Church blasts: The reason why

George Iype

What precisely did the Anjuman hope to gain by bombing churches?

Investigators offer two explanations: One, the Anjuman wanted the people to blame Hindu groups like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad for the blasts. It wanted to scare Christians into believing that they were no longer safe under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

The second reason, as put forward by the Karnataka's Corps of Detectives that is investigating the sect, is that the blasts were carried out because Anjuman founder Siddiqui hated Christians.

CoD officials say though Siddiqui propagated amity, harmony and oneness of religions, he had taught his followers to hate Christians. The apparent reason was that in 1934, Siddiqui and 18 of his followers were jailed by the British government for indulging in inflammatory speeches and writings.

According to the CoD, the group was arrested by the Dharwad police on the charge that it was endangering peace by preaching a religion that promoted communal hatred.

"Siddiqui had then pledged to take revenge on the British officials -- Christians -- who humiliated him in jail," said a CoD official, who quoted from one of the sect's pamphlets.

The investigating agency has now prepared a report on the Anjuman's hate campaign against Christians in the last year. The CoD, however, is unable to explain why the sect was silent towards Christians all these years.