New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) Arrested Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Swami Aseemanand has confessed before a magistrate that he along with other Hindu activists was involved in the Malegaon, Samjhauta Express, Ajmer and Mecca Masjid bombings.
Aseemanand's confession has unravelled the 'inner workings of the Hindutva terror network' before the magistrate, according to the weekly Tehelka magazine that claims to have obtained Aseemanand's 42-page signed confessional statement.
The Dec 18 statement made under Clause 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) is a legally admissible evidence that makes it crucial for the investigators probing the terror bombings targetting Muslims at religious and other places.
The magazine says that the swami, in the statement made in Hindi, told the magistrate that it was not just a rump group like the ultra-right wing organisation Abhinav Bharat that engineered the blasts, but RSS national executive member Indresh Kumar, who allegedly handpicked and financed some pracharaks (volunteers), also took part in carrying out the terror attacks.
'Indreshji met me at Shabri Dham (Aseemanand's ashram in Gujarat) sometime in 2005. He was accompanied by many top RSS functionaries. He said he had deputed Sunil Joshi (murdered RSS leader) for this job (terror attacks) and he would extend Joshi whatever help was required.'
Joshi, alleged to be the key conspirator of the Ajmer Dargah blast, was shot dead in Madhya Pradesh in 2007. He is suspected to have been killed by his own men to cover up the terror act, according to Rajasthan Police.
Aseemanand, who was arrested last year, also alleged that Indresh financed Joshi for the terror activities and provided him men to plant bombs.
He also confessed to his own role in the terror plots and how he had motivated a bunch of RSS pracharaks and other Hindu radicals to carry out terror strikes at Malegaon, Hyderabad and the Ajmer Shareif shrine.
Aseemanand's reported confession is the first direct evidence of the involvement of Hindutva extremists in the 2006 Malegaon blasts and the Samjhauta Express blast even though there were accusations of their involvement in the Mecca Masjid and Ajmer blasts.
He said that the Hindu terror acts were conducted as 'the Muslim terrorists started attacking Hindu temples in 2002'.
'This caused great concern and anger in me. I used to share my concerns about the growing menace of Islamic terrorism.'
He said he got in touch with Joshi and Pragya Singh Thakur in 2003. And finally it was the terror attack on the Sankatmochan temple in Varanasi in March 2006 that became the real flashpoint for them.
'In March 2006, Pragya Thakur, Sunil Joshi, Bharat Riteshwar and I decided to give a befitting reply to the Sankatmochan blasts,' Aseemanand told the magistrate.
'I told everybody that bomb ka jawab bomb se dena chahiye, (we should answer bombs with bombs),' says Aseemanand.
'I suggested that 80 percent of the people of Malegaon were Muslims and we should explode the first bomb in Malegaon itself.'
'I also said Hyderabad was also a fair target. Then I said that since Hindus also throng the Ajmer Sharif Dargah in large numbers we should also explode a bomb in Ajmer which would deter the Hindus from going there. I also suggested the Aligarh Muslim University as a terror target,' Aseemanand's coonfessional statement said.
'In the meeting, Joshi suggested that it was basically Pakistanis who travel on the Samjhauta Express train that runs between India and Pakistan, and, therefore, we should attack the train as well. Joshi took the responsibility of targeting Samjhauta himself.'
Aseemanand hails from Hooghly district in West Bengal and is a post-graduate in botany. In 2001, he took up the issue of conversions in tribal areas and started re-converting people. He also ran the Shabari Dham Ashram and has a long list of followers, many of whom have been quizzed by the CBI.