Jitendra Nath Chatterjee also known as Swami Aseemanad is a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist from India. He worked for several years in the tribal areas of Andaman and Nicobar trying to spread Hinduism. Dedicating almost his entire adult life to the tribal arm of the RSS, the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram (VKA), he served as the head of VKA’s religious wing, the Shraddha Jagran Vibhag for a decade. Aseemanad was awarded Guruji Samman, a special honorific title for his services for the Hindu nationalist movements in December 2005.
India bore the brunt of high profile terror attacks in the next two years following 2005 in which especially those places were targeted where the Muslim populace were concentrated. In September 2006, Malegaon town, Maharashtra, improvised explosive devices attached to bicycles were exploded near a mosque on a holy day resulting in 37 fatalities and more than 125 injuries. Subsequently the Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid Hyderabad, and the Ajmer shrine were bombed in February, May and October of 2007.
Ironically the investigation of 2006 Malegaon blast was assigned to Rajasthan’s Anti Terror Squad (ATS), which arrested as many as nine Muslims for the attack carried out by the ultra right Hindu extremists. According to ATS, the motto behind the blast was to trigger a riot in the city and then blame Hindus. However, a year after ATS began investigating the case; the Muslims who were languishing in the lock up approached the Bombay High Court pleading the consul to transfer the case to CBI. The central agency thus came into the picture in Feb 2007. But it too supported ATS contentions, and through a supplementary charge sheet, informed the court that it had evidence to prove that the Muslims were the culprits.
Aseemanand’s name was first brought forward when Devendra Gupta, one of the witnesses pointed towards him as a key conspirator of blasts outside the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer, killing three and injuring fifteen people. After the CBI arrested him on 19 November 2010 for involvement in the Mecca Masjid bombing which killed14 persons, the parallel investigations of Samjhauta Express carried out by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of India discovered his complicity in the train blast.
On 18 December 2010, Aseemanand was produced before magistrate Deepak Dabas to produce his confessional statement. In this confession, recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, he stated that he and other Hindu activists were involved in bombings at Muslim religious places because they wanted to answer every Islamist terror act with “a bomb for bomb’’ policy. “ I told everyone since 80 per cent of Malegaon are Muslims, we should explode the bomb in Malegaon.’’ He also said, “Since Hindus throng to the Ajmer Sharif Dargah, we thought a bomb blast in Ajmer would deter Hindus from going there.’’
He was finally charged in June 2011 with triggering explosions in the two coaches of the Samjhota Express in Panipat, carrying a majority of Pakistani passengers.
On February 1, 2014, an Indian newsmagazine The Caravan, published in the form of a report Aseemanand’s assertions that his terrorist acts were sanctioned by the highest levels of the RSS—all the way up to Mohan Bhagwat, the current RSS chief, who was the organization’s general secretary at the time. The report, titled The Believer, was compiled over the course of two years and four exclusive interviews, was quickly rubbished by Aseemanand’s lawyers and the RSS, where the Swami denied having given any interview to the magazine. The Caravan countered the jailed activist’s claims and released the interview’s recording and transcripts.
Swami ji’s entire saga, plans, allegations, interviews and court rulings, speaks volumes about Indian law enforcement agencies’ incompetence and dual standards. Persecution of minorities, especially the Kalima-reciting population of India, is regularly planned and sanctioned by non-governmental organizations, political parties and the law-enforcing agencies alike. One such victim of state-sanctioned terror is Ishrat Jahan Raza, a 19-year old girl She, along with three men, Javed Gulam Sheikh, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar, was shot dead in cold blood in a staged encounter by Gujarat Police on June 15, 2004 on suspicion that they were on a terror mission. The world’s largest secular state has a different code of justice for her minorities, where those with a different religious inclination are harassed and humiliated, and where Saffronic outfits openly and literally paint the town red.
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