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Exclusive! RSS leader: Home ministry misused agencies to trap me

Last updated on: February 07, 2014 14:22 IST

RSS leader: Home ministry misused investigating agencies to trap me

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Prasanna D Zore

'I appeal to the government to organise an open court, call the national and international media, call your IB , CBI, NIA, state ATS chiefs, home minister and home secretary and grill me in public.'

'We will all face the mirror and let the nation decide what the truth is.'

RSS leader Indresh Kumar, who terror accused Swami Aseemanand alleged knew of plots to bomb the Samjhauta Express, the Mecca Masjid and the Ajmer Dargah, speaks to Rediff.com's Prasanna D Zore in an exclusive interview.

Indresh Kumar, a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's seven-member national executive council, finds himself once again at the heart of a raging storm.

A Caravan magazine report alleges that Swami Aseemanand, the man charged with the Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Dargah bomb blasts, claimed RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Indresh Kumar had given these acts of terror their tacit blessing.

Indresh Kumar, who is the patron of the Muslim Rashtriya Manch, an RSS-backed organisation that actively works with Muslims, was in Uttan, Thane district, to address 180-odd delegates of the Manch.

He spoke to Rediff.com's Prasanna D Zore in this exclusive interview, conducted on December 14, 2013.

Kumar would raise his hands, like an evangelist, put them on the heads of delegates, close his eyes and read something quietly. We began by asking him about it.

What do you say when you keep your hands on people's heads? Whatever you do, they feel very happy after that!

In a way, I belong to them and they belong to me.

From that feeling, I put my hand on their heads.

Whenever I do that, my heart prays for their well-being, prays to God to show them the path of righteousness, give them light, happiness and good health.

I also pray that their love for their vatan (nation) increases many times so that they walk together with their brothers and sisters.

This is what my heart feels when I keep my hand on their heads.

Baaki woh jaante honge ki unjko kya milta hai (Ask them what they feel when I put my hand on their head).

I pray to God to bestow all His love on them.

Could you tell us about your engagement with Muslims? Since when have you opened this channel of dialogue and conversation with them, and why?

When I visited Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh for RSS work, it was only natural to come in touch with Muslims in J&K, they being in the majority in the state.

I have understood one thing very clearly -- 99 per cent of Muslims love Hindustan, their ancestral roots belong to Hinduism.

Even his language and dialect belongs to Hindustan. His culture is also Hindustani. Due to some historic reasons he changed his religion.

Changing one's religion is not akin to changing one's ancestors, castes and sub-castes, language and dialects or his loyalty.

Somewhere in the course of history he made this mistake that instead of loving one's soil and nation he started identifying himself with some other nation.

Apne main aur paraye main, Hindustani aur videshi main farak nahi kar saka (He couldn't see the difference between his own and foreigners).

Like somewhere he began associating himself with Muhammad Ghori-Mahmud Ghazni-Babur, who were invaders. An invader is an invader and must be treated like one. Somewhere he began associating himself with Babur.

When I studied some sections of Islamic religion I realised that the way these Islamic teachings were interpreted in a way that even terrorism began to be equated with jihad.

In fact, in Islam, jihad is a very social, cultural and religious concept for the purification of human beings and communities.

Toh phir yeh kya hai (Then how are these people identifying themselves with invaders?)

How can they have terror outfits named as Allah Tiger, Hizbul Mujahideen... all these terror organisations in the name of Malik (God)?

Should somebody following Hizbul Mujahideen kill others in the name of religion and nationalism or help others?

Lakoom din e koom wale e din (To follow one's religion and respect religions of other people) is what these terror organisations are not doing and misleading people in the name of religion.

I then realised that these people should be helped to interpret Islam in the proper light. The other problem is politics is being used to divide and rule people.

What we need is a policy of loving others and progressing together.

Divide and rule has not helped India progress and led to backwardness of people of this great country. They started hating each other.

This is the time to start a new experiment: Let us walk together, love each other and progress together.

Why do Muslims not trust the Sangh Parivar as much as you would want them to trust you? How are you trying to change the situation?

More than distrust, there was lack of communication between these two.

The so-called secular people, who are in fact hardliners and communal, who look upon Muslims only as vote banks, further increased this communication gap.

The Muslim Rashtriya Manch (Muslim National Front) has been successful in bridging this gap a lot.

