Pracharak as Terrorist – On the Bhasmasur of Hindutva Terror
Hindu mythology with its plethora of gods and goddesses (which according to a conservative estimate numbers around 330 millions or 33 crores) has n number of stories supposedly to show the human face of the almighty. One such story talks of the creation of a demon called Bhasmasur by one of the gods himself. The said demon had the unique power of turning everything into ash if he could touch anybody’s head. The story goes that after ‘conquering’ the world the demon tries to attack his ‘creator god’ namely Shiva himself and then Lord Vishnu intervenes and manages to eliminate the demon itself.
Whatever might have been the significance of the story then, it bears striking resemblance to the plight of the RSS – the biggest fountainhead of Hindutva politics in the country – today. And this relates to the arrest of many of its senior wholetimers (called Pracharaks in its lexicon) for their role as masterminds, instigators or patrons of terrorist acts in the country and the ongoing questioning of many other senior leaders for their role in aiding and abetting such acts. Interestingly the parent organisation has till date not formally denied their role in all these acts and nor called it witchhunting as it did when investigations into the Malegaon bomb blast II (Sept 2008) were on and the likes of Sadhvi Pragya, Lt Col Purohit and others from the larger Hindutva family found themselves behind bars. In fact, this time it appears more cautious and according to a report it has even sent few of its leaders who supposedly played some role in these acts on a compulsory leave and has plans to send few more. (Bhaskar, 7 th July 2010).
It might never be known what role (if any) the RSS itself played in these acts or not but with the arrest of few of its seniors in engaging in such acts it is clear that there definitely existed a network of rogue RSS Pracharaks/leaders who cleverly manipulated the Parivar links to their heinous agenda. Of course, it is now history how the RSS received opprobrium (fromVallabhbhai Patel, the first home minister of independent India) for creating the culture of violence which ultimately led to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and questions would always be raised how it fostered such rogue pracharak-terrorists in its ranks. Whatever might be the truth in the case it cannot be denied that RSS and its top bosses have to do a lot of explaining in the coming few weeks and one might see arrest of few other senior leaders of the Parivar for helping the Pracharak-terrorists execute the Ajmer as well as Mecca Masjid blasts.
The moot question is whether the powers that be will show enough spine to take all necessary steps to stamp out the roots of majoritarian terrorism in the country or will suddenly develop cold feet once the investigations further unravel few other dark corners of the issue.
What is the present worry of the RSS ? The lacklustre performance of its appointee as BJP President or the manner in which the Delhi 4 (as named by Sangh Supremo Mohan Bhagwat) is wresting control over the party with due support of Advani or for that matter the drop in attendance at its Shakhas ? Or it has to do with the re-induction of Jaswant Singh ( who committed the heresy of praising Jinnah in his book) in the party. It cannot be denied that the Sangh leadership is not perturbed over all these developments and has not lost a single chance to administer a dose of ‘baudhik’ to them from time to time. Recently there indeed was such a meeting where the Sangh people spoke and the top leadership of BJP listened.
But all these little worries have not given the Sangh leadership sleepless nights. It seems more perturbed over the ‘Hindu’ link to terrorism.
If one were to believe newspaper reports then it becomes clear that the biggest worry facing the Sangh leadership is this ‘Hindu’ link to terrorism which first surfaced in the form of ‘Sadhvi’ Pragya Singh Thakur and has since caught on. A leading correspondent with The Hindu even shared that the situation has become so grim that “..[m]any in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh have been spending sleepless nights, wondering where police investigations will lead once the agencies are able to connect all the dots that have emerged over the past two years.” (RSS worried about ‘Hindu’ links to terrorism, Neena Vyas, The Hindu, 2 June 2010)
Definitely its worries are understandable. Nanded-Parbhani-Malegaon in Maharashtra, Tenkasi in Tamil Nadu, Mecca Masjid in A.P. Ajmer bomb blast in Rajasthan, Kanpur in U.P., Bhopal in M.P. and the ongoing investigation in the blasts in the Samjhauta Express establishing clear links with the fraternity. The list seems endless.
