Congress Party concealed the realities of Islamic terrorist attacks by conceiving the myth of the “saffron terror”
Bharatiya Janta Party attacked the Congress following the acquittal of Swami Aseemanand and four others in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast, affirming that the Congress had defamed Hindus by using the term “saffron terror” and demanded an apology from Rahul Gandhi. However, lying to their teeth, Congress has asserted that there is nothing called as ‘saffron terror’ and the party is of the firm belief that terror cannot be linked to any religion or community. Congress has also asserted that its leader Rahul Gandhi or the party had never used the phrase.
It is a historical fact that under the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty led- United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government, communal wedge was driven in the social harmony of this country, when they coined the term- ‘Saffron Terror’. It was used to vilify the whole Hindu population.
It was a systematic and well-organised plot to demonise Hindus to appease Muslims in its ugliest form of political means. We must expose these sinister conspiracies by examining all these events and deconstructing their designs.
Malegaon Blasts (2006)
A series of bomb blasts took place in Malegaon, a town in the Nashik district of Maharashtra. Most of the blast victims were Muslim pilgrims.
In this incident, police investigations have determined that the explosives contained in these bombings were “a cocktail of RDX, Ammonium Nitrate and fuel oil, the same mixture used in July 2006 Mumbai train bombings (a terror incident) for which several Islamist groups were suspects.” Since the investigation was still under way, Nasik Superintendent of Police, Rajvardhan declined to give details, saying: “We can’t say anything till we get reports from all the agencies”, but soon released the sketches of two suspects.
“The bigger threat may be the growth of radicalised Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community”
— Rahul Gandhi to US Ambassador Timothy Roemar, via WikiLeaks
On October 30, The Times of India reported that in Malegaon blast case, Noor-Ul-Hooda, an activist of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) was arrested first. On October 13, the Director General of Police (Mumbai) Mr. Pasricha said that they were very close to cracking the case and claimed to have identified the perpetrators. On November 6, The Times of India reported from Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) Maharashtra said that the prime conspirator Shabbir Batterywala is an operative of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the co-conspirator is Raees Ahmad of SIMI.
On September 12, 2006, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, “It will be inappropriate for us to rule out anything or rule in anything. I think there should be a fair investigation which inspires confidence and brings out the truth and nothing but the truth without any pre-conceived notion. That has to be the objective”.
Alas! The Maharashtra ATS had prima facie ruled out the involvement of Hindu Nationalist groups.
Samjhauta Express Blasts (2007)
The twin blasts shook two coaches of the Samjhauta Express around midnight in which sixty-eight people were killed in the ensuing fire and dozens were injured.
It has been allegedly linked to Abhinav Bharat, a Hindu group. In November 2008, it was reported that the Maharashtra ATS suspected the attacks were linked to Prasad Shrikant Purohit, an Indian army officer and a member of Abhinav Bharat.
Purohit himself claimed that he had “infiltrated” the Abhinav Bharat. During an army’s Court of Inquiry, 59 witnesses stated to the court along with Officers who testified that Purohit was doing his job of gathering intelligence inputs by infiltrating extremist organisations. Col. Purohit was given a clean chit by the Army’s Court of Inquiry.
Muslim Perpetrators of Malegaon Blast were given a free pass, while an innocent Sadhavi and an Army officer were booked
Now comes the interesting part. Except for the Indian investigators, all others pointed fingers at the LeT to be responsible.
“Qasmani Arif, the chief coordinator of LeT, has worked with LeT to facilitate terrorist attacks including, the bombing of February 2007 in the Samjhauta Express (India).” This is what resolution (No. 1267) of the Committee on Sanctions of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) dated June 6, 2009 declares. Adding that Qasmani was funded by Dawood Ibrahim and he did fund-raising for LeT and Al-Qaida, the UNSC said: “In exchange for their support, Al-Qaida provided support staff for the bombing in the Samjhauta Express in Panipat.”
Samjhauta Express Blast— What the UN says?