When they saw that people from the Sangh celebrate their festivals with them in the lanes where Muslims are in a majority, they have started moving towards us.

Then they saw that whenever there are man-made or natural disasters, RSS members help people of all religions without discrimination.

They saw that when ships of two Muslim countries met with an accident, RSS people went to help, cleaned the bodies of the dead for which nations of the world felicitated the RSS too.

This made the Muslims feel there should be direct communication between the community and the Sangh.

A similar line of thinking ran through the Sangh too that politicians are only broadening the gap and increasing hatred among various Indians.

So if Muslims wanted a dialogue, we should also endeavour to have a dialogue with them.

People were entering into a dialogue on an individual basis, but there was no collective effort.

We wanted to give impetus to this two-way, collective, dialogue.

The other thing is that Muslims are very uneducated, unemployed, there is the issue of talaaq (divorce) in the community, they are trapped in the web of terrorism.

So we thought there is a need for a reformist movement to change all this among the Muslims, that too by Muslims only; a reform movement to love the country, to spread a message of brotherhood and to get rid of the ills of their society.

The other reason is we want to free the nation from the politics of hatred and division.

A moment came suddenly that both sides wanted to hold a dialogue on these issues and it opened the doors for dialogue and debate.

This dialogue has now spread to 300 districts, 22 states and has started attracting people in millions.

The result of this endeavour is no doubt heartening. This dialogue made the Muslims feel that someone was helping them sincerely, without any vested interest, to make them part of the national mainstream as equals and not as a minority.

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Image: RSS leader Indresh Kumar with Muslim delegates at the Muslim Rashtriya Manch conclave on December 14.
Photographs: Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com
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Prasanna D Zore

There is a section of Indians who believe that ever since Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was named the Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate, the RSS and various arms of the Sangh Parivar are showing a newfound love for Muslims. The thinking is without the support of Muslims, Modi cannot become PM.

Tis is absolutely wrong. Such thinking is based on playing dirty politics and further scaring Muslims.

Such thinking reeks of communalism, inhumanness and lack of love for the nation.

The people who believe in playing dirty politics and make their careers out of it are the chief reason for such thinking.

Yeh bahut ghatiya vicharo wale log hai (People who think that we are engaging with Muslims to enlist support of Muslims for Modi to become PM have an execrable mentality).

If their thinking is so ghatiya, toh main malik se itni hi ibadat karunga ki in par rehmat barsa aur inki ghatiya soch ko achchi soch bana de (I can only pray to God to bestow his kindness on such people and change the way they think).

This movement started in 2002 and Modi is in the line of prime ministership only for the last couple of years.

Before that, there were intense discussions happening between the Muslims and RSS throughout the country.

Not seeing any humane and national perspective in these discussions is the bad fortune of some people from the media and intelligentsia.

These people can't think good of the nation and so can't ask good questions.

Are the Muslims connecting with Narendra Modi?

We are not doing this to gain political mileage.

After the results of the recent state assembly elections, I do not know the exact figure, but I got an SMS that talked about how Muslims are associating with nationalism and the path of love, the path of truth.

And if you check the figures for these assemblies (Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Delhi) you will find out why and how Muslims voted for the path of truth.

At places where only one per cent Muslims used to vote for the BJP, they have voted anywhere between 10 and 20 per cent in favour of the party in the state elections last year.

The writing is on the wall for political parties who create divisions, buy votes, scare and entice Muslim voters: These voters have stopped trusting them.

From our side, this movement is to awaken humanity, nationalism, love and brotherhood among Indians of various faiths.

The Muslims have started seeing a ray of hope because of this movement propagated by the Muslim Rashtriya Manch.

They have realised how everybody else used them for their own interests and how we are uniting them for the national cause; how everybody else incited them and we are talking about peace and progress; how where others have spread hatred, we are teaching them the message of love.

We speak about progress and others speak about religion- and caste-based progress.

We fight for justice for everyone and they fight for justice based on religion and faith of people.

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Image: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi , with a Muslim cleric after the inauguration of a hospital owned by a Muslim trust at Balasinore town, near Ahmedabad, November 10, 2013.
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters

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Prasanna D Zore

In your address to the Muslim Rashtriya Manch, you said Muslims were arrested in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and states where either the Congress or non-BJP parties are ruling. You did not mention the arrests of Muslims in Karnataka (when the BJP ruled the state) and Gujarat where they get arrested on charge of terrorism. Were you trying to give it a political colour?

