May 16, 2010

RENT A ROIT EXPOSE

Posted in Hindutva, India Facts, Riots, Uncategorized at 7:57 am by zarb

FOR THE RIGHT PRICE, YOU CAN GET THE SRI RAM SENE TO ORGANISE A RIOT ANYWHERE. AN EXPOSÉ BY PUSHP SHARMA. WRITTEN BY SANJANA. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY K ASHISH

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MEDIEVAL MINDSET Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik outside a Mangalore court in connection with the pub attack case
PHOTOS: RK BHAT

THERE ARE 133 videos that show up on YouTube when you search for “Mangalore pub attack”. Over 300,000 people have viewed the first video. Put in the same query on Google and 69,000 websites show up in a fraction of a second. On 24 January 2009, a group of 35-40 men barged into a pub in Mangalore and attacked young women as they enjoyed an afternoon drink. Amongst the attackers were members of Sri Ram Sene — a right-wing organisation that was relatively unknown at the time. The Sene cadres considered women drinking publicly as “indecent behaviour” and more importantly “an insult to Hindu culture and tradition”. Two days after the attack, as India marked 60 years of the Constitution coming into force, national television channels looped footage of women being slapped, beaten and chased out of the pub. (In a telling detail, the footage of the assault was available only because the Sene had informed journalists and photographers in Mangalore of their intended attack 30 minutes before they entered the pub.) The footage sparked outrage. News producers from French, Russian, German television channels despatched correspondents to ground zero. Even producers from The Oprah Winfrey Show called in asking for the footage. The Sene had burst onto the scene.

As an organisation, the Sene has always claimed for itself a radical Hindu identity. Its leaders position themselves as zealous custodians of “Hindu religion” and “culture”, its cadres as valiant foot soldiers. In their own words, they will not hesitate to assault people, vandalise property, destroy artistic expressions, separate mixed religion couples — in general, interfere violently — to implement their hardline Hindutva agenda. Their professional calling card is violence justified by a puritanical, spitfire morality.

A six-week undercover investigation by TEHELKA, however, reveals that even this violent, spitfire morality can be a hypocritical sham. Sri Ram Sene members are not just committed ideologues who are spontaneously willing to become violent law-breakers for a “cause”. That’s just one of their criminal and negative faces. They are also cynical lumpen that can be bought for a price. “Contract rioting” — thugs being handed out contracts or money to create riots — no longer needs to be a matter of mere speculation. TEHELKA’s investigation shows it is an alarming reality. Vandalism can be purchased; ‘cultural nationalism’ can go on sale. It’s all kosher in the “business” of outrage.

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‘I cannot get involved directly, I have an image to maintain, I have a certain credibility in society. People look up to me as a man of principles, an idealist, a Hindutvawadi’

PRAMOD MUTHALIK, National President, Sri Ram Sene

To expose this aspect of the Sri Ram Sene, a TEHELKA journalist posing as an artist met Pramod Muthalik, the president of the Sri Ram Sene, with a proposal. Using the rationale that all controversy is good publicity, he asked Muthalik if the Sri Ram Sene would orchestrate a pre-paid, pre-meditated attack on his painting exhibition so that the resulting furore would spark public interest, catapult him to fame and help sell his paintings both in India and abroad by attracting higher bids at art auctions. (Never mind that the supposed paintings this furore might help sell evoked Hindu- Muslim amity, particularly Hindu-Muslim marriages — a phenomenon the Sene abhors.) In return, Muthalik and the Sene would regain the national stature they had achieved during the Mangalore pub attack, besides pocketing the agreed upon fee. Far from rejecting this proposal with horror and outrage, Muthalik readily connected the TEHELKA reporter to one Sene member after another — down a food chain that exposed a disturbingly entrenched criminal mindset, which is confident of fixing the system to abet it.

Before the story of what this food chain threw up, however, it might help to revisit the history of the Sri Ram Sene and its founder.

THE SRI Ram Sene was started in 2007 by Pramod Muthalik, who continues to be its National President. Born in Bagalkot in north Karnataka, Muthalik spent his formative years — he joined a shakha when he was 13 years old — with the Hindu right wing organisation, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). By 1996, his RSS seniors shifted Muthalik to its paramilitary wing, the Bajrang Dal. It took Muthalik less than a year to be named the Dal’s south India convener. People who knew him back then called him “ambitious, dedicated and sharp-tongued”. In his 23-year association with the RSS and its affiliate organisations, Muthalik had several brushes with the law, but despite being charged in numerous cases for provocative speech-making, the only significant time he has spent in jail is two months — a record he maintains till date.

