Muhammad Ullah: In an affidavit, a long-time pracharak (preacher, worker) has made startling revelations about involvement of the Indian Army in training Hindu militants in bomb making, testing, and detonation. His magnum opus of allegations unmasks the ugly face of the Rashtriya Swayemsevak Sangh,the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal (caught red-handed imparting military training with live arms to students in Hindu-managed schools in Maharashtra).
It was a three-day camp organised in a resort at the foot of Sinhagad fort. About 20 youths from Aurangabad, Jalgaon, Nanded and other places in Maharashtra participated in the training. “The trainees were given material like three-four kinds of explosive powders, pieces of pipes, wires, bulbs, watches and so on for preparing bombs,” Shinde claimed.
The trainees were taken to a remote forest location to practise using the bombs. The bomb with timer was placed in a small pit dug by the trainees, which was then filled with dirt and large boulders before the explosive was set off.
After the training Himanshu caused three blasts in Marathwada region of Maharashtra. He had a plan to cause a major blast in the main mosque in Aurangabad and while making a bomb for that blast he lost his life in Nanded in 2006. Milind Parande was the mastermind of the conspiracy for nationwide bombings. Shinde was chosen for this project as the RSS and BJP leaders trusted his ability to trigger 500 to 600 countrywide blasts. In addition to “Garjana” in Maharashtra, “Hindu Yuva Chhatra Parishad” in Jammu-Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Assam, and UP, “Shri Ram Sena” in Karnataka, and senior leaders like Tapan Ghosh in West Bengal, he interacted with all of these groups. In 2014, the BJP won the elections, making Narendra Modi the prime minister.
The RSS is the parent organization and the ideological backbone to a host of Hindutva groups including the ruling BJP. In his affidavit, Shinde claims top right wing leaders were involved in the Nanded Blast.
According to the affidavit, Shinde was involved with the RSS since 1990 when he was 18. He went to Jammu in 1994 after reading that Hindus were being killed in the state, and Indresh Kumar, an RSS veteran, appointed him as the “vistarak’ (a post in the RSS) of Rajauri and Jawaharnagar.
In 1995, Shinde was arrested for slapping former chief minister Farooq Abdullah but was bailed out. He was acquitted in 1998. Shinde states in his affidavit that the bomb blasts had a political motive. They were intended to polarize Hindu voters against Muslims. “For selecting the boys for this purpose, there was a state-level meeting of VHP in Thane (Maharashtra).
In that meeting, the applicant got introduced to one Himanshu Panse of Nanded. At that time Himanshu Panse was the full-time worker of the VHP in Goa. He and his seven friends were selected for training. The applicant took Himanshu and his friends to Jammu. There they received training in modern weaponry from the Indian Army jawans.” Much of what Shinde has alleged in his affidavit is part of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad’s first chargesheet in the case.
The chargesheet said that Panse had gone to a resort in “Sinhagad near Pune in 2003 for training in making pipe bombs from a man named Mithun Chakraborty”. In addition, Sanatkumar Ragvithal Bhate, a retired Navy officer from Pune, had also reportedly told the anti-terrorism squad that Parade had asked him to “train his activists in the use of gelatine sticks at a camp in the city”.
Also, investigators were reported to have recovered materials that indicated that there was a plan to strike a mosque at Aurangabad from the house where the explosion that took Panse’s life occurred.
However, the Central Bureau of Investigation, which took over the case in 2013, claimed that the explosion was an isolated incident. But Shinde’s affidavit contests this conclusion. According to him, among the other people at the bomb-making camp was Rakesh Dhawade, who has been accused in the Malegaon blast case.
Congress leaders Pawan Khera and Digvijaya Singh tweeted the affidavit saying that the revelation from the former RSS worker has exposed the right-wing organisation. In 1994, Shinde completed the RSS (Prathmik Sangh Shiksha Varg) preliminary training course.
He finished the second level of the RSS training programme in 1996–1997 from Chandigarh. He was then named the “Pracharak ” of Reasi Tehsil in Jammu’s Udhampur district. In 1999, he returned to Mumbai and was appointed the Bajrang Dal’s chief. He met Milind Parande while working with the Bajrang Dal. Parande He oversaw the VHP division in Maharashtra.
Yashwant Shinde, a former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker claimed in an affidavit filed in Maharashtra’s Nanded court that he took part in a bomb-making camp a year before the 2004 Lok Sabha election and that the organisations connected to the RSS were responsible for a slew of bomb explosions around the nation.
The Indian government is mum about Shinde’s allegations. It should hold a fair investigation to sift the truth. The anti-Muslim frenzy generated through bomb blasts catapulted Narendra Modi to power in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.