 Muslims) were hacked to death in a fight between two groups. These two groups comprised persons who were charged for the Murder of Kumara Pandian and assault on Mohideen Sait Khan and were out on bail. Police clamped down on both sides and arrested a number of persons from both communities. In the aftermath of these incidents, when Tenkasi was limping back to normalcy just two days before the Republic day, on 24th January, there were bomb blasts in the RSS office in Tenkasi and in the Bus Stand around 9 pm. The media carried big stories about the blasts. The Sangh Parivar organised demonstrations in various parts of the state, demanding the arrest of Muslim ‘terrorist’, who according to them have committed the crime. However the Tamilnadu Police did not budge like their counterparts in other states. A special team led by Mr. Kannappan, DIG, Tirunelveli range made a thorough investigation and have arrested so far 3 persons S Ravi Pandian (42), a cable TV operator, S Kumar (28), an auto driver, both from Tenkasi, and V Narayana Sharma (26) of Sencottai, all Sangh Parivar activists. The last name accused had assembled 14 pipe bombs in the office of Ravi Pandian.

Explosive experts were deployed to probe the blasts at the RSS office and the bus-stand. Earlier it was thought that unidentified persons had hurled crude bombs at these places. But now it has been found that low-intensity ‘pipe’ bombs had been placed in these areas, a police official told PTI. The power to the area was disconnected before the incident.

According to Sanjeev Kumar, IG, South Zone, the bomb blast inside the new bus stand was planned to divert the police investigation. DIG of Police Kannappan said the trio tested the capacity of the bombs at Papanasam before executing the plan. Since the bombs contained substances like ammonium nitrate, electric detonators, batteries and timer devices, the explosion was possible within 30 to 40 seconds, said Kannappan.

The Investigation is still going on. The Police said 14 pipe bombs were assembled and the operations began from July last year. The arrested persons have confessed that the trio executed the plan to create a divide between the rival communities and thereby pave way for a backlash and generate sympathy for the family of the four deceased. They have also confessed that in the past they could not generate support from the Hindu community in Tenkasi and thought this blast would give the right impact.

With the Lok Sabha elections approaching, it is reliably learnt that Sangh Parivar outfits want to repeat Coimbatore in Tenkasi to get sympathy votes. The BJP which contested the last Assembly elections alone drew a blank. It is desperate to mobilise the Hindu votes and enacted the pranks in Tenkasi—kudos to Tamilnadu Police who have exposed their nefarious intentions.

The Tirunelveli Police have also indicated that the explosives used in Tenkasi are similar those used in the Makkah Masjid blast at Hyderabad. They have also indicated that these blasts would not have been triggered without the knowledge of the top brass of Sangh Parivar outfits in Tamilnadu.

In the light of the revelations of the Tamilnadu Police, the CBI should reinvestigate the Makkah Masjid Blasts and other Blasts which took place in different parts of the country. In all these blasts, there is a general feeling that mechanically the investigating agencies have blamed certain outfits and booked innocent persons instead of the real accused. Will the CBI and Home Ministry wake up”?

These incidents follow the `terrorist’ attack on Nagpur’s RSS Headquarters, which were branded as fake by the Nagpur Police itself, and the Nanded Blasts, the Modassa incidents and the recent Kanpur blasts where Bajrang Dal members were found to have been making bombs.

A Narco test was conducted on some of the RSS affiliates accused involved in the 2005 Nanded blasts at the Bajrang Dal Headquarters. The results are startling:   

“Hindu terror is here, if investigating agencies are to be believed. The arrest and subsequent interrogation of Sadhvi Pragya Singh, an Army officer and others for their alleged involvement in the Malegaon blasts of 2008 indicate the growing involvement of rightwing Hindu activists in terror acts. While ‘Hindu terror acts’ are made out to be a relatively new concept, the fact remains that the first signs of Hindu terror came to the fore as way back as 2006, when a bomb went off while bding assembled in a Hindu activist’s house in Nanded, Maharashtra.

Confessions by those arrested in that incident, during a narco-analysis test, throw light on how some Hindus decided to execute terror strikes, their modus operandi and the source of funding. Two of the accused have spelt out in detail the reason for them taking the terror path, and investigating officers say the causes are very similar to the one being attached to the recent Malegaon blasts. Manoharrao Pande, one of the accused in the case, said they were trained in handling explosive devices. He also said one of the persons, Himanshu Pande, who died while assembling the explosives, was a master at it. He said all terror attacks that occurred in the Marathwada region, including in Jalna, Purnea and Parbhani, were planned by Himanshu. The explosives, he said, were stored in a gym and the same was brought by Himanshu from Pune.