Upset with the BJP’s failure to reward his Hindutva zeal with any political dividends, Muthalik severed ties with the RSS in 2004. He claims the RSS and its affiliate organisations are betraying the Hindu cause by not being hardline enough, and the BJP government in the state too is not helping him enough. Predictably then, extreme hardline Hindutva politics has been the cornerstone of the Sri Ram Sene since it was floated in 2007. Violence is the only way forward, says Muthalik. In 2008, attempting to enter political centre stage, Muthalik floated the Rashtriya Hindustan Sena — the political wing of the Sene — but failed miserably. None of the candidates fielded made a mark. While talking to TEHELKA, Muthalik admits on camera that his candidates lost the state Assembly elections because “we need money, religion and thugs to succeed. We didn’t know that. Today’s political situation is a wretched one.”

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MOB FOR HIRE The attack on Mangalore’s Amnesia Pub (above) in 2009 by Bajrang Dal, Sri Ram Sene and others brought the SRS to national prominence; Sene national vice-president Prasad Attavar (below)
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Resolving to return to electoral politics after establishing himself more stridently, Muthalik and the Sene launched a series of plans to strengthen its “Hindu” identity. Though the organisation is most strongly rooted in the coastal Karnataka region and pockets of north Karnataka, their activities have not been limited to these regions. On August 24, 2008, in Delhi, a few Sene members barged into an art exhibition organised by SAHMAT an NGO, and destroyed several MF Husain paintings, leaving behind a clutch of pamphlets denouncing Husain’s attempts to hurt Hindu pride. A month later in September, speaking at a public event in Mangalore, Muthalik referred to the Bengaluru bomb blasts that had taken place a week earlier and declared 700 Sene members were being trained to carry out suicide attacks. “We have no more patience. Tit for tat is the only mantra before us to save Hinduism,” he had announced. “If centres of religious importance for Hindus are targeted, twice the number of religious centres of the opposite party will be smashed. If Hindu girls are exploited by the members of other religions, double the number of girls from other religions will be targeted.”

Months later, in January 2009, the Karnataka police arrested nine people in connection with bomb blasts that exploded in Hubli during the state Assembly elections. The kingpin, Nagaraj Jambagi, was a Sene member and a close Muthalik associate — a fact Muthalik himself had admitted to at the time. In July 2009, Jambagi was murdered while serving time in Bagalokot Jail.

During the Mangalore pub attack, minutes before he was arrested for inciting his cadres, Muthalik had asked newspersons gathered at the scene why everybody was making such a big issue of the attacks. “We took steps to protect our Hindu culture and punished girls who were attempting to destroy that tradition by going to pubs. We will not tolerate anybody who steps out of this code of decency,” he said then.

This Muthalik-prescribed code of “decency” is still being enforced in several ways in coastal Karnataka. In Mangalore, Sene cadres walked into a Hindu wedding celebration on July 15, 2009, and assaulted a Muslim guest for attending the event. Muslim boys, in fact, are often beaten up across the region merely for talking to Hindu girls. And they have whipped up anxiety and anger about a derisive concept called “Love Jihad”— a conspiracy allegedly evolved by Muslim boys to convert Hindu girls to Islam through proposals of marriage — through vicious attacks and propaganda.

As part of the investigation then, the TEHELKA journalist posing as an artist declared his forthcoming exhibition would be on positive images of “Love Jihad”. But it did not seem to bother Muthalik — or any of the Sene members TEHELKA met — that their help was being sought to boost sales of paintings on a theme they claimed to ideologically oppose. For a man who frequently talks of how he does not have a single bank account in his name and depends entirely on public contributions, Muthalik’s easy acceptance of the proposal is a telling comment in many ways.

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‘Sri Ram Sene has a very good team in place, whatever you want we will deliver. We have a setting for everything. There is only one problem — money problem’

KUMAR, Sri Ram Sene member, Mangalore

Here is how the story unfurled once TEHELKA met with Muthalik.

TEHELKA FIRST met with Muthalik at the Sene office in Hubli. Before laying out the proposal of a preengineered attack on the art exhibition, a cash donation of Rs 10,000 is offered to Muthalik — “Hindutva ke liye hum bhi kuch karen (We want to do our bit for Hindutva).” Muthalik immediately reaches for the money and puts it in his pocket, without even a token refusal.

