Arrest Terror Mastermind RSS Chief Bhagwat: Investigative Agencies Must Drop Double Standards

Swami Aseemanand, a key accused in five terror attack cases, has revealed in his interview with Caravan magazine that these terrorist acts were sanctioned by the RSS and its chief Mohan Bhagwat. He states that Bhagwat gave his blessings for the terror attacks, but warned him not to “link it to the Sangh.” He makes it clear that he is being represented by a battery of lawyers provided by the RSS.    

The response by investigative agencies and the Government to this revelation underlines the double standards inherent in handling terror investigations. It is routine for investigative agencies to declare people to be ‘masterminds’ in many terror cases – although in most such cases, the charges prove false. In the process, innocent people spend time in jail and face custodial torture. In this case, when a key accused names a conspirator in a recorded interview, why do the investigative agencies not make an arrest and interrogate the alleged conspirator?       

The NIA has said it cannot take Aseemanand’s interview into cognisance unless Aseemanand chooses to record a statement with a magistrate. Why can’t the NIA encourage Aseemanand to record his statement before a magistrate? 

In the Ishrat Jehan case as well, the CBI has charge-sheeted an IB officer but avoided pursing the case against Amit Shah, the former Home Minister of Gujarat, in spite of the evidence of that the killings happened with the latter’s full knowledge and approval.

In the past too, many indications of the Sangh’s involvement in terrorist attacks have not been probed by the investigative agencies. 

How can the linkages of the Sangh with terrorism, and the involvement of top BJP leaders with politically motivated fake encounters, ever be unravelled when key functionaries of the investigative agencies have a pronounced bias towards the BJP and the Sangh? There is already evidence of Army officers with affiliations to the Hindutva Brigade, like Lt Col Purohit. Recently, serving Mumbai Police Commissioner Satya Pal Singh has joined BJP at Modi’s Meerut rally. Not long ago, former Home Secretary R.K. Singh (right hand man to the Home Minister of the country) joined the BJP on 13 December immediately after his retirement.

When men with such deep political and ideological links with BJP and the Sangh occupy senior positions in the police and investigative agencies, how can we possibly expect an impartial investigation of the Sangh’s terror links?

Aseemanand, in his interview, is quite candid about the fact that the Sangh and its activists like himself, use violence routinely in the Dangs, Chhattisgarih, and other adivasi areas to spread Hindutva. He states quite clearly that he himself, like other members of the Sangh, instigated adivasis in Gujarat to ‘cleanse’ the area of Muslims in 2002. There, too, the same modus operandi was followed as in the blasts – i.e the violence was done by others while the Sangh masterminds went free: “the cleansing of Muslims from the adivasi areas, I was very active in that. I didn’t reveal myself at the time, so I went free. The work done in adivasi areas was done directly by the adivasis. I did not come forward. And no Muslim has returned there so far.”   

His words to describe BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi are quite telling: “Main bhi karyakarta, woh bhi karyakarta. Woh bhi pracharak thhe. Ek hi kaam karna hain. (In the sense I am a worker, so is he. We do the same work.) A key accused in terror cases, is able to describe a candidate for India’s PM, as a man who does “the same work” as himself.

What, in fact, is Modi’s relationship to the violent ‘Hindu Nation’ agenda of the RSS? It should be noted that in June 2013, when Modi was in Goa at the BJP’s National Executive meeting where he was appointed Chairman of the party’s election management committee, he sent a message to the All India Hindu Convention organised by the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti at the same time. The Convention’s organisers (including the HJS which is implicated in Dabholkar’s murder) openly described it as “a step towards setting up a Hindu nation.” Modi’s congratulatory message to the Convention said, “Only by protecting our culture, the flag of dharma and unity can be kept intact. Organisations inspired by nationalism, patriotism and devotion for the nation are true manifestations of people’s power…Even though every Hindu conducts himself with love, compassion and intimacy with god, giving precedence to non-violence, truth and ‘sattvikta’, repelling demoniacal tendencies is in our destiny.” The Convention included organisations like the HJS and Pramod Muthalik of the Sri Ram Sene, implicated in violent acts against progressive individuals and women. Muthalik actually gave a speech at the Convention on how to prevent the culture of celebrating ‘Days’ like ‘Valentine’s Day’. Another session at the Convention was titled, “Uniting the Police and soldiers essential for the purpose of the establishment of the Hindu Nation”; an ominous subject, in the light of the involvement of Army officers in the terrorist blasts and the number of Sangh-minded cops ‘embedded’ in senior positions in the police.

Modi’s message makes it clear that he promotes outfits that commit violence in the name of ‘protecting culture’ and promoting ‘Hindu Rashtra.’ Further, Modi is a loyal leader of the same RSS, which Aseemanand reveals to be the mastermind behind terrorist blasts and the successful ‘cleansing of Muslims’ in Gujarat’s adivasi areas.

India’s first terrorist killing – the murder of MK Gandhi by Godse – was also similarly done by a man from the Sangh stable, who had however taken care to “not link it to the Sangh.” The ideological descendants of Godse continue to spread terror in the land. The struggle to bring the Sangh terrorists to book and lay bare the full web of the Sangh’s terror linkages will continue.