Fund-raising: While businessmen from Saudi Arabia are believed to pump in funds to sponsor terror by Islamic groups, some Hindu groups mobilised funds from locals. Pande said they had collected Rs 45,000 for making bombs and a minor part of this amount came from the money earned by the gym. He also mentioned that some rightwing Hindu outfits and local political leaders supported them. The motive: Another accused in the same case, Bhanurao Vithalrao Choudhary, during his narco-analysis test spelt out the motive behind carrying out terror strikes in the country. He said the bomb that exploded by accident in Nanded was actually meant to target a mosque at Aurangabad the next day. He, too, mentioned Himanshu, saying the latter was the one who told them they needed to fight Muslim terror.

Choudhary said Himanshu was perturbed by the fact that underworld don Dawood Ibrahim [Images] had got away unpunished and hence revenge had to be exacted. According to Himanshu, Dawood was responsible for the Gateway of India blast in 2003 which killed many. Sanjay said the motive behind the attacks that were planned by them was to safeguard Hindutva by targeting the Muslim population in the country. Aleem Faizee, social activist working for the Malegaon blast victims, said during investigation the police recovered a map depicting the Aurangabad mosque. Worse, the cops also found fake beards and Muslim outfits. The intention was to plant bombs under the guise of a Muslim to mislead investigators into believing that the bombs were planted by Muslims.

Interestingly, the statements given by some of the accused arrested in connection with the recent Delhi blasts mentions that their leader, Riyaz Bhatkal, had told them the blasts were being undertaken only to avenge the Mecca Masjid blasts which, he believed, were undertaken by some Hindu outfits to shift the blame on Muslims. Faizee said the recent developments in the Malegaon case and the revelations by the two accused raised a doubt regarding the perpetrators behind various other blasts that rocked the country”.

While the RSS is almost getting away with murder, the medical center of the All India Insitute of Medical Sciences refused to givethe postmortem reports of the Muslim boys killed in the September 18thBatala House encounter in Delhi:    

“Petitions filed under the RTI Act in connection with the October 19 encounter in Batla House have generated more controversy than information. Information in the matter was sought from the NHRC, AIIMS, Delhi Police and the Supreme Court by petitioner Afroz Alam Sahil. Afroz Alam wanted information regarding postmortem reports and the doctors involved from AIIMS, and also a copy of the postmortem reports…in a reply, officials from the AIIMS Trauma Centre stated they could not pass on information related to medico legal records under sections 8(1)b and 8(1)h of the RTI. These sections are meant for information expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal, or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court.

An irate Afroz Alam states in his blog, Soochna Express: “The denial of information by AIIMS is illogical. In this case, the court has not issued any orders regarding the Batla House case and we are not violating Section 8(1)b of the RTI. They said that information cannot be provided because it would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of the offenders. I want to state that information we sought is not related to any police investigation.”

The Delhi Police and Supreme Court have not replied to the petition till now. “If institutions like the Supreme Court do not take RTI seriously, then what is the use of having such an Act?” Alam asks. The information received from the NHRC states that 2,560 cases of police encounter/alleged fake encounters have come up and it has granted compensation in 16 such cases so far”.

          Finally, a significant section of Indian intellectuals and business leaders have come out in support of Sonal Shah. In signed statement they have distanced themselves from VHP and RSS and said that they believe Sonal is `distanced’ from them. Here is a list  of the signatories: 

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, President, Centre for Policy Research

Tarun Das, Chief Mentor, Confederation of Indian Industry

Devesh Kapur,  Director, Center for Advanced Studies of India, The University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, Convenor, Lok Satta Party

Ajay G. Piramal, Chairman, Piramal Enterprises Limited

Pankaj Chandra, Director, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore

Reuben Abraham, Professor, Indian School of Business

Roopa Purushothaman, Head, Future Capital Research

Veena Siddharth, Vice President, International Division, Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Former Asia Division Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch

 

            Amongst these names, Pratap Bhanu Mehta is a respected columnist of Indian Express; but Tarun Das, Devesh Thakur and Ajay Piramal are known to have RSS-VHP links at some point. In fact, Ajay Piramal belongs to the Piramal group of industries which has in the past has donated liberally to the RSS, VHP and several other organizations. Other corporate individuals have all had RSS links at some point or the other. And Veena Siddharth, in her own words stands guilty by association. 

