A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 17 No. 07 12-18 FEB 2014
Arrest Terror Mastermind RSS Chief Bhagwat:
Investigative Agencies Must Drop Double Standards
Swami Aseemanand, a key accused in five terror attack cases, has revealed in his interview with Caravan magazine that these terrorist acts were sanctioned by the RSS and its chief Mohan Bhagwat. He states that Bhagwat gave his blessings for the terror attacks, but warned him not to “link it to the Sangh.” He makes it clear that he is being represented by a battery of lawyers provided by the RSS.
The response by investigative agencies and the Government to this revelation underlines the double standards inherent in handling terror investigations. It is routine for investigative agencies to declare people to be ‘masterminds’ in many terror cases – although in most such cases, the charges prove false. In the process, innocent people spend time in jail and face custodial torture. In this case, when a key accused names a conspirator in a recorded interview, why do the investigative agencies not make an arrest and interrogate the alleged conspirator?
The NIA has said it cannot take Aseemanand's interview into cognisance unless Aseemanand chooses to record a statement with a magistrate. Why can't the NIA encourage Aseemanand to record his statement before a magistrate?
In the Ishrat Jehan case as well, the CBI has charge-sheeted an IB officer but avoided pursing the case against Amit Shah, the former Home Minister of Gujarat, in spite of the evidence of that the killings happened with the latter’s full knowledge and approval.
In the past too, many indications of the Sangh’s involvement in terrorist attacks have not been probed by the investigative agencies.
How can the linkages of the Sangh with terrorism, and the involvement of top BJP leaders with politically motivated fake encounters, ever be unravelled when key functionaries of the investigative agencies have a pronounced bias towards the BJP and the Sangh? There is already evidence of Army officers with affiliations to the Hindutva Brigade, like Lt Col Purohit. Recently, serving Mumbai Police Commissioner Satya Pal Singh has joined BJP at Modi's Meerut rally. Not long ago, former Home Secretary R.K. Singh (right hand man to the Home Minister of the country) joined the BJP on 13 December immediately after his retirement.
When men with such deep political and ideological links with BJP and the Sangh occupy senior positions in the police and investigative agencies, how can we possibly expect an impartial investigation of the Sangh's terror links?
Aseemanand, in his interview, is quite candid about the fact that the Sangh and its activists like himself, use violence routinely in the Dangs, Chhattisgarih, and other adivasi areas to spread Hindutva. He states quite clearly that he himself, like other members of the Sangh, instigated adivasis in Gujarat to ‘cleanse’ the area of Muslims in 2002. There, too, the same modus operandi was followed as in the blasts – i.e the violence was done by others while the Sangh masterminds went free: “the cleansing of Muslims from the adivasi areas, I was very active in that. I didn’t reveal myself at the time, so I went free. The work done in adivasi areas was done directly by the adivasis. I did not come forward. And no Muslim has returned there so far.”
His words to describe BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi are quite telling: “Main bhi karyakarta, woh bhi karyakarta. Woh bhi pracharak thhe. Ek hi kaam karna hain. (In the sense I am a worker, so is he. We do the same work.) A key accused in terror cases, is able to describe a candidate for India’s PM, as a man who does “the same work” as himself.
What, in fact, is Modi’s relationship to the violent ‘Hindu Nation’ agenda of the RSS? It should be noted that in June 2013, when Modi was in Goa at the BJP’s National Executive meeting where he was appointed Chairman of the party’s election management committee, he sent a message to the All India Hindu Convention organised by the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti at the same time. The Convention’s organisers (including the HJS which is implicated in Dabholkar’s murder) openly described it as “a step towards setting up a Hindu nation.” Modi’s congratulatory message to the Convention said, “Only by protecting our culture, the flag of dharma and unity can be kept intact. Organisations inspired by nationalism, patriotism and devotion for the nation are true manifestations of people’s power...Even though every Hindu conducts himself with love, compassion and intimacy with god, giving precedence to non-violence, truth and ‘sattvikta’, repelling demoniacal tendencies is in our destiny.” The Convention included organisations like the HJS and Pramod Muthalik of the Sri Ram Sene, implicated in violent acts against progressive individuals and women. Muthalik actually gave a speech at the Convention on how to prevent the culture of celebrating ‘Days’ like ‘Valentine’s Day’. Another session at the Convention was titled, “Uniting the Police and soldiers essential for the purpose of the establishment of the Hindu Nation”; an ominous subject, in the light of the involvement of Army officers in the terrorist blasts and the number of Sangh-minded cops ‘embedded’ in senior positions in the police.
