Swami Aseemanand, a key figure in the Hindutva terror network, who was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from Haridwar in November, has admitted to having planned terror attacks on Ajmer Sharif, Mecca Masjid, Malegaon and the Samjhauta Express.
In his confession, recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code before Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Dabas at Tis Hazari courts on December 18, the arrested Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader 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.
His 42-page confession, recorded in Hindi, has been reported in Tehelka news magazine’s latest cover story “In the Words of a Zealot.’’ He has named senior RSS leader Indresh Kumar, the murdered RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and senior RSS pracharaks Sandeep Dange and Ramji Kalsangra, among others, as being key conspirators in the terror blast.
According to him, Indresh Kumar, who was recently questioned by the CBI, had financed several of the blasts, while Sunil Joshi and his team executed many of them. He said the terror conspiracy was hatched over several meetings at which he was present along with these Hindutva leaders. According to him, the trigger for their conspiracy was the Islamist terror strikes on Sankatmochan temple in Varanasi and Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar.
He said in his statement, “I told everybody that bomb ka jawab bomb se dena chahiye (we should reply to bomb blasts with bombs) I told everyone since 80 per cent of Malegaon are Muslims, we should explode the bomb in Malegaon.’’ He also said, “Since Hindus throng to the Ajmer Sharif dargah, we thought a bomb blast in Ajmer would deter Hindus from going there.’’
Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad was chosen because the Nizam of Hyderabad had wanted to opt for Pakistan during Partition. And Samjhauta Express was chosen because it was mostly used by Pakistanis, according to Tehelka magazine which has also uploaded the statement on its website. The statement made is legally admissible evidence that makes it crucial for the investigators probing the terror bombings targeting Muslims at religious and other places.
The magazine says that Swami Aseemanand, of the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram in Gujarat's Dangs district, told the metropolitan magistrate that in a 2006 meeting with other Hindu radicals, including murdered RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi and Thakur Pragya Singh, it was he who propagated the policy of “bomb for a bomb”. Sunil Joshi, alleged to be the key conspirator in 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, Rajasthan Police has claimed.
The Swami, whose real name is Jatin Chatterjee, hails from Hooghly district in West Bengal and is a post-graduate in Botany. He started working whole time for “Adivasi Kalyan Ashram” of RSS in Birbhum, Bankura and Purulia districts of West Bengal from 1977.
Swami Aseemanand also confessed how he had motivated a bunch of RSS pracharaks and other Hindu radicals to carry out the terror strikes to target Muslims.
Swami 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 have been accusations of their involvement in the Mecca Masjid and Ajmer blasts.
Swami 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 questioned by the CBI.
More than 68 people were killed in the Samjhauta Express 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.