Over the course of the conversation, a detailed proposal is suggested that could potentially be a mutually beneficial proposition. Muthalik betrays no surprise or shock — not even when the reporter suggests that the art exhibition should be organised in a Muslim-dominated area in Bengaluru for the impact of the attack to be maximised. Muthalik’s only response to the suggestion is — “Yes, we can do it. In Mangalore as well.” The acceptance and the suggestion of Mangalore, another city where the attack can be staged, are instantaneous. Within the next five minutes, Muthalik offers to depute the task of coordination and suggests taking the discussion forward to two Sene leaders — Vasantkumar Bhavani, the President of the Bengaluru city unit, and Prasad Attavar, the Sene vice-president, who is based out of Mangalore.

(Though the conversations are in Hindi, the transcripts have been translated into English here for the purpose of the story.)

TEHELKA: I’ll take leave sir, what I want is to gain popularity and if I get popularity my business will improve. If you say then I…just tell me a time limit… these many boys will be there…this much for advo…meaning that of lawyers…we will not even complain… because that is our understanding… but sir, it is that whatever you say that amount of advance I will leave with you, then I say to you that now it has all come to you, and sir now do the job…

MUTHALIK: Can do it in Mangalore, Bangalore…

TEHELKA: I can get more popularity in the Shivaji Nagar area of Bangalore… because that whole area is theirs…the Muslims. If you give one statement in the press and 10 of your workers reach there…we will shut it down…what is it to us? But at least we will get popularity.

MUTHALIK: Yes, that can be done…

TEHELKA: So sir, just tell me straight up…or tell me to come after two or four days….tell me for certain that ‘This is my expense… you do this much…’ so sir, I’ll complete it and plan it all out…

MUTHALIK: What I’m telling you, our president there…

TEHELKA: of Bangalore?

MUTHALIK: Of Bangalore…he is also very strong…on speaking to him…all three of us — you, me and him — will sit and plan out what is to be done…then we will do it…definitely do it

The hour long conversation is peppered with choice abuses and a vitriolic diatribe against Muslims and their “plans to divide the country”. Love jihad, Muthalik tells TEHELKA, is the Muslims’ way of conquering over Hindus, by increasing their own population. Muslims, he continues, pursue Hindu Brahmin or Jain girls so that their children can inherit their brains and be intellectually sharp to help them in their mission.

According to him, this calculated strategy by Muslims was taking place across the country with increasing frequency. When TEHELKA asks him why Hindu boys were not engaging in a similar counteractivity, Muthalik said the Sri Ram Sene was now inspiring Hindu boys to pursue Muslim girls.

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‘I worked in the RSS first in 1996, then the Bajrang Dal. I was in the main team that attacked the Mangalore pub. But my name is not there in the police case, I was never arrested’

SUDHIR PUJARI, Sri Ram Sene member, Mangalore

Over this conversation, TEHELKA repeated its proposal several times — opportunities were given to Muthalik to decline the offer of money. But Muthalik offers to brief other Sene associates, who will play definitive roles in the execution of the plan, and connect them with TEHELKA. The date for the next meeting is fixed and personal phone numbers are exchanged. Muthalik asks TEHELKA to return a week later.

He is categorical that, as the National President of the Sene, he is conscious of the trouble he will be in if he is caught planning details of the operation, so he says he will talk over specifics with his associates Prasad Attavar, Vasanthkumar Bhavani and Jeetesh and then put them on to TEHELKA. Throughout there is no ambiguity that Muthalik heads the chain of command and that the final decisionmaking power rests with him.

DESPITE MUTHALIK’S intervention, connecting with Prasad Attavar, the National Vice-President of Sri Ram Sene, was no easy task. He treats almost everyone with suspicion and consequently never answers any of his mobile phones. Therefore, it took TEHELKA several days to catch up with him. Considered to be a close associate of Muthalik, Attavar is credited with leading the Sene to notoriety in Mangalore. Having been with the Sri Ram Sene since its inception in 2007, Attavar exercises tremendous control over the Sene cadres. In Mangalore, Attavar runs a security agency in partnership with another Sene member. Unlike several others, he is not dependent on the Sene for financial stability. In January 2009, Attavar openly claimed responsibility for the Mangalore pub attack. When another TEHELKA reporter had contacted him for a story at the time, Attavar had even claimed responsibility for planning the attack. He had called the media to the spot himself, he said. Days later, Attavar and 27 others, including Muthalik, were arrested for their role in the pub attack. A week later, when a Mangalore city magistrate granted them bail, Attavar and the others were accorded a hero’s welcome.

