In the wake of the various acts of terror and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur’s motor cycle being traced, it became clear that the investigating agencies are acting on the wrong thesis that ‘all terrorists are Muslims’. A Pandora’s box opened and the link of ex-ABVP activist, Pragya Thakur, Swami Dayanand Pandey, retired Major Upadhayay, Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit and Swami Aseemanand came to surface, Role of two organizations inspired by the ideology of ‘Hindu nation’, Abhinav Bharat and Santana Sanstha also came to light. The investigations led by Hemant Karkare, by the Rajasthan ATS and National Investigation Agency (NIA) made it clear that there is a deeper nexus of elements like Purohit &Co., those who have been part of terror groups or have been supporting them in various ways. The confessions of Swami Aseemanand, named many more activists belonging to RSS combine, who are currently cooling their heels in jails and are facing investigations for acts of terror.
Lt. Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit came to be identified as one of the major player in the whole episode. He is the core person of extremist Hindutva group Abhinav Bharat. He was arrested on 5th November 2008 by Maharashtra ATS for his role in Malegaon blast. It was the investigation of Malegaon blast, particularly under the leadership of Hemant Karkare, which unearthed the whole terror network, which later on came to be termed as Saffron terror by P.Chidmabaram, the Union Home minister. For Purohit and other army officers, the army instituted a court of inquiry.
During the inquiry what Col Purohit said is very revealing. Purohit claimed that he was part of the network as an infiltrator and was keeping his superiors in the loop, keeping them informed. He claims that he infiltrated the terror network to keep a tab on the same. But his statement leaves a lot of questions unanswered. The major question is if he was doing all this for army, why did army hand him over to Anti Terrorism Squad?
The whole investigation seems to be mired in mystery and lots of facts need a further probe. Tehelka had also published investigative reports naming several ex-military men from the Bhosala Military School and their involvement in the Malegaon and other blasts, which was later confirmed by the ATS. The involvement of other army officers needs to be brought to surface as the whole matter seems to be much serious than just a case of few officers keeping a tab of these terrorist groups.
The blasts taking place in front of mosques and similar places where Muslims congregate for prayers, at the time when they are leaving the congregation was a clear indication of involvement of ‘other’ groups than the usual suspects, in which many a Muslim youth had been arrested and later released due to lack of any evidence whatsoever.
In the light of many a military officers role in these acts, it did not therefore, come as a surprise that Mohan Bhagwat, RSS Chief used the platinum jubilee celebrations of the Bhosala Military school (BMS) say that “military schools run under the aegis of Hindutva institutions are the need of the hour,”.
Looking at the key role played by Bhosala Military School, which is run by a group of people whose sympathies with the RSS is no secret, one fails to understand why the chief bosses of the school were not investigated for their role in the acts of terror? Very few people even know that BMS is one of those rare schools who impart training on service pattern to the students along with regular courses which is aimed at encouraging and preparing them for entry into National Defense Academy (NDA), Indian Military Academy (IMA) etc and other defense services.
Bhosala Military School has a long history. It was set up by Dr. B.S. Munje, the mentor of RSS Sarsanghclak, Dr. K.B. Hedgewar. Dr. Munje was inspired by Benito Mussolini’s fascist methods and believed that one who controls army rules the country. His statue in the Nagpur, where RSS was founded, has this phrase written on the plaque. With this perspective in mind this school was set up to act as a feeder for Indian army. The school was set up with the assistance of British and it supplied officers to the British army. Its training is meant to supply officers for Indian army. Now it emerges from different confessions and statements that the groups involved in terror had deeper connection with this school. What ideology it teaches and what it aims is very clear from some of the statements of the accused.
The phenomenon of Hindutva terror allegedly revolves around the likes of Lt. Col Purohit and Swami Aseemanand of RSS to name the two central characters. After Swami Aseemanand’s confession the total picture and their agenda becomes clear. Aseemanand had said that ‘bomb is the answer to bomb’. He also wanted to pave the way for the goal of Hindu nation through such terror outfits and their goal was larger than just a blast here and a blast there, they aimed at Hindu nation. Purohit in his statements during interrogation has said that their effort was to fight the Indian Constitution for (Hindu) Nation, “We will fight the Constitution to fight for our nation.” The RSS propaganda that Hindu religion is in danger and it needs to be defended was also stated by Purohit. He also says “many things are wrong in the country and need to be rectified. Hindu religion is in danger. It is our duty to defend Hinduism.” And finally “We have to establish this country in accordance with the Vedic procedures; we want the Sanatan Dharma, the Vedic Dharma.”
The la affair Purohit is getting murkier and murkier. The agenda of Hindu nation, the role of Bhosala military school and other army officers in the whole chain of command cannot be accepted at the face value. It needs a deeper probe and investigation of the whole terror network and the role of army officers, as it is clear that Col Purohit’s statement that he was keeping other army officers in the loop for an operation which was not the part of the army intelligence work, is a matter of worry. The role played by Bhosla Military School also needs to be probed. The ideology which such people are harboring to fight Indian Constitution to build Hindu nation is a clear danger to our Constitution, the democratic values and the plural character of the country. How does one save the values of India’s Constitution, the values of India’s freedom movement?
(Ram Puniyani was a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Powai and works keenly on social issues. He is the author of three books including Communal Politics: An illustrated primer.)