Liberal intellectuals in India have shown an amazing blindness to the fascist threat. In at least two Times of India edit page pieces, written by Yogendra Yadav and Brinda Karat, the Central Committee member of the CPI-M, the line of argument is the same that Muslim communalism must be condemned first; Hindu communalism is basically restricted to a few groups and likewise. Yogendra Yadav performs the unbelievable somersault of actually talking about `Hindu grievances’—he of course has nothing to say about the arrest of Saadhvi Pragya Singh, and the opening of a whole net of worms which day by day is exposing people in the army, members of Parliament of the BJP and top administrators, as terrorists involved in bombing Muslim areas in Malegaon and Hyderabad, incidents in which initially Muslims were arrested!

          The entire conspiracy underway stinks from top to bottom—it seems that the RSS, in keeping with its history of organizing riots, an uprising against the secular Indian nation-State established in 1947 with British help, and pogrom against not only Indian Muslims but the Indian Communist parties as well, has now brought majority communalism to its logical conclusion. This is what Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru had argued all along—that majority communalism is more dangerous than minority communalism as the latter is defensive while the former has the ability to turn the Indian State into a fascist entity.

          This is what is happening—the Indian State is turning fascist bit by bit—it is not going to survive for long. The latest revelation in the Malegaon incidents has an army officer saying that Muslims helped him in organizing the Malegaon blasts in Muslim areas. Last month the Police Commissioner of Mumbai, Hasan Ghaffoor held a Press Conference in which he states that Muslims helped him in nabbing alleged (Muslim) masterminds of the Delhi-Ahmedabad blasts from Poona!

          What is happening? There is a conspiracy within a conspiracy—something sickening—it seems that Muslims boys angry over the Babari Masjid demolition in December 1992 were detained and tortured by Indian security agencies. A databank was made of these boys and they were allowed to go; then before Gujarat riots, Narendra Modi called a meeting of Muslim leaders, for `educational purposes’ in Gujarat. This meeting was surrounded by Police personals; later, it turned out that the entire affair was set-up masterminded by Modi himself! The Muslims present in the 2001 meeting were all profiled and entered into a database—then their names started cropping up as masterminds of the Indian Mujahideen after the current spate of blasts!

          Now where has Indian Mujahideen gone? The name of a new Muslim organization cropped up in relation to the Assam blasts. But even that name disappeared—now ULFA has come out openly to state that RSS is behind the Assam blasts.

          When respected individuals like Brinda Karat write about BJP’s double standards, they are right. But one gets the feeling that they do not have the full picture at their disposal. Brinda and others have consistently refused to acknowledge at least in print that SIMI and the Indian Mujahideen are basically inventions of the Indian security agencies. Brinda only has to watch the recent American film `Body of Lies’, starring Russell Crow to see how terrorists are invented by security agencies.                     

They said we split India, then called us communal, now terrorists: Imam at Malegaon Eid

October 3, 2008

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/they-said-we-split-india-then-called-us-communal-now-terrorists-ima…/368891/

 

Indian Express >  Front Page > 

 

 

They said we split India, then called us communal, now terrorists: Imam at Malegaon Eid

 

 

Smita Nair

 

Posted: Oct 03, 2008 at 0128 hrs IST

Malegaon, October 2 Two days after a bomb blast killed five Muslims in Maharashtra‘s communally sensitive town of Malegaon and briefly sparked mob violence, the state police had said on Wednesday that it was nervous about namaaz on Eid as tens of thousands of devout were expected to gather and emotions could once again flare. What they got instead on Thursday were tears.

“First you pointed fingers at us, saying that we divided the country. Then you told us that we are communal, and now you tell us we are terrorists,” one of Malegaon’s most prominent clerics, Mufti Mohammed Ismail, said as he led 1.5 lakh (150,000) people at namaaz at the Idgah Maidan in the textile town. And then he broke down in full public view, after condemning Monday night’s blast which hit the town after Muslims had broken their fasts.

His words struck a chord with many in the crowd and brought tears in their eyes too. While urging Muslim youth to have “better sense and a conscience”, the imam asked the Government and the police to ensure that innocent people were not rounded up as suspects.

Speaking of “secular politics”, he said, “Kaan khol ke sun lo, jo qaum tumhe takhto taj pe bitha sakti hai, wohi qaum tumhara janaaza bhi nikaal sakti hai.” (A community which can place you on a pedestal can also take out your funeral procession).

Hundreds of policemen guarded the venue as the imam touched on “callous investigations”, “innocent Muslims identified as terrorists” and of the lack of justice for the 2006 serial blasts which killed 37 people.

The idea of “an educated Muslim”, the imam said, was lost today as educated young men were picked up without evidence and then shown as involved in Terroractivities. The prayer session ended with the imam asking the community to remain alert and help a “just investigation” if they get leads.

Meanwhile, the Collector visited the families of the five killed in the blasts and handed them compensation cheques of Rs 5 lakh each.