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PUBLIC LOSS The charred remains of a bus vandalised after Attavar’s arrest in the wake of the pub attack
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HATE-MONGERS Muthalik and other Sene members display propaganda material against ‘Love Jihad’

When contact was finally made with Attavar, a Sene cadre called Jeetesh was sent to take TEHELKA to a nondescript hotel in Mangalore for the meeting. A few minutes into the conversation, it became evident that Attavar was evading arrest — a warrant had been issued against him. The police had charged him with executing the orders of an underworld don, Ravi Pujari. Pujari is rumoured to have worked with Mumbai gangster Chhota Rajan, and later with Dawood Ibrahim, before establishing his own empire. Besides having interests in the tourism and hospitality sector, Pujari allegedly also has interests in Karnataka’s real estate industry. As Pujari’s associate, Attavar has been accused of threatening businessmen and builders in Karnataka’s coastal region as part of an extortion racket that is controlled from outside India.

Having been briefed by Muthalik, Attavar is completely aware of the TEHELKA reporter’s proposal from the first moment of conversation. His suggestions therefore are concrete and to the point. He offers a choice of organising the exhibition (and the attack) outside Karnataka as well. “We can do it in Mumbai, Kolkata or Orissa as well,” he says.

When TEHELKA suggests the impact of the planned attack against the artist would be enhanced considerably if an engineered threat could be issued by his associate, Ravi Pujari, Attavar agrees it is doable — thereby confirming his proximity with the don.

A minute later, he talks how the police need to be taken into confidence: they have to be “set”. Additionally, the boys who will participate in the attack have to be from outside Mangalore, he says.

TEHELKA: We don’t have to go to the police, neither do we have to do a case… so if a case is filed it won’t stand because there is no party in front… we people will not identify…

ATTAVAR: That setting with the department I’ll do….

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‘I will tell you how much money is needed. It will be like the Mangalore pub attack, even better. You will get full national media coverage, I assure you. I’ll do all the setting for you’

PRASAD ATTAVAR, National Vice-President, Sri Ram Sene

Six days after this meeting with TEHELKA, Attavar was arrested by the Mangalore police, taken to Mangalore Jail and then remanded to judicial custody. He was placed in Bellary Jail — considered to be one of Karnataka’s high-security prisons. Throughout, however, Attavar continued to maintain contact with TEHELKA and TEHELKA managed to meet with Attavar both in the Mangalore and Bellary jails. At the meeting in Mangalore Jail, when TEHELKA asked if Rs 50 lakh would be enough to organise the riots in two different cities, Attavar’s answer is inconclusive. He asks for more time to return with a final figure. “I will calculate the final amount and let you know,” is all he will finally agree to. The discussion revolves around the final amount — there is no opposition to the proposal at all.

PRASAD: What all is to be done…does arrangement for hotel need to be done?

TEHELKA: No that I’ll do…your input will only be the team and the rest…

TEHELKA: We need to create a riot…we have to have violence…50 lakh is being spent on two cities..

PRASAD: In Mangalore …

TEHELKA: Yes about 200 workers should be there…at the time of the exhibition…

PRASAD: Yes…

At Bellary Jail, a mere payment of Rs 2,500 to some wardens and SN Hullur, the Superintendent at Bellary Jail is sufficient to set up a meeting with Attavar in a separate discussion room. (So much for the norms of a high-security jail). At this meeting, Attavar says he has no money and asks the TEHELKA reporter for some money to tide him over. The reporter gives him Rs 3,000. After this meeting in the jail, Attavar frequently texted TEHELKA asking the reporter to call back. Alarmingly, both accessibility and mobile connectivity within a high security prison seemed easy for Attavar. His advocate, Sanjay Solanki later told TEHELKA that Attavar’s access to mobile phones was possible as Superintendent SN Hullur had been handsomely paid. (TEHELKA has not corroborated this independently.)

