New Delhi, 26 May-2014, Dhirendra K Jha: The National Investigation Agency is studying seven bombings allegedly executed by Hindutva groups.
As Bharatiya Janata Party Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi takes oath today, many are wondering if his new government will have a return gift for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the organisation that played an enormous role in helping him secure his mandate.
Will the review of saffron terror cases be Modi’s return gift to RSS?
The RSS, the parent of the family of saffron entities to which the BJP belongs, and other parts of the Sangh Parivar have already started to express their demands of the new government.
On Saturday, Ashok Singhal, leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, said the Modi government would help restore “Hindutva’s lost rule” by facilitating the construction of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya, imposing a common civil code and banning cow slaughter. “There was a large section in the country that dreamt of the return of our lost rule,” Singhal told journalists.
A day before Singhal’s statement, Indresh Kumar, a national executive member of the RSS whose name has figured in the investigations related to the saffron terror incidents, dubbed these cases as part of “a political conspiracy by the UPA [Congress-led United Progressive Alliance] government” and asked the new dispensation to immediately start the process of reviewing them.
“I have been saying from day one that this was a political conspiracy hatched by the Congress-led UPA government,” Kumar said. “I cannot say if all of them [the people accused arrested in saffron terror cases] should be let off. But they must get bail.”
For the RSS, a review of Hindutva terror cases is one area on which there cannot be any compromise, said highly placed officials in the Sangh who requested anonymity.
Nor is the RSS ready to wait endlessly for the new government to take steps in this direction. After 90 days, the period the RSS thinks the government will require to settle down, “we expect the government to initiate the process of reviewing these cases”, a senior RSS leader said.
At present, the National Investigation Agency is studying seven cases of saffron terror involving a series of bombings in which more than a hundred people were killed between 2006 and 2008. Prominent among these cases are the Malegaon blasts on September 8, 2006, in which 38 persons were killed; the Samjhauta Express blasts on February 18, 2007, in which 68 persons were killed; Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid blasts on May 18, 2007, in which 14 persons were killed; and the Ajmer Sharif blast on October 11, 2007, in which three persons were killed.
All the seven cases were handed over to the NIA in April 2011 on the grounds that the strikes were carried out and planned by the same set of people, belonging to Hindu extremist outfits.
Kumar, who is suspected to have encouraged the extremists to carry out the strikes and even financed them, was interrogated by the Central Bureau of Investigation in December 2010.
The change in government, the RSS officials say, has come at a crucial juncture, just when it seemed that the Sangh would be crippled by these cases. In view of its reputation for breeding intolerance, a debate had started about whether the organisation should be allowed to exist at all.
According to these officials, RSS chief Mohan Bhagawat grasped the challenge in March 2013, when he told the Pratinidhi Sabha, the executive council of the Sangh, to put all its resources and energy into ensuring victory for the BJP in the general elections of 2014. From that point, the RSS snapped into election mode as never before.
The terror cases were the one reason for the Sangh to go all out to push for Modi as it understood that the only way it could survive was with the active support of a strong and sympathetic government at the Centre, RSS officials said.
They said that the demand that their members be exonerated from terror charges is so important, the Sangh may even consider putting on hold most others of its wishes, including the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
(Input source: Scroll)