Monday, January 26, 2009
Radical Hindu Government in Israeli Exile?
NEW DELHI // The alleged conspirators of a series of fatal blasts in Maharashtra state last year had plans to create a Hindu state and approach Israel, Nepal and Maoist groups for help, state police have claimed in a charge sheet filed with a Mumbai court.
Police claim Abhinav Bharat, the Hindu radical group blamed for the blasts, which killed seven and wounded more than 100 in Malegaon, had designed a flag and written a constitution and was preparing to form a parallel Hindu government in exile operating out of Israel.
“To form this ‘Hindu rashtra [state]’, they were prepared to approach the Israeli government for support, but largely wanted to attract like-minded people into their organisation. From our investigations, we have come to learn that some of the accused had met King Gyanendra of Nepal twice to seek his help,” K P Raguvanshi, the additional director general of Maharashtra police, told a press conference in Mumbai last week.
Police claim that the prime suspect in the Malegaon blast case, Lt Col Prasad Purohit, an officer in the Indian army, confessed during his interrogation that he sought Israel’s help to create a Hindu nation as he believed the constitution of India was incapable of dealing with “Islamic militancy”.
The main source of evidence against Lt Col Purohit is a recorded conversation allegedly between him and a co-conspirator, Dayanand Pandey, found on Mr Pandey’s laptop.
“I have contacted Israel. One of our captains has been to Israel, eliciting a very positive response from their side. They have asked us to show them something on the ground because we have just shown them everything on paper right now. They said wait and watch for six months,” Lt Col Purohit is quoted as saying in the recording and on the charge sheet.
“We had asked for four things: continuous and uninterrupted supply of equipment and training; secondly, to allow us to start our office with a saffron flag in Tel Aviv; thirdly, political asylum; and finally, to support our cause in the United Nations that a Hindu nation is born.”
The accused mastermind met Nepal’s former king, Gyanendra, and several Maoist leaders in 2006 and 2007, the charges read, based on the recorded conversation.
“I had proposed and the king had accepted that 20 of my men will be given officer training every six months. In a year I will get 40 people and 200 of my men will train for soldiers,” Lt Col Purohit is heard saying.
“You being an independent nation ask for AK-47s from the Czech Republic and we will pay for the ammunition. The king had accepted the proposal. Just imagine if that happens.”
Mr Pandey and Lt Col Purohit along with the other members also discussed how they “were hoping that Cambodia, Nepal, Thailand, Bhutan, Japan and Korea become one Hindu nation”, at a meeting said to have been held on Jan 26 2008.
Besides Lt Col Purohit and Mr Pandey, police arrested nine men. Three people are at large. The arrests were made after police traced a motorcycle used in the blasts to one of the men.
In 2006, 36 people were killed in a bomb blast near a mosque in Malegaon, a town nearly 290km north-east of Mumbai. Police had blamed Simi, the Students Islamic Movement of India, for the attacks. Malegaon has long been the scene of violent clashes between Hindus and Muslims, who make up 75 per cent of the impoverished town’s half a million residents.
Police said the Hindu group wanted to frame Simi for the blasts.
Police are also investigating whether Abhinav Bharat played a role in the bombing of the India-Pakistan friendship train, the Samjhauta Express, in 2007 in Panipat, India. More than 70 people died in the blasts, most of them Pakistanis. The Indian government had blamed Lashkar-i-Taiba and Jaish-i-Mohammad for the blasts.
The police claim that the 60kg of RDX explosive used in the train blasts came from Lt Col Purohit while he was posted in a military intelligence unit in Kashmir.
Police are also investigating the possible role of a Delhi-based doctor, many army officers and Himani Savarkar, a niece of Mohandas Gandhi’s assassin, Nathuram Godse. A witness has told police that he, along with 15 members including Ms Savarkar, attended a meeting in Bhopal where they discussed bombing a site in Malegaon. Police have now made Ms Savarkar a witness in the case.
The investigations into the blasts were dealt a blow after the death in the Mumbai terrorist attacks in November of Hemant Karkare, who was head of Mumbai’s antiterrorist squad. Many people, including a federal minority affairs minister, demanded an inquiry in to the circumstances that led to Karkare’s death, alleging a right-wing Hindu group might have been behind it.
“Basically this is much more rooted in the society. Lt Col Purohit is just the face which has been exposed. The case is almost closed after the filing of the charge sheet. It’s obvious they were not working in isolation,” said Maroof Raza, an expert on security-related issues.
Although some radical Hindu groups are alleged to have been involved in terrorist attacks in India since 2006, their terrorism links became public only in October with the arrest of Lt Col Purohit and his supporters.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a Hindu nationalist party, alleges that the arrests and accusations of the existence of a radical Hindu right-wing network, are politically motivated.
“We have to wait and watch how the investigations are carried forward and how much justice is delivered. Major political parties like BJP, Shiv Sena and other right-wing parties are supporting the accused and if BJP comes to power the course of the case may change,” Mr Raza said.
Source: The National Newspaper, UAE
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