AFEW DAYS after the meeting with Muthalik, TEHELKA also connected with Vasantkumar Bhavani, the Bengaluru city unit head of the Sri Ram Sene. Bhavani is the Sene’s de facto public relations man. He is fluent in English and Hindi and lives in Bengaluru. Immediately after the pub attacks in Mangalore, Bhavani had travelled from one television studio to another, staunchly defending the Sene’s action and its ideology. In one memorable live interview, when a women’s rights activist challenged the Sene’s ideology by saying alcohol had long been a part of Hindu traditions, Bhavani’s specious rebuttal silenced her completely: “Go ask your grandmother to drink alcohol. I will buy her a drink myself.” The sheer ridiculousness of Bhavani’s arguments coupled with his vehemence made him a hot favourite with most media channels at the time.

A realtor by profession, Bhavani is considerably wealthy and, like Attavar, does not depend on the Sene to back him financially. Ask him for the numerical strength of Sene cadres in Bengaluru and there are no answers forthcoming. “Even Pramod [Muthalik] does not ask me that question. Dealing with numbers is unnecessary. My boys will be in trouble if the police realises our true strength,” he says. (In February this year, when the Sene announced its usual opposition to Valentine’s Day celebrations, the police rounded up 400 men as part of its preventive arrests.)

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RECALL FACTOR Sri Ram Sene members deface posters and paintings of MF Husain at an exhibition organised by SAHMAT in Delhi in 2008
Photo: SHAILENDRA PANDEY

A fortnight before TEHELKA met with Bhavani, he had led a Sene protest in Bengaluru against Muthalik’s humiliation. (In an unfortunate incident that mirrored their own intolerant politics, Muthalik’s face had been blackened by members of the Karnataka State Youth Congress during a television debate on Valentine’s Day celebrations. Bhavani and several others had been arrested during the Sene’s counter-protests.)

In his conversation with TEHELKA, the talk revolves cynically around the specifics of the planned attack in Bengaluru and how its impact can best be maximised. Here’s what Bhavani suggests:

BHAVANI: You know Ravindra Kalashetra, right?

TEHELKA: Yes, Yes…

BHAVANI: Behind it is an open stage.

TEHELKA: How many people can that accommodate?

BHAVANI: Two thousand…

TEHELKA: Two thousand… but is that communally sensitive?

BHAVANI: It is also communally sensitive… the market is also close by from there…

TEHELKA: City market?

BHAVANI: City market…

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‘I was charged under IPC Section 307, half murder, for the Kasargod clash. I killed two or three people with a sword. They attacked two of our men, so we got two of theirs’

JEETESH, Udupi unit head, Sri Ram Sene

TEHELKA: Yes, there’s a Muslim area there…

BHAVANI: That is why that place is very good for you… the scope there is much better than in Shivaji Nagar because in the close by areas the Muslim population is very high.

TEHELKA: Yes, in city market it is… but the area there is mostly commercial?

BHAVANI: It suits to what you have in mind…

TEHELKA: It suits the profile that we have…

BHAVANI: It suits that better than Shivaji Nagar… Shivaji Nagar is a remote area whereas this is more suitable it suits your purpose.

TEHELKA: If it is done in Shivaji Nagar it will look like there is not much educated class there so why do it there… if it is done in city market.

BHAVANI: This is matching your idea and your concept… because illiterates will not come and watch your gallery… who will watch it are your upper class… middle class.

TEHELKA: Elite class…

BHAVANI: It will mostly be the upper class… so upper class… if you keep it in Shivaji Nagar, who will come and watch it… it will look preplanned to everybody…

TEHELKA: Hmmm…

BHAVANI: If done in Shivaji Nagar… if looked at from a different direction it seems right… but it will not get much publicity…

TEHELKA: Yes people might think… that it is an under-table alliance

BHAVANI: Could look like that….

Having secured an agreement on the venue, a discussion on dates follows. Referring to the calendar on his phone, Bhavani politely asks us for our preference — weekdays or weekends? — before suggesting weekends himself. More people are likely to attend art exhibitions on weekends, he says. Venue and dates out of the way, Bhavani methodically moves on to plan the protest itself. When TEHELKA asks if inaugurating the exhibition by a Muslim community leader or politician will raise the octane of the event and attack, Bhavani not only approves, he has suggestions of his own:

TEHELKA: In this programme, Vasant, I need public beating for sure, because as your trademark is and I want to call a Muslim leader for the inauguration, so some people from the Muslim community will be there… there is Prof Hujra at IIM.

