With militant Hindutva leader Aseemanand's ‘confession' about his role in the February 2007 bomb explosion on the Samjhauta Express now public, the Congress on Friday used this fresh ammunition to fire on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its affiliates.
General secretary Digvijay Singh, who has been at the forefront of the Congress attack on the Sangh Parivar, said Aseemanand's confessions vindicated the line he had taken. “I have been saying this for a long time, but unfortunately, I wasn't taken seriously.”
“This country faces a serious threat from extremist, fanatic ideologies with religious overtones, whether of the majority or minority community,” Mr. Singh said, adding, “We have to encourage liberal Hindus and Muslims to fight this in every nook and corner of the country.”
Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party and the RSS of using religion “for their own political ends and to poison communal harmony,” Mr. Singh said this led to communal riots which, in turn, spawned terrorist acts by fringe extremist groups belonging to both the minority community and the RSS. Mahatma Gandhi, he stressed, was murdered not by Nathuram Godse but by extremist fanatic Sanghis.
Earlier, Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed told journalists that reports about the confessions of Aseemanand “have brought out the new terrorist face of the RSS.”
“This is ‘Sanghi' terrorism which poses a big threat to the country.”
Would the Congress seek a ban on the RSS? “Ban it or disband it, but take firm action. New facts have come to light and the government should definitely take action after examining all facts.”
Mr. Ahmed's comments come in the wake of the publication of Aseemanand's signed confessional statement in the news weekly, Tehelka . Aseemanand, who worked for the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram — an RSS affiliate — in the Dangs in Gujarat, reportedly confessed before a magistrate that he, along with a group of other Hindutva activists, had participated in the Malegaon, Samjhauta Express, Ajmer and Mecca Masjid bombings.
He had reportedly told the magistrate that theirs was not just a rump group like the ultra-right wing Abhinav Bharat, and that RSS national executive member Indresh Kumar, who allegedly handpicked and financed some pracharaks, also played a role in the terror attacks.