You did not hear and understand properly what I was saying.

The Muslims have come to form an opinion that they face atrocities only in BJP-ruled states. I was only saying that you face these atrocities even in states where you vote en bloc for other parties.

You have politics in your mind and so you are asking me this question. Others too are victims of such politics.

But I must thank you for asking this question because my answer will correct the way you think and other people too will correct their thinking because such people feel the RSS and BJP discriminates against Muslims, who we respect not because of their religion but because they are Hindustanis.

So I tried to highlight what kind of injustices and that atrocities you face jinke aap godh main baithe hai (on whose lap you are sitting, thinking they are your saviours) for several decades.

They (the Muslims) will follow the path of truth only when somebody points out to them about who their real enemies are.

That will put paid to the fact that we discriminate against Muslims and we mean ill of them.

Irrespective of his caste or religion, one must understand that appeasement of a particular faith or caste will not be tolerated in India.

They have understood the message, but you have a problem and I think you too will try and walk on the path of truth. And through you I hope others too will see the truth and so I have answered your question.

There is a charge of terrorism against you too (Indresh Kumar has been chargesheeted by the Rajasthan Anti-Terrorism Squad in the 2007 Ajmer bomb blast) and many people see you as a 'Hindu terrorist'.

What would be your message to them and when you talk to Muslims, do they ask you about these charges?

When I was charged (in the Ajmer bomb blast case), Muslims all over the country demonstrated against their respective state governments rebuffing all such charges against me.

Muslims prayed for me in mosques, and offered chadars at dargahs.

When the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) called upon me on December 23, 2010 to talk to me, thousands of Muslims were offering namaaz in the CBI office in my support.

Can you show me any instance when Muslims showered such love and affection for so many so-called secular leaders who were arrested?

They did not show such respect even when so many Muslim leaders were arrested.

During the same time my mother passed away. When thousands gathered to pay their last respects, Muslims turned out strongly for the cremation.

They carried her body on their shoulders till the crematorium. Later, many secular and Congress leaders told me 'When such a tragedy strikes them, not even 100 people gather to offer condolence and you have Muslims not only coming from Karnataka, Kashmir, Assam, West Bengal, Gujarat and other states, but also carry her for four kilometres on their shoulders till the crematorium. We have never seen Muslims in such large numbers doing this.'

Not only that, when Muslims from India go to Mecca Sharif, they pray to Allah to punish those people who have woven a web of political conspiracy with such nefarious acts against me.

They pray for my well-being and security. I don't think such prayers were offered for any other Hindustani.

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Image: Indresh Kumar with a Muslim delegate from Madhya Pradesh at the Muslim Rashtriya Front conclave on December 14, 2013.
Photographs: Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com

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Prasanna D Zore

How did you feel when terror charges were levelled against you?

I thought God was testing my character to see how I fare in this exam.

I have passed through that phase by praying sincerely to God, but I was absolutely confident that this was a well-thought out plan hatched by the execrable political rulers of India.

After almost four years now, it has been proved that it is more of a political conspiracy rather than the truth.

I fervently appeal that this government (the United Progressive Alliance led by the Congress) has no moral right to keep in jail all the innocents irrespective of their religion or faith.

Those officers and politicians who cook such conspiracies should be in jail.

I appealed to the government to organise an open court, call the national and international media, call your IB (Intelligence Bureau), CBI, NIA (National Investigation Agency), state ATS chiefs, home minister and home secretary and grill me in public. We too will ask questions.

If they are investigating a matter, then give us that right too.

We will all face the mirror and let the nation decide what the truth is.

I also pleaded that the job of an investigation agency is to investigate and put forth the findings in front of the courts and governments.

Investigating agencies have violated all democratic and human rights our Constitution guarantees.

All their investigations were conducted in the most illegal and undemocratic manner. They leak stories to the press.

Confessions taken under Section 164 (of the Indian Penal Code) and opened only when the case goes on trial are leaked.

The country's home ministry has misused investigating agencies in the most illegal, corrupt, inhuman and unjustified way to trap innocents like me in terror traps.

I will pray to god to give them wisdom and discourage them from walking on a dirty and illegal path.

If they do, then they will have to face the ill consequences of such acts.


Image: Palaniappan Chidambaram, then Union home minister, in New Delhi, May 25, 2009.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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