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Aseemanand says RSS Chief sanctioned terrorist attacks; Mag releases Audio/Transcript Bhagwat ‘knew’ of plans to bomb several Muslim targets around India; allegedly he saw it not as crime, but connected it with the ideology that is very important for Hindus. By EC News Desk

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wami Aseemanand, incarcerated in Ambala Central Jail for abetting terrorist attacks on various targets between 2006 and 2008—Samjhauta Express (February 2007), Hyderabad Mecca Masjid (May 2007), Ajmer Dargah (October 2007) and two attacks in Malegaon (September 2006 and September 2008)—which together took the lives of 119 people, has made a revelation to The Caravan, a popular news portal, which has been published in the latest issue of the online newspaper. In the course of over two years, Aseemanand granted four exclusive

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interviews to The Caravan journalist Leena Gita Reghunath inside Ambala jail, the total duration of which ran into 09 hours and 26 minutes. In the last two interviews, Aseemanand repeated that his terrorist acts were sanctioned by the highest levels of the RSS—all the way up to Mohan Bhagwat, the current RSS chief, who was the organisation’s general secretary at the time. Aseemanand told The Caravan that Bhagwat said of the violence, “It is very important that it be done. But you should not link it to the Sangh.” (A list of questions was sent to

Bhagwat, but he has not responded.) Extract from the 11,200-word-long Caravan article: Over the course of our conversations, Aseemanand’s description of the plot in which he was involved became increasingly detailed. In our third and fourth interviews, he told me that his terrorist acts were sanctioned by the highest levels of the RSS— all the way up to Mohan Bhagwat, the current RSS chief, who was the organisation’s general secretary at the time. Aseemanand told me that Bhagwat said of the violence, “It’s very important that it be done. But


IN-FOCUS you should not link it to the Sangh.” Aseemanand told me about a meeting that allegedly took place, in July 2005. After an RSS conclave in Surat, senior Sangh leaders including Bhagwat and Indresh Kumar, who is now on the organisation’s powerful sevenmember national executive council, travelled to a temple in the Dangs, Gujarat, where Aseemanand was living—a two-hour drive. In a tent pitched by a river several kilometres away from the temple, Bhagwat and Kumar met with Aseemanand and his accomplice Sunil Joshi. Joshi informed Bhagwat of a plan to bomb several Muslim targets around India. According to Aseemanand, both RSS leaders approved, and Bhagwat told him, “You can work on this with

Sunil. We will not be involved, but if you are doing this, you can consider us to be with you.” Aseemanand continued, “Then they told me, ‘Swamiji, if you do this we will be at ease with it. Nothing wrong will happen then. Criminalisation nahin hoga (It will not be criminalised). If you do it, then people won’t say that we did a crime for the sake of committing a crime. It will be connected to the ideology. This is very important for Hindus. Please do this. You have our blessings.’” Chargesheets filed by the investigative agencies allege that Kumar provided moral and material support to the conspirators, but they do not implicate anyone as senior as Bhagwat. Although Kumar was

dedicated almost his entire adult life to the tribal arm of the RSS, the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram (VKA). At the time he planned the terrorist attacks, he had been the national head of the VKA’s religious wing, the Shraddha Jagran Vibhag—a position created especially for him—for a decade. In honour of Aseemanand’s service to the Sangh, in December 2005, he was awarded a special Guruji Samman on the occasion of the birth centenary of MS Golwalkar. The award came with a one-lakh-rupee cash prize and the veteran BJP leader and former party president Murli Manohar Joshi gave the ceremony’s keynote address. Not only have the RSS and the BJP never disowned Aseemanand for his roles in the terrorist attacks, or taken back the awards, Aseemanand confessed to The Caravan that RSSaffiliated lawyers are providing his legal aid. Knowing the national relevance of the sensitive information that Aseemanand revealed to journalist, in an interview which was conducted with the full consent of Aseemanand.

Aseemanand told that Bhagwat said of the violence, “It’s very important that it be done. But you should not link it to the Sangh.” 17 EASTERN CRESCENT | MARCH 2014

interrogated once by the CBI, the case was later taken over by the NIA, which has not pursued the conspiracy past the level of Aseemanand and Pragya Singh. (Joshi, who was allegedly the connecting thread between several different parts of the conspiracy—including those who assembled and those who planted the bombs—was killed under mysterious circumstances in December 2007.) Sixty-three-year-old

Aseemanand

The Caravan news portal has placed these facts in front of the public, along with a tape recording and transcript of parts of the conversation that mention Mohan Bhagwat.

Visit here to read the full story “The Believer: Swami Aseemanand’s radical service to the Sangh” http:// caravanmagazine.in/reportage/ believer


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