Gone are the days when any link of terrorism with the name Hindu was frowned upon even by a section of the civil society, today with the hand of Hindu terror visible in many of the terrorist acts spread over the country and many of the wholetimers of the RSS (called ‘Pracharaks’) behind bars or waiting to be interned or interrogated shortly, there has been a qualitative change in the situation.
Gone are the days when Congress ministers had no qualms in blaming any terrorist act within the country to the omnipresent LeT or HuJI or for that matter evil forces from across the border, gone are the days when many a reporter with secular sounding publications used to provide gory details of the world of ‘Jihadi terror’ directly/indirectly blaming the same forces for every such act. (There is no doubt that the gory world exists but more about it some time later). Perhaps the Sangh felt that it had never been so good that even its arch rivals in politics were parroting the same language vis-a-vis terrorism. But as already mentioned Malegaon happened and Sadhvi Pragya Singh and her bravado reached national headlines and everything seems to have turned for the worse. Interestingly the Sangh was happy that with years of painstaking work done by many of its low lying Swayamsevaks who adorned the seats of power in many key posts in the bureaucracy/polity. This tactics has helped it to see that the ‘eyes and ears’ to any government namely the Intelligence or the IB or the RAW are filled with ‘like-minded’ people, and had made it possible (to quote Malay Krishna Dhar in his book Open Secrets ) that there was convergence of thinking in the ‘intelligence and the RSS’.
As it is evident in the developments since last two-three years all that seems to be passe.
And supposedly to steer clear of any controversy a new line seems to have emerged in the RSS ‘after intense discussions’.
- No protection or help to those who are indulging in such activities or have been engaged in such acts
- No public statement in support of arrest/interrogation of its workers in such cases
- Cooperation with the police in investigations, the sources said.
To convey its “extreme worries” about being linked to terrorism a “..[strong message has been sent to all swayamsevaks (RSS volunteers) that they should expect no protection if they are mixed up in any terrorist activity, said an RSS leader." (-do- , The Hindu, 2 June 2010)
The question naturally arises as to why suddenly the Sangh fraternity wants to distance itself from 'terrorism' of the Hindu kind? Is it because if it does not do it then there are real chances that many top bosses of the Sangh would be facing music for their connivance with such terrorists at various levels ? A quick glance at the questioning/interrogation of people supposed to be involved in these blasts demonstrates that their fears are real.
And lastly whether Sangh is ready to 'walk the talk' or it is just a case of mere public posturing.
A public meeting organised in Jaipur by People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and other democratic organisations to discuss the Ajmer Bomb Blast and its aftermath proved to be a learning experience to understand the great hiatus which exists between what RSS says and does when it comes to terrorism.
It may be told that this bomb blast had witnessed deaths of two innocents and injuries to scores of people and was earlier blamed on HuJI and there were many arrests/detention also but recently it came to light that a terror module led by a leading RSS Pracharak Devender Gupta- who was till recently incharge of its affairs in Jharkhand - in fact planned and executed this act. Only a thorough investigation by the Rajasthan ATS after BJP's ouster from power in the state helped it reach new leads and then it could lay hands on many members of the terror modules run by these RSS activists.
A simple question was posed in the meeting why is it that many such investigations in terror acts have suddenly gone cold in BJP ruled states ?
It was reported by a leading lawyer from Ajmer, that a team from Rajasthan police had even cracked the Ajmer bomb blast case way back in 2007 only but because of political considerations the finding were kept under wraps. He shared names of the three police officers ( who are facing suspension at present for some different reason) who led the investigation and reached the masterminds of the terrorist blast. The gentleman also appealed to the audience that it files RTI application to unearth the truth.
Perhaps it would be worth emphasising that two of the accused in the Ajmer bomb blast are at present absconding and CBI has announced a reward of 10 Lakh Rs. to those who can help arrest them. These two accused namely Sandeep Dange who is known as Parmananda and Ramachandra Kalsangra who uses aliases like Ramji had earlier been arrested by the Anti-Terrorist Squad of the Rajasthan police in connection with the blast in Ajmer dargah, but they were released later. ((www.rediff.com, Last updated on: June 22, 2010 14:55 IST) Is it not time to investigate who ordered their release then.
