|Delayed Waking up: Terrorism Investigations|
By Ram Puniyani
|The Ajmer bomb blasts took place on 11th October 2007; these took place inside the holy Shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, killing two people. In the wake of this the central Home minister, in his standard statement said that this is the handiwork of HUJI and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba type groups who are indulging in these activities and this is aimed to disrupt the communal harmony in the country. Three years down the line now a RSS functionary Devendra Gupta and his associates have been accused of triggering this blast and have been arrested. To cap it all there seems to be the connection between this Ajmer blast and the blast which took place in Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad, which took place a few months ago of this Ajmer blast (May 2007).|
There is also the news that the Rajasthan police despite evidence delayed the investigation of Ajmer blasts as the leads of investigation pointed towards the involvement of Hindu right wing terror gangs. One also hears that since Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur was arrested in connection with Malegaon blasts, her links led to Swami Asimanand of Dangs, who is the major RSS combine figure of the area. He is absconding since then. And now apart from Maharashtra police Rajasthan police is also looking for him.
Strange things have happened in connection with the investigation of blasts during last few years. The thesis guiding the police investigation for a long time was that terror groups are being promoted by Pakistan and they want to create communal disharmony, that they are putting bombs in places of Muslim worship. It is due to this and the inherent biases of our investigation agencies that for so long and despite clear involvement of terror groups inspired and connected with ideology of RSS were not touched. It was after Hemant Karkare discovered the irrefutable evidence of Sadhvi’s motor cycle used in Maelgaon blasts and her connections with all others, Lt Col. Prasad Shrikant Purohit, Swami Dayanand Pande, Retd. Major Upadhaya etc., that the nexus was discovered. After the tragic killing of Hemant Karkare again the investigation has put on the slow track. In the face of such strong evidences now some of the investigation authorities are forced to wake up to the threat of terrorism done by these groups.
There has been a pattern of these terror attacks done by the likes of Sadhvi, those connected with RSS ideology or remotely connected with organizations floated by the ones’ trained in RSS ideology. This raises lot of questions about the professional competence of our investigation agencies. The blasts took place in the places where predominantly Muslims congregate, blasts took place at times when their numbers was maximum in the places of prayer. The observation was that after the blasts, blinded by the inherent biases, the investigation agencies made it a routine to arrest some Muslim youth. The names of HUJI, Lashkar, and SIMI have been dished out and lapped up by media which has shaped the public opinion.
The problems which we witnessed in this are two fold. One, the innocents were tortured and their lives and careers were ruined by this crass attitude and second the real culprits carried on merrily one after the other, knowing full well that they will be protected because of their religion and because of their organization, which makes maximum noises against terrorism itself.
The pattern began with Nanded in 2006, when two Bajrang Dal workers died while making bombs, in the same city later a Shiv Sena Shaka member died in the go-down storing biscuits, two Bajrag Dal Workers died in Kanpur in 2008 and many such incidents kept going on. The tide in a way turned when the irrefutable evidence of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakurs' motor cycle being used in Malegaon blast was detected. The immaculate investigation done by Mahrashtra ATS led to the detection of the involvement of other such affiliates (meaning all those organization who subscribe to ideology of Hindu Nation, Hindutva and whose core team is trained in this ideology). Sadhvis' photo was also seen with the BJP President Rajnath Singh. Surely after the arrest of the real culprits starting from the Sadhvi, the frequency of terror attacks has come down. In Thane on 4th June 2008, two Hindu Jagran Samiti workers were arrested for planting the bombs in the basement of Gadkari Rangayatan, due to which 7 people got injured. The same group was involved in the blasts in Vashi, Panvel also. This group was also involved in the bomb blast in Goa, recently on the occasion of Narak Chaturdashi. This group idolizes Savarkar (Hindu Mahasabha) and Hedgewar (RSS) and indoctrinates its members into hating Christians and Muslims.
Similarly on 24th August 2008 two Bajrang Dal activists died in Kanpur, while making bombs. The Kanpur zone IGP S.N. Singh stated that their investigations have revealed that this group was planning massive explosions all over the state. Indian Express, 23 Oct 2008 reports that those involved in the bomb blast in Malegaon and Modasa (Sept 2008) had links with Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad
Similarly in Tenkasi, Tamil Nadu pipe bomb attack on RSS office (Jan.2008) was projected to have been done by Jehadi Muslims. The investigation revealed many a Hindu names and later the investigations was frozen. In an alleged Fidayin attack was claimed that in the attack on RSS office in Nagpur (June 1, 2006) three of them were killed in the police encounter, as per the police version. Citizens Inquiry report, headed by Justice Kolse Patil doubted the police version in a serious way; the clarifications did not come through from the authorities.
Pained by this attitude of the State and investigating authorities a Citizens tribunal was held in Hyderabad August 2008, the tribunal concluded that, “This fight against terrorism, victims emphasized, has veered more around witch hunting of Muslims rather than curbing terrorism, thus robbing people of their liberty and freedom and making them more insecure than ever before. The real culprits, they said, often roam freely whereas the poor and gullible Muslims are picked up and thrown into jails at whims and fancies of the powers that be. Victims after victims, who have undergone harassment and torture without any evidence permissible in the court of law against them, deposed before the tribunal — comprising country’s eminent personalities including former judges, lawyers and renowned social activists – and narrated their tales of woes to the shock and anguish of hundreds of audience.”
One of the major hurdles which have obstructed the truth coming out is that the investigation of the blasts cases is not easy and a lot depends on the investigation authorities’ attitude and bias. In these cases media generally laps up whatever is dished out by police and not much of independent voice comes up. Those doubting the police version are dubbed as anti national and media keeps itself at safe distance from those who care to pick the holes in theory put out by police. Usual norm of journalism should be to doubt the state version also and not to dismiss those who have alternative version. In cases of terror attacks this norm is kept aside. It is because of this that so far the investigations do not get the corrective direction, and many a times are totally fallacious, as the truth coming out from Ajmer case and other similar cases show us. One hopes that professionalism prevails over biases and independent voices are not stifled in such matters if we want to reach the truth, if we want to ensure that such attacks do not repeat themselves.