Modi’s message makes it clear that he promotes outfits that commit violence in the name of ‘protecting culture’ and promoting ‘Hindu Rashtra.’ Further, Modi is a loyal leader of the same RSS, which Aseemanand reveals to be the mastermind behind terrorist blasts and the successful ‘cleansing of Muslims’ in Gujarat’s adivasi areas.
India's first terrorist killing - the murder of MK Gandhi by Godse - was also similarly done by a man from the Sangh stable, who had however taken care to "not link it to the Sangh." The ideological descendants of Godse continue to spread terror in the land. The struggle to bring the Sangh terrorists to book and lay bare the full web of the Sangh's terror linkages will continue.
Summary of Aseemanand’s Interview
(Based on a Press Release issued by The Caravan magazine, February 5, 2014)
Swami Aseemanand Says the RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat Sanctioned Terrorist Attacks
Swami 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 toThe Caravan which has been published in the latest issue of the magazine. In the course of over two years, Aseemanand granted four exclusive 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.”
Extract from the 11,200-word-long The 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 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 seven-member 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 don’t implicate anyone as senior as Bhagwat. Although Kumar was 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 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 RSS-affiliated lawyers are providing his legal aid.
Knowing the national relevance of the sensitive information that Aseemanand revealed to The Caravan journalist, in an interview which was conducted with the full consent of Aseemanand, we place these facts in front of the public, along with a tape recording and transcript of parts of the conversation that mention Mohan Bhagwat. The full story is atcaravanmagazine.in/reportage/believer - See more at: http://caravanmagazine.in/print/4150#sthash.Weap2Mpb.dpuf
Aseemanand also states that his confession to involvement in blasts, recorded in front of a magistrate, was not done under torture:
“They brought me to Delhi. Then the judge asked me “Kya bata rahein hain aap? Yeh sab sahi hain kya? Main likh ke rakh raha hun yahan — ki aapko phaansi ho sakta hain, yeh aap ko pata hain? Yeh main aapse pooch raha hoon, aap kya jawab denge? So I said, haan main taiyyar hoon. (What are you saying? Is this the truth? I am writing this down here – that I have asked you this, whether you understand that you could be hanged for this. What is your answer to that? I said, I am ready for the consequences.) Then the Sangh’s lawyers told me, aapko hum ab bacha nahin payenge. (We can’t save you now.) Then they said that I should give a statement that I was tortured. I said write whatever you want, and I will sign it. But sahi mein torture nahin hua hain. (But in truth they didn’t torture me.)”
Aseemanand’s words on his work in Gujarat during the 2002 genocide is also significant:
“Gujarat mein, main Hindutva ka kaam ke liye gaya. Aur aap ko kya main bataoon, 2002 mein jo Godhra aaya, Gujarat ke us adivasi area mein jo Mussalmano ka safaya kiya, usmein bhi main bahut active raha. Usme par main samne nahi aaya tha, isi liye me choot gaya. Adivasi area mein jo kaam kiya hain, woh direct adivasi ne hi kiya. Hum saamne nahi aaye. Abhi tak wahaan koi waapas nahi aaya. Baki sab jagah jo gaye woh waapas aaye. Yahaan pe aa hi nahin saktein. Dang mein nahi tha: par Panchmahal se leke uttar tak.
(I went to Gujarat for the work of Hindutva. Let me tell you this, in 2002, when Godhra happened, the cleansing of Muslims from the adivasi areas, I was very active in that. I didn’t reveal myself at the time, so I went free. The work done in adivasi areas was done directly by the adivasis. I did not come forward. And no one [no Muslim] has returned there so far. They’ve returned to all the other places. Here they cannot return. They weren’t in Dang, but from Panchmahal to the north.)”
Fact-finding team into Birbhum Gangrape
At Labhpur in Birbhum in West Bengal, on 21 January night, a 20-year old adivasi woman was gang-raped by 13man reportedly after a village ‘salishi sabha’ (akin to khap panchayat), decided to punish her for her relationship with a man from different community (a Muslim.)
A fact-finding team of AIPWA, AISA and district party members including CPI(ML) district Secretary Subodh Ruj and State Committee members Moloy Tewary and Indrani Dutta visited Labhpur on 26 January. The team felt that the villagers are under pressure of local power politics. The AIPWA leaders Indrani and Chandrasmita met the rape survivor and her mother at Seuri Hospital. The victim's mother said that they sought justice against the 13 accused.