BHAVANI: Why don’t you call Mumtaj Ali…

TEHELKA: Who…

BHAVANI: Mumtaj Ali Khan…

TEHELKA: Who is he?

BHAVANI: The minister of Waqf board… now.

TEHELKA: From Karnataka?

BHAVANI: Yes.

TEHELKA: He will come… How old would Mumtaj Ali be?

TEHELKA: Above 50…

TEHELKA: 50-plus… Is he an MLC or MLA?

BHAVANI: Being an MLC… he is a backdoor entry… he is a minister… Huj committee or Waqf Board…

TEHELKA: Apart from him, wasn’t there another one who became Rail Minister…

BHAVANI: CK Jaffar…

TEHELKA: Jaffar Sharief…

BHAVANI: He is too old now…

Bhavani also asserts that other preparations are necessary as well. Ominously, for instance, an ambulance at the venue:

BHAVANI: Like if you keep Husain’s name itself it will be good… will make it popular.

TEHELKA: No, if we keep Husain, I will not get the ‘mileage’, instead he will get the ‘mileage’…

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‘If we can agree on an amount, then I will talk to my boss, Muthalik. He gives us the green signal for action but the screen script is all ready with him. You think about your offer’

VASANTKUMAR BHAVANI, Ram Sene head, Bengaluru

BHAVANI: Mileage will go to him… I cannot give assurance for this… how much damage you will bear… there will be damage… but how much that I cannot guarantee… because our boys are very ferocious boys… they don’t look left or right…

TEHELKA: If it is to be done, it is to be done…

BHAVANI: Done… I cannot avoid them also because they will get annoyed with me then… if the leader is ferocious, the followers will also be ferocious… this much I want to tell you… there will be damage, but how mach I cannot say…

TEHELKA: Can there be public beatings…

VASANT: Can be done… whoever they find there… because our boys do all this also…

TEHELKA: If there is a crowd, they cannot control themselves, right?

BHAVANI: No, usually they can’t…

TEHELKA: Will we have to keep an ambulance ready?

BHAVANI: Absolutely… that can also happen… after all, they are my boys… if they take any task in hand… then… you have to tell them… you have to make them understand… more cases will add on… already there are lots of pending cases… try and control… only target whatever is on display…

TEHELKA: Do damage…

BHAVANI: Do damage… do not touch the people…

TEHELKA: But they usually don’t listen

BHAVANI: I’ll make them understand this much, but I can’t ensure… there is someone or the other… who damage whatever comes in front… such lunatics they are…

TEHELKA: That means I need to keep an ambulance ready in advance… should keep that in mind…

There is further evidence of the Sene’s preparedness and calculated approach to protests and destructive violence. While discussing the aftermath of the attacks, when TEHELKA offers to not file cases against the Sene, Bhavani turns down the suggestion. If cases aren’t filed against the attackers, people will suspect that the attack has been pre-engineered, he says. It doesn’t matter if they are hauled to court, Bhavani reassures. They are prepared to deal with such conditions and TEHELKA would be handed instructions by them on how to deal with the legalities and fallout once the attack has proven successful.

TEHELKA: From our side in this gallery programme… whatever riot happens inside the art gallery, we are not going to register a case… when there is no rival party…

VASANT: You will have to register a case…

(A discussion follows this assertion on how Attavar, Bhavani’s counterpart in the group, suggests a different approach)

TEHELKA: So a case needs to be registered?

VASANT: You will have to file it… if there is a wrongdoing, a case has to be filed…

TEHELKA: Don’t you think it’s going to be very complicated then?

VASANT: It has to be complicated then only the purpose will be solved… once inside the water, whats the point of fearing the depth…

TEHELKA: Ok, whatever you say… but coming to court regularly, standing there… for any man it will be a very difficult task to come 3,000 km to attend the court cases…

VASANT: We will give you a way out of that… once this turns out to be a success, I will sit and explain it to you… what is to done, how it needs to be done…

TEHELKA: Set any of the local lawyers who gets the date extended… will keep on happening…

VASANT: I will tell you… I will explain it to you… I will explain to you what has to be done and how it has to be done…

TEHELKA: Ok.

VASANT: But you have to be mentally prepared…

Minutes later, Bhavani proceeds to discuss the “fees” with TEHELKA.

