Acquittals of the Mecca Mosque Blast Exposed NIA Collaboration with the BJP

By Sajjad Shaukat

India’s special anti-terror court on April 16 acquitted Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) preacher Swami Aseemanand and four others in the Mecca (Masjid) blast case, holding that the prosecution failed to prove even a single allegation against them.

Apart from Aseemanand, those acquitted are–Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai and Rajendra Chowdhary.

But, hours after pronouncing the judgment, K Ravinder Reddy, the special judge for National Investigation Agency (NIA) cases, tendered his resignation.

Meanwhile, the Chief of the all India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen or AIMIM and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi tweeted “Judge who gave acquittal to all accused in Mecca Masjid Blast resigns very intriguing and I am surprised with the Lordship decision”. Owaisi, in an earlier tweet, claimed that the NIA did not properly pursue the case, leading to the acquittal of the accused.

As regards the incident, a powerful blast, triggered by remote control, had ripped through the over four centuries-old mosque-Mecca Masjid during an assembly of devotees on May 18, 2007 when they had gathered for Friday prayers, killing nine people and wounding 58. Two more Improvised Explosive Devices were later found and defused by the police. The incident had triggered violent protests and riots, prompting police action in which five more people were killed.

However, J P Sharma, the counsel for Assemanand, told reporters after the verdict “Prosecution (NIA) could not prove even a single allegation against any of the accused and all of them stand acquitted.”

In fact, NIA was in collaboration with the ruling party’s led by BJP-coalition. NIA also pressurized the Judge in this case. Hence, the media was not allowed in the courtroom where the judgment was pronounced in the high-profile case, which was dubbed by the then United Progressive Alliance government as one of “Hindu terror”, a term that riled saffron organisations, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), no end.

It was BJP-projected verdict which could also be judged from the fact that though there were 10 accused in the case, only these five were tried. Two other accused-Sandeep V Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra—are absconding, while Sunil Joshi was murdered. Investigation is continuing against two others. The absconding accused clearly proved that the acquittals were behind the Mecca Masjid blast.

Immediately after the verdict, the NIA had come in for attack by opposition parties, including the Congress.

Pleased by the court verdict, the BJP claimed that it had exposed the Congress’s “appeasement politics” while the latter raised questions about the functioning of the NIA.

The President of Congress Rahul Gandhi bolted past reporters when they sought his opinion on the verdict. His Twitter account has also fallen silent. The Congress president and his party evidently have very little to say.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “It (acquittal) is happening in each case since the government was formed four years ago… people are losing faith in the agencies.”

Nevertheless, the judgment of the court has clearly proved that the government of the BJP-led coalition has left no stone unturned in implementing the theory of ‘Bhagwa Atankwad’ (safron terror).

It is notable that renowned thinkers, Hobbes, Machiavelli and Morgenthau opine that sometimes, rulers act upon immoral activities like deceit, fraud, falsehood and even murder to fulfill their countries’ selfish aims. But such a sinister politics was replaced by new trends such as fair-dealings, reconciliation and economic development. Regrettably, India is still following the discarded theories of past politics in modern era.

In this regard, coercive role of Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) which is a state within the state is being used as tool to suppress the dissenting voices, including the political opposition, and to malign Pakistan.

In the backdrop of Mumbai attack incident of November 26, 2008, India raised NIA on December 31, 2008 as the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement organization. With the passage of time, the agency has become a powerful tool to terrorize political opponents and suppress dissenting voices. The agency has also assistance of “Special Courts” to expedite the process of conviction and execution.

Apart from repressing political opponents, the NIA has mostly remained active against Indian Muslims, Sikhs, Maoists and people of North Eastern India.

The agency has been increasing activities in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) to subdue the Hurriyat leaders and other Kashmiri people. NIA started terrorizing almost all the Hurriyat leadership through coercive tactics to force them to meet and cooperate with new Indian interlocutor Dinesh Sharma. The same approach continues unabated. Kashmiri leaders like Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik strongly criticized Indian government for using National Investigating Agency as a war weapon to harass the Hurriyat leaders.

Similarly, in the Indian Punjab, NIA has been labeling every active Sikh as pro-Khalistan and has been using coercive tactics as well.

Likewise, in North East India, former chief minister TR Zeliang of Nagaland was recently called by NIA in a probe related to terror funding case of Khaplang faction of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN).

It is noteworthy that a BJP leader of the ruling party Ajay Agrawal sought NIA help in registering sedition case against Congress leader Mani Shankar for attending a meeting with the Pakistani officials. Moreover, it is on record that the incumbent DG NIA namely Yogesh Chander Modi is a handpicked man of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Yogesh Modi was part of Indian Supreme Court appointed SIT (Special Investigation Team) which had probed Modi’s role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. The SIT cleared Modi. Yogesh Chander Modi also handled another key case which was murder of Haren Pandya-political rival to Narendra Modi was killed in Gandhinagar in 2003. Yogesh Modi was even slammed by the Gujarat High Court for “ineptitude resulting into injustice.” The Pandya investigation led to the conviction of 12 persons under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). However, all the culprits were subsequently acquitted (found not guilty) by the Gujarat High Court in 2011.