Arif Qasmani has worked with LeT to facilitate terrorist attacks, to include the July 2006 train bombing in Mumbai, India, and the February 2007 Samjota Express bombing in Panipat, India. Qasmani utilized money that he received from Dawood Ibrahim, an Indian crime figure and terrorist supporter, to facilitate the July 2006 train bombing in Mumbai, India… Between 2004 and 2005, Qasmani provided al Qaida with supplies and weapons and facilitated the movement of al Qaida leaders in and out of Afghanistan. In return for Qasmani’s support, al Qaida provided Qasmani with operatives to support the July 2006 train bombing in Mumbai, India, and the February 2007 Samjota Express bombing in Panipat, India.
Source: ‘Security Council Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee Adds Names of Three Individuals to Consolidated List’, United Nations Security Council, June 29, 2009
Not just UN or US Treasury or just the admission of Pakistan’s interior minister, in fact, independent investigation in the US revealed more. Some ten months later, Sebastian Rotella, a US journalist, wrote in his investigative report titled, “US agencies were forewarned about suspect in 2008 Mumbai bombings” that Faiza Outalha, the third wife of David Coleman Headley had confessed [in 2008, that was made public in 2010] that Headley was involved in Samjhauta blast.
“There is the recently uncovered phenomenon of saffron terrorism that has been implicated in many bomb blasts of the past”
— P Chidambaram at Conference of State police chiefs and Inspector-Generals of Police, August 25, 2010
Why did NIA not name Arif Qasmani as suspect/accused in the Samjhauta blast? Why did it not seek the extradition of Arif Qasmani from Pakistan? What effort did the NIA make to secure the evidence on the basis of which the UNSC had declared Arif Qasmani as the accused in the Samjhauta blast? What effort did it make to secure the evidence on the basis of which the US Treasury Department had declared Arif Qasmani as the perpetrator? Did the NIA write to the Ministry of External Affairs or the Interpol directly for assistance from the US and the UN in the above? Whether it asked the MEA to seek the co-operation of the group established between India and Pakistan for sharing of the information? The UPA government did nothing.
When leads were thus pointing to Pakistan and SIMI as partners in Samjhauta blast, the Maharashtra ATS shockingly told the Special Court through the public prosecutor that Col Purohit, was allegedly involved in the Malegaon blast in which RDX was used. Later, the ATS counsel retracted from the statement he had made earlier involving Col Purohit in the Samjhauta blast. But the damage was already done. Pakistan immediately raised the issue of Col. Purohit’s involvement in Samjhauta Blasts.
Finally the Maharastra ATS officially denied that Col Purohit had supplied RDX for Samjhauta. This was how the Samjhauta focus—later the blame—shifted from LeT and SIMI to Col Purohit and via Purohit on to the Hindus. The Maharashtra ATS attempt to link Malegaon 2008 to Samjhauta which shifted the focus away from LeT on to Purohit needs to be probed, particularly given Dawood Ibrahim’s deep influence in Maharastra Police.
Mecca Masjid Bombing (2007)
In the Mecca Masjid bombing in Hyderabad, 14 people were reported dead, in which the IED contained Cyclotol, a 60:40 mixture of RDX and TNT. It is important to note as they are specially used by the Islamic Terror outfits. The SIT of Hyderabad Police arrested ‘South India commander’ of the LeT, identified as Shaik Abdul Khaja alias Amjad, from Afzalgunj area of the city. Police said that the arrested was linked to Mohammed Abdul Shahid Bilal, a key suspect in the bombing.
“Reports have come during investigation that BJP and RSS conduct terror training camps to spread terrorism… This is saffron terrorism”
— Sushil Kumar Shinde, then Minister of Home Affairs while addressing the Media on January 20, 2013
The South Asia Terrorism Portal, the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis, the National Counterterrorism Center of the United States, and the United Nations reported that Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) was actually behind the blasts. The South Asia Terrorism Portal cited Vikar Ahmed as the main suspect in the blast. Mohammed Abdul Shahid Bilal, former chief of HuJI’s Indian operations, was also regarded as a key suspect in the Mecca Masjid bombing, later he was shot by unknown gunmen in Karachi, Pakistan on August 30, 2007.