It may be added here that the advocate who has agreed to fight the case of the Pracharak- terrorist Devender Gupta and his cronies happens to be a city level functionary of the BJP in Ajmer and he as well as his family are part of the Sangh Parivar since few decades. It would be height of innocence to assume that this advocate is acting on this own and has not been briefed by the Sangh leadership to undertake this task. One can easily note the contrast in this particular case which involves a group of Hindu terrorists owing allegiance to the RSS and the ease with which they could get a advocate. Imagine if any innocent Muslims would have been apprehended by the police under similar terror charges then how the same Hindutva brigade would have opposed with all its might, s/he getting a lawyer of one's own choice.
As of now the claims by the investigating agencies based on the inputs they had that the same terror module was behind not only the Ajmer bomb blast but the Mecca bomb blast( May 18, 2007, in which nine people had been killed) stand vindicated. The latest chargsheet filed by the CBI in this case shows involvement of five RSS members. Sunil Joshi ( killed in 2007), Ramchandra Kalsangra, Sandeep Dange, Devender Gupta and Lokesh Sharma
Dead RSS activist named as accused in Mecca Masjid blast case (www.rediff.com) Last updated on: June 22, 2010 14:55 IST
The Central Bureau of Investigation has added the name of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh activist Sunil Joshi to the list of accused in the Mecca Masjid blast case.Joshi, who hails from Madhya Pradesh was shot dead by three unknown assailants on December 29, 2007, months after the blasts in Hyderabad and Ajmer...His name is the latest addition to a list which includes RSS members Ramchandra Kalsangra alis Ramji, Sandeep Dange, Devender Gupta and Lokesh Sharma. Significantly, the CBI petition has referred to all five of them as RSS members. According to sources, Sunil Joshi has emerged as the main brain behind the conspiracy to target Muslim religious sites across the country. He was allegedly one of the three suspects who entered the Mecca Masjid posing as tourists and planted the bomb.Joshi is reportedly a close friend of Sadhvi Pragya Thakur [ Images ], the main accused in the Malegaon blast case.
CBI investigations have revealed that Joshi, Dange and Kalsangra had travelled to Hyderabad from Indore by train and stayed at a lodge in Secunderabad, where they assembled the bombs. The accused then travelled from Secunderabad to the mosque in an auto rickshaw.
According to CBI sources, the accused had planned to target Muslim religious places across the country to avenge the terrorist attack on Sankat Mochan Mandir in Varanasi. Apart from Mecca Masjid and Ajmer dargah, their hit list also included the historic Jama Masjid in Delhi.
According to the available information the same terrorist module was behind Samjhauta express blast also but as already claimed by the Haryana Police the non-cooperation exhibited by the M.P. police has proved to be a great deterrent in finding enough clinching evidence.
It is worth emphasising that the CBI was also questioning leaders of the BJP and the RSS in other parts of the country who supposedly knew about the blast(s) and who supposedly sheltered the accused after the blast. Recently it even called two senior leaders of RSS from Uttar Pradesh to Hyderabad and questioned them there ( Indian Express, RSS leaders from UP questioned in Mecca Masjid case, 30 June 2010) One of them was Ashok Beri, Kshetra Pracharak of the RSS in U.P and other was Ashok Varshney, outfit’s Prant Pracharak who is based in Kanpur. These two senior leaders of RSS were questioned following the interrogation of terrorist duo Devendra Gupta and Lokesh Sharma.
RSS leaders from UP questioned in Mecca Masjid case
Smita Nair, Indian Express, Wed Jun 30 2010, 03:32 hrs Mumbai:
News about the questioning comes days after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for information regarding two suspected Hindu extremists, Ramchandra Kalsangra alias Ramji and Sandeep Dange alias Parmanand, who have been on the run and are also wanted in connection with the 2007 Ajmer blast and the 2008 Malegaon blast. Investigators now suspect that the same group of Hindu extremists may have been responsible for all three bomb attacks.
One does not know whether the CBI questioned them about the Kanpur bomb blast ( 24 August 2008) where two RSS/Bajrang Dal members were killed while trying to make bombs on that day. As facts tell us names of at least one senior VHP leader and contact details of some VHP, Bajrang Dal members had emerged in the initial probe. The contact details of the two youths – who were killed in the bomb blasts – especially their Sangh Parivar network was not properly investigated. The names of many local and outstation leaders, including VHP’s Kanpur general Secretary Awadh Behari Mishra and a senior professor in IIT had also cropped up initially. (UP police ignoring vital Kanpur leads, Josy Joseph, Tuesday, DNA, November 04, 2008 03:05 IST)
If one were to go by the self-definition of RSS, we will find that it calls itself a ‘cultural organisation’.
