Petition In SC Against NIA Soft-Pedalling of Sanghi Terror Cases

Activist Harsh Mander has filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the NIA’s soft-pedalling of the terrorism cases in which activists of RSS and its sister organizations are implicated. The petition is based on Special Public Prosecutor Rohini Salian’s interview in which she states that she was asked by the NIA to “go soft” on the accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case.

Meanwhile the Modi Government has confirmed in Parliament that the NIA will not oppose bail for Swami Aseemanand who is the prime accused in the Samjhauta Express blast case and who has also, in a voluntary confession recorded before a magistrate, named several accomplices as well as conspirators in this and other Sanghi terror cases (Mecca Masjid blasts in 2007 and Malegaon blasts in 2006.)

The petition has argued that “external pressure/influence” on the office of Special Public Prosecutor threatens to “seriously compromise a free, fair and transparent trial,” and has sought intervention of the Supreme Court to ensure “that the trial is conducted in the most impartial and fair manner irrespective of the outcome…”

Aseemanand, in a long interview with the Caravan magazine (1 February 2014), not only candidly disclosed his own role in planning and executing blasts, he directly implicated the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. He said there that the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat gave his blessings for the terror attacks, but warned him not to “link it to the Sangh.” He also stated that he is being represented by a battery of lawyers provided by the RSS.

Aseemanand also admits freely to his role as an RSS cadre in the 2002 communal ‘cleansing’ of Muslims in Modi-ruled Gujarat. As in the blasts, there too 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.”

Aseemanand – a self-confessed terrorist – described Narendra Modi (today India’s prime Minister) as an RSS ‘karyakarta’ (worker) like himself: “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.)

Aseemanand also clearly states that his confession before a magistrate was entirely voluntary and not coerced or obtained 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.)”

Although the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh officially insists Aseemanand has never been associated with the organisation, RSS activists from West Bengal – where he hails from – have said he was indeed active in the sangh. On his part, the Samjhauta blasts accused has made no bones of his close links with the RSS.

Specifically raising the issue of the role of political pressure in delaying the trial of the 11 accused in the 208 case, the PIL argues that “subversion of judicial process and interference thereof by the state itself and/or through its agencies, defeats the fundamental right of free and fair trial.”

The RSS, which is busy branding those who appealed for mercy for Yakub Memon as ‘terrorists’, is itself directly implicated as a mastermind of blasts. They are providing lawyers for Aseemanand in an attempt to control his narrative. And now that the Modi Government is in power, it is also using the investigative agencies to suppress and sabotage the cases!

Box Matter

Bhagana Rapists Acquitted, Dalit Families Face Sanghi Violence

The Bhagana Dalits’ struggle began four years ago for their right to land. In April 2014 on the eve of the Lok Sabha elections, 4 Dalit teenage girls were abducted and gang-raped. When the Dalits protested, they were subjected to a social boycott and violently evicted from the village. Since then, for the past year they have been on a sit-in at Jantar Mantar, awaiting justice.

Meanwhile the BJP came to power in Haryana, and Muslims too have been violently evicted from another village, Atali by BJP-backed Jats.

Frustrated by the humiliation and violence inflicted on them by the upper caste Hindus, the Dalits of Bhagana converted to Islam. Doubtless this was an act of protest against caste atrocities; possibly it could also be a gesture of empathy with Muslims. The Sangh groups Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal promptly called for a boycott of those Bhagana villagers who had converted to Islam. Significantly, the VHP and Bajrang Dal never protested against the rapes of the Dalit teenagers of Bhagana by powerful Jat men or the eviction and social boycott of their families for protesting against the rape!

Meanwhile, on the eve of Independence Day, the police violently attempted to evict the protesting Dalits from Jantar Mantar, tearing down their tent. Hearing of this attack, I went to Jantar Mantar and spoke to Satish (now Abdul Kalam). 35-year-old Abdul Kalam has a fractured right hand. Another elderly gentleman had plaster on his hand after being injured by the police. Many women had also been beaten up by the police. The police had attacked at 11 pm at night.

Abdul Kalam told me that the police had been regularly threatening them since they converted. VHP as well people from Bajrang Dal have also tried to pressurize and intimidate these people into re-conversion. Jagdish also pointed out that everything was peaceful until they announced their conversion. Jagdish and Satish said that panchayats were being convened back in Bhagana so that neo-converts could be pressurized to reconvert into Hinduism.

As we spoke, news of acquittal of the four rape accused came in. In reply to my question, all the protestors said their battle for justice would continue.

- Abhishek

Liberation Archive