An effigy of the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was burnt, in a protest organised by AIPWA and CPIML on 27 January. Among others party State Secretary Partha Ghosh and AIPWA State Secretary Chaitali Sen took part in this program.
Jandaavedaari Rally at Samastipur
On 8 Feb 2014, as the first in a series of Jandaavedaari (People’s Assertion) Rallies in Bihar, a massive rally was held at Samastipur. The rally was attended by thousands of people, was held at Samastipur’s Patel Chowk.
At the rally, CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya warned against the communal and corporate-backed fascist agenda of Narendra Modi. He pointed out that JD (U) leader and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is responsible for the growth of communal forces like the BJP in Bihar, thanks to a 17-year alliance. He also took on the RJD and LJP, guilty of tying up with the Congress, the Party largely responsible for the ruin of this country. He said that the CPI(ML) would fight the coming elections on the issues of price rise, corruption, and people’s rights.
The rally was also addressed by CPI-ML Politburo member Dhirendra Jha, State Secretary Prof. Umesh Rai, Party leaders Phool Babu Singh, Jeevach Paswan, Braj Kishore Singh Chouhan, Khurshid Khair, Mohd. Chand, Shivji Rai, Chandra Mohan Jha, Surendra Prasad Singh, Vandana Singh, Shivshankar Singh, Surendra Suman, Sukhlal Yadav, and other leaders.
Statement against Howrah Gang Rape
We the undersigned express our deep shock and outrage at the incident of gangrape in rural Howrah, West Bengal, on 4th February, where two women supporters of the main opposition party, CPIM, were reportedly gangraped by 8 cadres of the ruling Trinamool Congress. While seven of the accused have been arrested, the eighth person named in the FIR, Barun Makal, who is an election agent of a TMC MLA, is still absconding.
This incident comes as the latest in a series of horrific rapes in West Bengal, where the Government has displayed its utter insensitivity and lack of political will to the plight of women, and has protected the accused.
There have also been a series of instances of violent assaults by ruling party cadres on supporters and activists of Left parties.
The latest horror from Howrah is clearly an instance of rape being used as a tool of political vendetta. We condemn this incident and demand that the accused be arrested and punished.
We support the ongoing struggles in West Bengal for accountability of the State in all instances of violence towards women. Impunity to perpetrators of rape breeds even more violence against women, and it is urgent for the State to accept its responsibility to end this impunity and act swiftly to ensure justice in all cases of rape.
Signatories include Kavita Krishnan (AIPWA), Subhashini Ali (AIDWA), Kavita Srivastava (PUCL), Ranjana Padhi (WSS), Ulka Mahajan (NAPM), Paramjeet (PUDR), Shabnam Hashmi (ANHAD), Akbar Chawdhary ( JNUSU President), Sucheta De (AISA), Jean Dreze, Sumit Sarkar, Tanika Sarkar, Amit Bhaduri, Seema Mustafa, Anand Patwardhan, Antara Dev Sen, Kamal Mitra Chenoy, Jawed Naqvi, Jyoti Punwani, Uma Chakravarti, Mallika Sarabhai, Badri Raina, Pamela Philipose, Madhu Bhaduri, Prabhat Patnaik, Utsa Patnaik, Jayati Ghosh and others.
Public Meeting on Political Challenges and Role of People’s Movements
On 10 February, a public meeting was organised by the CPI(ML) in GPF Auditorium in Delhi, on ‘Political Challenges, New Possibilities, and Role of People’s Movements.’ The meeting was addressed and attended by a range of intellectuals and activists.
Introducing the meeting, Kavita Krishnan, Politburo member of the CPI(ML), spoke of the communal-corporate fascist agenda represented by Modi, that was benefiting from people’s rightful urge to punish the Congress, UPA and other discredited forces for their regime of corruption, corporate plunder and repression. The crisis of credibility of the ruling class and people’s anger against two decades of neoliberal policies were factors that have produced the phenomenon of the AAP. For the revolutionary Left and for democratic forces and people’s movements, there is immense potential to shape people’s imagination for change, in the direction of reversal of the pro-corporate policy regime that had produced corruption, assertion of the rights of women, rejection of khap panchayats and moral policing, justice in communal and caste massacres and fake encounters like Batla House, Pathribal and Manorama’s rape and murder. This agenda of change should be asserted spiritedly, contending with those who wish to take ‘change’ in a fascist direction, and those who wish to confine the language of political change to mere modernisation of governance alone, avoiding the question of social and economic transformation.