As a layperson is not it the responsibility of every sane person to ask what is ‘cultural’ about bomb making and storing detonators ? What is cultural about establishing terror modules in different parts of the country ? RSS would always formally deny that it is its official policy ? Then it will have to answer another important query, how is it that many of its wholetimers have metamorphosed into pure terrorists ? And how this emergence of terrorists in its ranks is an all India phenomenon.
One can go on citing different examples to buttress the case.
CM ready to provide proof of Bomb making by RSS (11 Sept 2003, Central Chronicle).
..The Chief Minister said that the proof he has, is the candid admission by the RSS workers, who had been arrested earlier. Singh was speaking to mediapersons here at the airport. He said that the arrested RSS workers in their statement had said that they had planted bomb at a programme in Bhopal. He revealed that in 1993 when the bomb was being made in Seva Bharti office in Neemuch, it exploded..
Three years back many of its own activists were involved in bomb attack on its own office ((3 arrested in Tenkasi bomb blast case, Tuesday February 5 2008 08:12 IST , Express News Service ( Newindian express) The investigations revealed that the blasts were planned to provoke a backlash between two groups of different and dominant communities in Tenkasi. Investigations revealed that S Ravi Pandian (42), a cable TV operator, S Kumar (28), an auto driver, both from Tenkasi, and V Narayana Dharma (26) of Sencottai had planted 14 pipe bombs in the office of Ravi Pandian.
Formally the RSS may lose sleep over the allegations of Hindu terrorism. But can it shy away from the fact that its own history is replete with examples to demonstrate how its leaders have cultivated and promoted a culture of violence.
Shikarpur bomb blast in Karachi, immediately after partition, where its own office faced devastation because of explosion of bombs stored there is a classic case of its involvement in terrorist acts. L.K. Advani, the septugenarian leader of the BJP happened to be a leading member of the RSS there
Rajeshwar Dayal, the first Home Secretary of United Province after Independence, recounts in his autobiography an incident which exposes the sinister designs of the RSS in fomenting communal tension in the country on the eve of independence. (Rajeshwar Dayal, A Life of Our Times, Delhi : Orient Longmans, 1999 , 93-94.)
‘I must record an episode of a very grave nature when the procrastination and indecision of the UP cabinet led to dire consequences. When communal tension was still at fever pitch, the Depuby Inspector General of Police of the Western Range, a very seasoned and capable officer, B.B.L. Jaitley, arrived at my house in great secrecy. He was accompanied by two of his officers who brought with them two large steel trunks securely locked. When the trunks were opened, they revealed incontrovertible evidence of a dastardly conspiracy to create a communal holocaust throughout the western districts of the province. The trunks were crammed with blueprints of great accuracy and professionalism of every town and village in that vast area, prominently marking out the Muslim localities and habitations…
‘Greatly alarmed by those revelations, I immediately took the police party to the Premier ( chief minister’s house.There in a closed room, Jaitley gave a full report of his discovery, backed by all the evidence contained in the steel trunks. Timely raids conducted on the premises of RSS had brought the massive conspiracy to light.The whole plot had been concerted under the direction and supervision of the Supremo of the organisation himself. Both Jaitley and I pressed for the immediate arrest of the prime accused, Shri Golwalkar, who was still in the area.
..What ultimately emerged was that a letter should be issued to Shri Golwalkar pointing out the contents and nature of the evidence which had been gathered and demanding an explanation thereof. ..
‘Golwalkar, however, had been tipped off and he was nowhere to be found in the area.
‘Came January 30, 1948 when the Mahatma, that supreme apostle of peace, fell to a bullet fired by an RSS fanatic. The tragic episode left me sick at heart.’.
There is no iota of doubt that if Golwalkar would have been apprehended by the police then and duly convicted on the basis of available evidence then he would have definitely replaced Nathuram Godse as the ‘The first terrorist of Independent India’.