AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA
September 15, 2008
Dear Dr. Manmohan Singh,
The blasts in Delhi (September 12, 2008) are another in the series of tragic blasts in which scores of people have been killed. We strongly condemn the blasts and demand a proper, unbiased investigation into the same. We demand that the guilty be punished. At the same time it seems that our investigating agencies are ignoring some thing very crucial in the matters of investigating the acts of terror.
The acts of terror have been occurring and Home Ministry is watching helplessly. While the current investigation is totally focused around SIMI, many an alleged culprits have been put behind the bars, despite which now some unknown entity Indian Mujahideen seems to have been projected as being responsible for the current ones. At the same time another stark truth is being deliberately sidelined and undermined. And that relates to the blasts done by Bajrang Dal and Hindu Jagran Samiti. We fail to understand as to why the investigation authorities are turning a blind eye to some of the well established facts.
1. In a serious case of blasts in Nanded in April 2006 two Bajarang Dal workers died when making bombs. Similar incidents of bomb blasts were witnessed in many places around that time, Parabhani, Jalna and Aurangabad in Maharashtra. Most of these were in front of the mosques. The Nanded investigation 'leads' were not followed. On the contrary the investigation in that direction was not pursued at all. The attitude of police in this investigation has been totally lax. Social activists made the complaint about this to Human Rights commission. The commission summoned the Superintendent of police, Nanded, in its hearing held on 17th June. The SP failed to turn up for hearing! There seems to be a deliberate cover up of this important finding of Maharashtra Anti terrorist Squad. ATS did investigate the links of the dead with Bajrang Dal, an RSS affiliate. At the same time the injured were visited in the hospital by the top brass of local BJP and associates. Local BJP MP told the police not to harass those related to the culprits in the wake of the Bajrang Dal involvement in the bomb making. In Nanded, ATS also found fake moustache and pajama kurta, the idea being that the culprits will dress like a Muslim while doing these black deeds.
2. A bomb blast took place at the RSS office at Tenkasi, in the Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu on January 24. After a thorough investigation, the Tamilnadu Police had arrested 7 persons belonging to Sangh Parivar outfits. They had confessed that they indulged in this terror act to instigate the local Hindu population against the Muslims.
On further investigation, the Tamilnadu Police arrested Siva Alias Sivanandam, who is the General Secretary of Hindu Munnani at Kadayanallur, a neighbouring town of Tenkasi. Formed in 1980, Hindu Munnani is a frontal organisation of Sangh Parivar operating in Tamilnadu.
Siva, who has earlier worked in quarries in the neighboring state of Kerala had supplied the ammonium nitrate and other raw materials for preparing the bombs.
3. The bombs which exploded in Gadkari Rangayatan on 4th June 2008 injured seven people. Again Maharashtra Anti Terrorist Squad succeeded in nabbing the culprits. The culprits were part of Hindu Janjagaran Samiti (HJS), an outfit of Sanatana Ashram in Panvel. These culprits were also involved in other blasts, in Vashi, Panvel and Ratnagiri. We have not heard anything about the further tracing of this very important lead.
4. On 24th August, in Kanpur two Bajrang Dal workers died while making bombs. Rajiv alias Piyush Mishra and Bhupinder Singh were killed while making crude bombs on Sunday afternoon.
On 25th August, Monday, police recovered some crude hand grenades, lead oxide, red lead, potassium nitrate, bomb pins, timers and batteries from the spot, inside a hostel in Kalyanpur area of Kanpur, about 80 km from Lucknow. No further investigation, why?
Every time there is a bomb blast immediately the agencies and the media declare that it is done by some Muslim organization without any proof. Hundreds of innocent young boys are picked up, what follows are illegal detentions, torture, arrests, harassment of families, forcing the families and victims to sign blank papers. For years these helpless victims are tortured in jails, denied legal aid, even lawyers who try and fight their cases are attacked openly in courts. Their images tarnished for life time. If they are lucky they get let off after years as neither the agencies or the police have any proof against them. The cacophony of stricter laws rises so that a police can extract a confession by third degree torture and present that as evidence. Through this systematic vilification campaign the process of demonization of minorities continued unabated.
If we look at the timing of the terror attacks it is very clear that one and only one political outfit is gaining from it and that is Sangh. With their eyes on the central government their agenda of polarizing the voter is going ahead successfully.
On the other hand there are constant attacks on minorities on one pretext or another. Orissa thousands of Christians have been attacked, rendered homeless, their homes ransacked and looted and burnt down, churches attacked and even orphanages are not left alone.
Karnataka a similar picture is emerging. We have personally briefed very senior people in the government and the Congress party about the Karnataka situation and that it might explode but nothing was done and we have seen what has happened yesterday.
While we write to you now, the police are firing at Muslims in Yakutpura in Vadodara. Yesterday during the Ganpati procession a local dargah was broken down and shops of Muslims looted and ransacked. Already one boy has died and many are injured.
Last few days the only Muslim village Nandepeda in the Dangs, Gujarat has been attacked, ransacked. Villagers have been beaten up brutally including women and children. All men have fled to the jungles. The police not only took away all the goods but before going they poured kerosene into the eatable good so that they could not eat anything too. A proposed VHP rally today was stopped after spending 4 hours on the phone and pressuring various police departments.
UPA had formed the National Integration Council under tremendous pressure. The first agenda papers which were prepared, if you remember, were highly communal and objectionable. A number of us had raised it during the meeting and the Home Minister had replied' treat them as scrap' in your presence. Probably the Home Minister realized that people like us were too uncomfortable to have in the NIC, who would raise these questions. The NIC was never convened again. It was supposed to meet every six months.
The country unfortunately has been given on a platter to the Sangh and the government looks helplessly in providing security to ordinary citizens whether they are victims of terror attacks or victims of the constant attacks by the Sangh Parivar's various outfits.
We hope you will intervene and question why are such clear cases of involvement of RSS affiliates in terror attacks being ignored. It seems the investigating authorities deliberately want to cover up the role of RSS affiliates in these acts of terror. Can the real truth behind the dastardly acts come out without properly investigating these incidents, where the culprits' involvement is very clear? We urge upon you to instruct the investigating authorities to pursue the investigation in an unbiased, honest and professional manner. The life of innocent citizens is at stake and such irresponsible cover will definitely prevent the real truth from coming out. For the sake of fairness, honesty and the values of our constitution, we need to pursue these cases in their logical direction.
Can we look forward to you, Mr. Prime Minister to make your Government to rise above partisan attitude and unravel the truth behind the blasts which are rocking the country in a painful way?
Shabnam Hashmi, Member, National Integration Council
Ram Puniyani, Social Activist, and writer