Addressing the meeting, Sunilam of Kisan Sangharsh Samiti spoke of his experiences during the Janlokpal struggle led by Anna Hazare, and his discomfort with the virtual merging of people’s movements with a political party, the AAP. Urmilesh, senior journalist, called to explore new ways for the Left in building mass support for its struggles and movements. Manindra Thakur of JNU stressed people’s urge for democratic political participation, especially the need for internal democracy in the functioning of people’s movements and political parties. Prof Manoranjan Mohanty critiqued any notion of ‘ideology-free’ change. The worst 2-G scam, he said, citing the example of Odisha, was that of corporate-driven ‘Growth’ and ‘Governance’, and true Swaraj could only be socialism. Albeena Shakil of Left Collective spoke of people’s disappointment with the AAP over its defence of racist vigilantism and its refusal to present even an outline of its social and economic vision. She stressed that it was self-defeating for the Left to join hands with thoroughly discredited forces like the SP, JD(U), Jayalalitha etc who have a shabby and shameful track record even on the question of combating communalism. Journalist Anand Pradhan said that the moment was ripe with potential for revolutionary Left forces to forge new slogans and build movements of workers and common people. AISA President Sucheta De spoke of students’ campaign in Delhi University to assert students’ right to affordable rent, transport, and roll back of the disastrous FYUP. She also spoke of the experience of intervention against the incident of racism at Khirki by a Delhi Minister. Shankaran of the AICCTU spoke of workers’ campaign for their rights, pointing out that the AAP Government in Delhi spoke of direct action and democracy in many things but when it came to keeping its promise to make contract workers permanent and enforce minimum wage laws, it resorted to delaying tactics like committees. Columnist Praful Bidwai pointed out that the AAP had avoided taking a consistent anti-communal stand, and did not speak of Modi’s communal character, because a large part of its support base coincided with Modi’s, and in Delhi it had gained mainly at the expense of Congress and BSP.
CPI(ML) Politburo member Swapan Mukherjee commented on the fact that CPI(M) GS Prakash Karat, at a rally the previous day, had remained silent on the Congress. He said that such tactics of defending indefensible forces in order to forge opportunist alliances was a proven recipe for disaster. While genuine participatory democracy was no doubt needed, he warned against the AAP’s model of governance through RWAs and mohalla sabhas, pointing out the possibility of majoritarian communal and regressive dominance. He called for the revolutionary Left to assert its agenda of people’s rights and democracy boldly with its identity and strength.
AISA’s Mass Delegation to Delhi Secretariat
Demanding Better Transport Facilities, Reduction and Control of Room Rents
and Roll-back of FYUP
On 31/1/2014, hundreds of students from various colleges of Delhi University participated in a ‘Mass Delegation’ to the Delhi Secretariat organized by AISA, demanding better transport facilities, affordable accommodation, better infrastructure and immediate roll-back of FYUP. According to the feedback received from around 15,000 students from various DU colleges during a recent campaign organized by AISA, these issues were critical for a majority of DU students.
“The Delhi University students today suffer from massive problems of transport, absence of hostels and unbridled rent in private accommodations and of course, the mounting problem of infrastructure in Colleges. Imposition of FYUP has further aggravated the infrastructure crisis apart from ruining the quality and content of DU's cherished UG programme”, said Sunny Kumar, AISA leader in DU.
Student representatives met the Delhi government’s Ministers for Transport as well as the Education. They demanded running special buses in the evening/night for women specially for the Evening colleges in DU; increasing the number and frequency of DTC buses plying near both the North campus colleges, issuing concessional student passes in ALL Red DTC air conditioned buses as well as Cluster DTC buses; revamping the service of the University Special buses for Delhi University; issuing concessional student passes for all students plying by Metro and starting Metro Feeder facilities. The ministers assured for an Action Taken Report from the DTC and to see the feasibility of Metro concessional passes for students.
On the issue of exorbitant room rent and exploitation of students by the broker-landlord nexus, the Education Minister Manish Sisodia said that he was in ‘principle agreement’. However, according to him, the government was working out modalities of how to address the issue. The Minister also expressed support for the student’s demand to revoke FYUP in Delhi University.
AISA will go back to the Delhi government soon, to get a feedback on the action taken by the government on these crucial issues which are central to the idea of an affordable, inclusive and equitable educational institutions.
Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication,
R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.cpiml.org