Surprisingly, the NIA, the CBI and ATS questioned former members of the RSS and on November 9, 2010, the CBI produced Swami Aseemanand before the court in connection with the Blast.
It is explicit from the NIA charge-sheet that Aseemanand’s retracted confession (later found to be obtained under duress) almost exclusively constitutes the backbone of the NIA case. The leak of Aseemananda’s alleged confession to the media (Tehelka), which is shocking and deliberate, was part of the design to politicise the case, conduct and conclude a media trial, and to create, at the global level, the notion of “Saffron (Hindu) Terror” for political purposes of the ruling party, Congress.
Ajmer Dargah Attack (2007)
The Ajmer Dargah blast occurred outside the Dargah of Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer, Rajasthan allegedly by the RSS and its groups. On October 22, 2010, five accused, of which four allegedly belonging to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) were arrested in connection with the blast.
The NIA court in Ajmer framed murder charges against seven persons, including key accused Aseemanand. Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Chandrashekhar Leve, Bharat Mohan Rateshwar, Jarshad Bhai and Mukesh Wasani have also been charged under sections 302 and 307 of IPC.
Why an Army officer was framed?
The answer is simple. Col. Purohit knew too much.
The Intelligence Bureau (IB) says that it had issued series of alerts regarding the build-up of Burdwan module, which was interestingly first spotted in 2007 by Col. Purohit. He also spoke at length about the creation of an Islamic Necklace which would include the states of Assam, West Bengal, and Tripura. Colonel Purohit had, in fact, claimed several times that he had become a target.
Col. Purohit’s counsel alleged that Purohit with a distinguished service record in the army, was being victimised for political reasons and that he could even be eliminated for possessing key intelligence data of sensitive natures pertaining to SIMI and ISI operations, which could embarrass some top political quarters.
CNN-IBN had reported that it was Home Minister, Sushilkumar Shinde, who forced Bhavesh Patel to implicate RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. In his letter, Patel also blamed several other UPA ministers, including Minister of State for Home RPN Singh, Coal Minister Sri Prakash Jaiswal and Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, for trying to frame Sri Bhagwat.
Soon after the change of government at the Centre in 2014, it was decided that the hearings in the case would be fast-tracked and at least five hearings would be held every month. It is not at all surprising that one by one many key witnesses, in this case, are turning hostile and the case is getting weakened by the day.
Malegaon Blast (2008)
Again in this case only on the basis of the bike being used in the blast, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur was arrested along with Shiv Narayan Gopal Singh Kalsanghra and Shyam Bhawarlal Sahu. The said bike once belonged to Sadhvi Pragya, which she sold in 1997 way before she took to a spiritual quest. The Saffron Terror angle was brought in.
On October 25, two more ex-army personnel were also questioned and in two days the total arrest count mounted to seven when the ATS took in Sameer Kulkarni from Bhopal and Sangram Singh from Indore for questioning. According to the ATS, these arrests brought to light the workings of two groups, Rashtriya Jagaran Manch and Abhinav Bharat.
The ATS reported that they were part of an alleged “larger conspiracy”, without elaborating what the conspiracy, or the basis for it, was. Then came the shocking charges made against the ATS by Sadhvi Pragya in an affidavit claiming that the investigating team has lost all moral authority, the manner in which unsubstantiated allegations have been made against army personnel and also detailing how she was physically and psychologically tortured and abused in obscene languages by her interrogators.
Top BJP leaders, including LK Advani expressed their shock and disbelief and asked for a judicial inquiry. The NIA has found no evidence against Col. Purohit or Pragya Singh Thakur, and they have been granted bail, and Aseemanand acquitted.
(The writer is a Business Strategist & columnist on matters of political & strategic issues)