Hindutva’s terror trail
Evidence that Hindutva groups were seeking to acquire terrorist capabilities begins to emerge. An improvised explosive device (IED) is found at the Bhopal railway station in December, evidently intended to target Muslims arriving in the city to attend a Tablighi Jamaat gathering.
On November 21, there is a bomb blast at Mohammadiya Masjid in Parbhani, Maharashtra.In December, exactly a year after the discovery of the IED at the Bhopal railway station, another bomb is found in the Lamba Khera area, on the outskirts of Bhopal, on the last day of a Talblighi Jamaat meeting.
On August 27, there are blasts at the Meraj-ul-Uloom Madarsa and Masjid in Purna, and at the Quadriya Masjid in Jalna, both in Maharashtra, injuring 18 persons.
Bajrang Dal activists Naresh Kondwar and Himanshu Panse are killed in a bomb-making accident in Nanded, Maharashtra, in April. Police later find that the two men had allegedly been responsible for the Parbhani blast, and other Bajrang Dal activists linked to the Nanded cell were involved in the Purna and Jalna blasts.Blasts triggered at three different places in Malegaon, including a mosque-cum-graveyard where 38 people are killed. The occasion was Shab-e-Baraat and people had come to offer prayers for their dead.
On February 18, 68 people are killed and scores injured when two suitcase bombs exploded in the Indo-Pak Samjhauta Express when it was passing through Dewana village in Haryana. Among the dead are 42 Pakistani nationals. Indian authorities immediately blame a suspicious Pakistani national for allegedly masterminding the attack and call it an attempt to sabotage the peace process.On May 18, a bomb blast at the historic 17th-century Mecca Masjid in the heart of Hyderabad kills nine persons and injures at least 50. Police fires on people protesting against the attack, killing five. Reportedly, around 200 Muslim youth are picked up, kept in illegal detention and brutally tortured for many days.In August, two Bajrang Dal activists, Rajeev Mishra and Bhupendra Arora, were killed in Kanpur while assembling bombs.On August 25, twin blasts rock Gokul Chaat and Lumbini Park in Hyderabad, killing 53 persons. Police point fingers at HUJI and, later, the Indian Mujahideen, for carrying out the attack to avenge the Mecca Masjid blasts.On October 11, a low-intensity bomb explodes at the Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer, killing three persons. The same module of HUJI which the police had blamed for the Mecca Masjid blast is alleged to be behind the attack. The SIM card used to trigger the Mecca Masjid blast is found to be from the same series as the one found at the site of the Ajmer blast.
On September 29, five Muslims are killed in Malegaon, Maharashtra, and another person in Modasa, Gujarat, when bombs exploded within minutes of each other. Police immediately blame their usual suspects, the Jehadis. The probe takes a new turn, however, after the arrest of Dayanand Pandey, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Lt Col Srikanth Purohit in October for their alleged involvement in the Malegaon blast. Police says the attack was carried out by the Hindu Jagran Manch, an Indore-based Rightwing Hindu outfit, which reportedly has links with Abhinav Bharat, another such outfit based in Pune, and the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad. Many photographs in which Sadhvi Pragya is seen with senior BJP leaders also come to light. But the probe comes to a standstill in November after the mysterious death of Maharashtra ATS Chief Hemant Karkare in the Mumbai terror attack.
On October 16, two men die when a bomb they were carrying explodes in Margao, Goa, on Diwali eve. The suspects are allegedly members of a Rightwing Hindu organisation called Sanatan Sanstha. The police also recover two unexploded IEDs at Sancaole, Goa.
On May 1, the Rajasthan ATS arrests Devendra Gupta from Bihariganj in Ajmer. He is allegedly responsible for procuring the SIM cards used for carrying out the Ajmer Dargah blast. Chandrashekhar, an RSS activist from Madhya Pradesh, is also arrested for his alleged role in the plot. Both are linked to Abhinav Bharat. However, Swami Asimanand, the alleged mastermind of the Ajmer and Malegaon blast, is still absconding. CBI Director Ashwani Kumar claims that the bombs used in the Ajmer, Malegaon and Samjhauta express blasts had used the same arming devices that were procured from Indore.On May 17, the National Investigating Agency files a chargesheet at a district court against 11 members of Sanatan Sanstha, a Rightwing Hindu outfit, for the 2009 Margao blast.