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Norway mass murderer's connection to Varanasi weaver

Last updated on: July 27, 2011 09:55 IST

Norway mass murderer's connection to Varanasi weaver

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The recent terror attack in Norway that left 76 people dead in Oslo has a remote link with a temple town located thousands of miles away -- Varanasi.

Anders Behring Breivik, the right-wing fundamentalist who went on a shooting spree and orchestrated a bomb attack that claimed 76 lives, was wearing an uniform with an embroidered insignia at the time of his arrest.

The insignia, ordered online by Breivik for his militant outfit Justiciar Knight, was embroidered by Mohammad Aslam Ansari.

Reportage: Sharat Pradhan


Image: Anders Behring Breivik was dressed as a policeman during his shooting spree and (inset) the insignia
Photographs: Reuters
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'The whole exercise was very disappointing'

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Ansari is a weaver who works in the narrow bylanes of Pathani Tola locality in Varanasi.

"Yes, the order for preparing two samples was received on my e-mail account nearly 11 months ago," said Ansari.

Ansari, 48, runs his traditional family business of weaving brocade silk sarees under the banner of the Indian Art Company.

"The order came in response to an advertisement I had put online in an attempt to expand my base and rise above my humble means. But the whole exercise was very disappointing as other than the two samples ordered by the Norwegian client, I received no other order," rued Ansari.

 


Image: Breivik (rear seat) leaves the courthouse in Oslo
Photographs: Jon-Are Berg-Jacobsen/Reuters
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'I didn't know what it was intended for'

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He added, "I did receive nearly Rs 10,000 (for the insignia). We can't afford to provide samples without receiving advance payment because the raw material requires money," he told rediff.com over the phone from Varanasi.

Ansari was not particularly intrigued by the unusual order -- for an insignia of a skull with a dagger passing through it -- as he is used to making similar badges and insignias for sports and defence organisations.

"I got it embroidered in both brocade and in silk as per the terms of the order and sent it to Norway by courier, without having the remotest idea of what it was intended for," he added.

Image: Candles and flowers placed in tribute to the victims
Photographs: Berit Roald/Reuters
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'The Norway order was a bad omen'

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Danish, Ansari's teenaged son, was equally disappointed over the whole affair.

"My father wanted to explore business avenues beyond geographical boundaries and this made him opt for an internet connection. It came in handy for me while learning many new things but it failed to help us. Even our connection was snapped due to non-payment," lamented 19-year old Danish, who is pursuing first year B Com.

"Sure enough, the Norway order was a bad omen," he laments.

Incidentally, Breivik is a staunch right-wing fundamentalist who is considered to be anti-Islam and anti-migration, even though almost all his victims were Norwegian Christians.


Image: Candles and flowers are placed in tribute to the victims of the twin terror strike in Oslo
Photographs: Berit Roald/Reuters
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