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'BJP shelters terror-tainted RSS workers'

January 29, 2011 09:14 IST

Investigative agencies are finally looking at the possibility of a Hindutva terror network. Aseemanand's alleged confession and the earlier arrest of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Purohit have shown the trail of the Hindutva terror network, which has turned the course of investigations into the bombings of Malegaon, Samjhauta Express, Ajmer Sharif and Mecca Masjid bomb blast cases.

But what of the several Muslim youth, who are still behind bars for these very bombings? What about the tortures they endured while in prison? What of those youth, who were tortured in prison for months, but were later released by the court after no evidence was found against them?

In a National Meet organised by ANHAD and other civil rights groups, these very questions were raised. In the day-long conference held in the capital on Friday, victims, senior political leaders, journalists and activists argued that "investigations into bomb blasts and terror attacks have degenerated into communal witch-hunting."

Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh justified his visit to Batla House after the infamous encounter in September 2008.  

"This is a classic case of witch hunting. I have my doubts about the so-called encounter, but I was more concerned about the 26 Muslim youth were picked up from the area, just because Atif Amin (the alleged terrorist who was killed in the encounter) had their phone numbers in his phone. I also visited Azamgarh. This area never saw violence during any of India's riots and then blasts happen and suddenly it is the nursery of terror," Singh asked.  

Digvijay found support in the form of Communist Party of India-Marxist Politbureau member Sitaram Yechury and Lok Janshakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan in lashing out against the Bharatiya Janata Party and Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh at the conference.

"How is that many people affiliated to the RSS find shelter in states where the BJP is in power? They make bombs and settle in Gujarat. Swami Aseemanad was never arrested while he was in Gujarat. The moment he stepped out, he was arrested. It should be investigated why BJP state governments shelter and protect these people," Singh said.

When asked why the Congress party, despite being in power, failed to ban organizations like RSS, which has a clear terror network trail, Singh told rediff.com, "The RSS has 150 organizations. Who all can we ban? If one organisation is banned, overnight the same organisation will be formed with another name. What we need to do here is fight these organisations ideologically. The first step would be to stand up to those who are against communal harmony."

Yechury said that there was an urgent need to change the mindset that only Muslims can be associated with terror attacks in India.

"Whenever there is anything wrong, Muslim youth are picked up. This has to change. There is the mindset that Muslims are outsiders. But we are talking about people who chose to stay back despite having an option of going to Pakistan. How can they be people working against the state? There are many innocent Muslims behind the bars for terror acts they did not commit. We will take up this issue in the upcoming session of the Parliament. Militant ideology within the RSS is nothing new and it is wrong to assume that they resorted to violence because they were provoked," Yechury said.

Slamming the RSS, Ram Vilas Paswan said that the state's biggest enemy was the RSS.

"There are a lot of Muslims who have been imprisoned illegally. Why is the government not realizing this? If RSS and SIMI are the same, then why that one is is banned, while the other is not? Why are there no restrictions against the RSS and its several faces?" Paswan asked.

Sahim Salim in New Delhi