New Delhi: Arrested Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Swami Aseemanand has
confessed that he and other Hindu activists were involved in
bombings at Muslim religious places because they wanted to answer
every Islamist terror act with "a bomb for bomb" policy.
Aseemanand's confession before a magistrate about the Malegaon,
Samjhauta Express train, Ajmer and Mecca Masjid bombings has
unravelled the "inner workings of the Hindutva terror network",
according to the weekly Tehelka magazine that claims to have
obtained his 42-page signed confessional statement.
The Dec 18 statement made under Clause 164 of the Criminal
Procedure Code (CrPC) is a legally admissible evidence that makes
it crucial for the investigators probing the terror bombings
targetting Muslims at religious and other places.
The magazine says that Aseemanand, of the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram in
Gujarat's Dangs district, told the magistrate that in a 2006
meeting with other Hindu radicals, including murdered RSS leader
Sunil Joshi and Thakur Pragya Singh, it was he who propagated the
policy of bomb for a bomb.
"I told everybody that bomb ka jawab bomb se dena chahiye, (we
should answer bombs with bombs)," said Aseemanand, in the
statement made in Hindi. The swami, whose real name is Jatin
Chatterjee, hails from Hooghly district in West Bengal and is a
post-graduate in botany.
"I suggested that 80 percent of the people of Malegaon were
Muslims and we should explode the first bomb in Malegaon itself."
He said that he suggested Hyderabad, Ajmer Sharif shrine and the
Aligarh Muslim University as other potential terror targets.
Joshi, Aseemanand said, suggested an attack on the Samjhauta train
as it was basically Pakistanis who travel on it and "therefore, we
should attack the train as well".
Joshi, alleged to be the key conspirator of the Ajmer Dargah
blast, was shot dead in Madhya Pradesh in 2007. He is suspected to
have been killed by his own men to cover up the terror act,
according to Rajasthan Police.
Aseemanand said that it was not just a rump Hindu radical group
that engineered the blasts but RSS national executive member
Indresh Kumar was also involved in carrying out the terror plots.
"Indreshji met me at Shabri Dham (Aseemanand's ashram in Gujarat)
sometime in 2005. He was accompanied by many top RSS
functionaries. He had deputed Sunil Joshi for this job (terror
Aseemanand, arrested last year, also confessed how he had
motivated a bunch of RSS pracharaks and other Hindu radicals to
carry out the terror strikes to target Muslims.
Aseemanand's confession is the first direct evidence of the
involvement of Hindutva extremists in the 2006 Malegaon blasts and
the Samjhauta Express blast even though there were accusations of
their involvement in the Mecca Masjid and Ajmer blasts.
The reported confession has triggered a war of words between the
Congress and the saffron parties including the RSS and the
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said the confession was
shocking and demanded that the "terror links of the Hindu
extremists need to be probed deeply".
The RSS accused the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that is
probing the blasts of deliberately leaking the confession obtained
under "duress". "This confirms that the interest of agencies is
not to probe but malign the reputation of the organisations...
Once again the CBI has proved that it is the Congress Bureau of
Investigation," RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said.
The BJP accused the UPA of using the CBI as a tool to malign the
image of the Sangh Parivar. "This is their agenda and they are
using the CBI for that," BJP's Prakash Javadekar said.
Aseemanand in his confession said they organised the terror acts
as "the Muslim terrorists started attacking Hindu temples in
"This caused great concern and anger in me. I used to share my
concerns about the growing menace of Islamic terrorism."
He said he for the first time got in touch with Joshi and Pragya
Singh Thakur in 2003. And finally it was the terror attack on the
Sankatmochan temple in Varanasi in March 2006 that became the real
flashpoint for them.
"In March 2006, Pragya Thakur, Sunil Joshi, Bharat Riteshwar and I
decided to give a befitting reply to the Sankatmochan blasts,"
Aseemanand told the magistrate.
Aseemanand is known for having worked to reconvert people in
tribal areas. He also ran the Shabari Dham Ashram and has a long
list of followers, many of whom have been quizzed by the CBI.
More than 68 people were killed in the Samjhauta Express, a
India-Pakistan peace train, bombing in 2007, seven people were
killed in the 2008 Malegaon blasts, while three people were killed
in the 2007 bombing at the Ajmer Dargah Sharif.