It is of particular attention that in July, 2013, the Indian former home ministry and ex-investigating officer Satish Verma disclosed that terror attacks in Mumbai in November 26, 2008 and assault on Indian Parliament in January 12, 2001 were carried out by the Indian government to strengthen anti-terrorism laws.

NIA’s discriminatory role in investigation of Mumbai incident was also amply exposed by investigative book “The Betrayal of India: Revisiting the 26/11 Evidence” written by Elias Davidsson who proved that it was a false flag terror attack.

It is worth-mentioning that on the midnight of 18-19 February 2007, India-Pakistan Samjhota Express train was bombed in which 70 Pakistani nationals were killed. The Hindu extremist leader Swami Aseemanand, a leader of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has confessed that he was involved in several bombings incidents. He also claimed to have been a part of the incident.

As a matter of fact, ideology of Hindutva prevails in every field at the cost of other minority groups. It is even supported by Indian defense forces secretly. This could be judged from the incident, when on April 6, 2008 in the house of Bajrang Dal fundamentalists in Nanded, a bomb went off. The investigation proved that these militants were found in the bomb-making and attack on a mosque in Parbhani in 2003. Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra arrested a serving Lt. Col. Srikant Purohit along with other army officials, indicating that they were helping in training the Hindu terrorists, providing them with the military-grade explosive RDX, used in the Malegaon bombings and terrorist attacks in other Indian cities. ATS further disclosed that Lt. Col. Purohit confessed that in 2007, he was involved in bombing of Samjhota express.

In this respect, Aseemanand’s statement in the Samjhota Express blast case was recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code before a magistrate. His earlier admission was also recorded in the Mecca Masjid case, which was being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Sadhu Aseemanand stuck to his confession that Hindutva radicals were behind the bomb attack on the Samjhota Express. Besides, Aka Naba, Kumar Sarkar and some other accused were named absconding Hindutva militants—Ramji Kaisangra and Sandeep Dange as the key plotters in that terror attack.

Swami Aseemanand also confessed in the court that several RSS preachers and Sang activists were directly involved in planning, financing and executing Malegaon, Samjhauta Express, Ajmer and Mecca Masjid blasts. He stated that various leaders of Hindu communal organizations including Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Abhinav Bharat, Jai Vande Matram and Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram were also behind these blasts.

In this context, exposing the nexus between the BJP and RSS, the then Indian Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde disclosed on January 20, 2013 that organized training camps run by the fundamentalist parties, RSS and BJP were promoting Hindu Terrorism. He elaborated that these extremist parties were behind the Samjhauta Express, Meccca Masjid and Malegaon blasts. He added, “We will have to think about it (Saffron terrorism) seriously…Hindu extremist parties BJP and RSS were involved many times in Hindu Muslim violence in India, especially Gujarat and Babri masjid incident.”

The then India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid endorsed Shinde’s statement, saying that it was based on facts. Meanwhile, Indian Home Secretary R K Singh revealed that during investigation the government had found ten names of the Hindu extremists, associated with RSS, who were involved in these terror attacks including Ajmer Sharif.

While, India has always accused Pakistan’s primary intelligence agency ISI of these acts of terrorism, but it is quite silent over Hindutva-terror which has obtained a new face, under the fundamentalist Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as Indian RAW, NIA and country’s high officials and fundamentalist parties have co-relationship.

However, despite the confessions of Swami Aseemanand, instead of taking action against the culprits of the Samjhota Express explosion and Mecca Masjid, the Supreme Court of India had accepted the bail of Swami Aseemanand after the covert interference of the Modi-led authorities who changed the investigations in this respect in order to weaken the case.

It is also of particular attention that The Times of India had reported on December 17, 2010 that Congress Party’s heir, Rahul Gandhi feels that “the bigger threat to India may be the growth of radicalised Hindu groups which create religious tension and political confrontation with the Muslim community.”

Nonetheless, from Mumbai incident to Shakeel Bhatkal case and recent acquittals of the Mecca Mosque blast, including self-fabricated charge sheets against Hafiz Saeed, Syed Sallah-ud-Din, Kamran Yousif etc, NIA has been used in every sinister move to torment the Muslims and to malign Pakistan regarding various terrorism-related attacks which occurred in India. So, we can conclude that in reality, acquittals of the Mecca Mosque blast have exposed NIA collaboration with the BJP-led coalition of the extremist parties.


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