“Give me a figure so I can take the discussion forward with sir [Muthalik],” Bhavani says. The TEHELKA reporter writes Rs 70 lakh on a sheet of paper and pushes it towards Bhavani. His immediate response is to ask how much has been offered to Attavar, the Sene National vice-president and the pointperson in Mangalore. (Though the figure written by the reporter on paper is not visible on camera, the offer is corroborated on camera in a later conversation with Muthalik.) When he is informed that the same amount was offered to Attavar too, Bhavani dismisses it saying, “Attavar will never settle for this amount.” Bhavani then insists that TEHELKA should also set aside money to pay off the police:

TEHELKA: They told me two lines… separate for organisation (SRS)… separate for the workers… so I said five lakh for the organisation… so they said they will see… on the level of the workers, if there is a case then fair enough, we will give Rs 50,000 to each worker… some will go to him and some can be used in the case… if 10 boys come then five lakh… what he suggested… what your dealings are with the organisation, you discuss with Muthalikji himself… as for the boys… that I will give you… the arrangement with the police… that also I will do… will have to be done…

BHAVANI: The police will also be managed… without that, it cannot be done…

TEHELKA: I agree, so the money is going in three phases… separately for the organisation… separately for the workers… and separately for the police?

BHAVANI: Separately for the police…

Yet another discussion follows on the modes of payment. The TEHELKA reporter asks if the fee for the riot can be paid by cheque instead of cash. Bhavani refuses categorically. The business of outrage obviously cannot be transacted through legal financial instruments.

THE METHODICAL approach with which these Sri Ram Sene functionaries approached TEHELKA’s proposal could be an indication of the organisation’s engagement with similar activities in the past. At the very least, it exposes the Sene’s adroitness in dealing with the law and the police — and the loopholes it slips through whenever it engages in violence.

TEHELKA’s conversations with Sri Ram Sene cadres in Udupi and Mangalore reaffirmed this very strongly. After TEHELKA spoke with Attavar, Jeetesh — the head of the Sene’s Udupi unit — agreed to introduce TEHELKA to Sene cadres who would ultimately execute the attack. Kumar and Sudhir Poojari, two such cadres, spoke freely of their involvement in earlier Sene attacks, including the infamous pub attack on January 24, 2009. All three — Jeetesh, Poojari and Kumar — had evaded police arrest despite having been part of the pub attack. All three had also spent several years with the RSS and Bajrang Dal before joining the Sri Ram Sene.

A minute into the conversation, Kumar and Poojari brag about how they gave the police the slip. Kumar also talks of his involvement in a previous incident that left eight Muslims injured. “They had to be admitted in the hospital,” he says, “after we attacked them.”

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SAFFRON GETS PINK Sri Ram Sene members check out the pink undergarments gifted to them as a mark of protest against their attack on women at a Mangalore pub
Photo: KPN

Jeetesh has several similar stories. A day earlier, in his meeting with TEHELKA, Jeetesh talked openly of an incident in 2007 when he and two others had attacked a church where they believed coerced conversions were taking place. According to him, three or four pastors were hospitalised after the attack, while Jeetesh and his cohorts were handed jail terms. A few minutes later, he recounts an even more gruesome incident. Jeetesh, then a resident of Kasargod in Kerala and a member of the Bajrang Dal, was involved in an attack on a mosque. In a calm voice, he tells TEHELKA about how he attacked a maulvi with a sword. The maulvi died and Jeetesh was charged with murder. After four months in jail, he was bailed out, he says. Throughout that period, he says he was supported by the Bajrang Dal with lawyers at hand to handle his bail applications. Once he was released, Jeetesh moved to Udupi. A few years later, when Muthalik started the Sri Ram Sene, he joined him. The conversation constantly hovers around a hatred for Muslims and Christians and their plans to take over the world.

As his comfort level increased, Jeetesh also shared another important piece of information. In 2006, along with 100 others, Jeetesh says he participated in an arms training camp organised by the Sri Ram Sene. The firearms they used at the camp were largely unlicensed, he said, but refused to volunteer any further details.

A day later, he accompanied TEHELKA to meet with Attavar, the Sene vice president, and plan the specifics of the proposed attack in Mangalore.

AFTER THE meetings with Attavar and Bhavani, where they agree to organise attacks in Bengaluru, Mangalore or Mysore, TEHELKA met with Muthalik again. The only issue left to clinch was the amount. While discussions with Attavar (inside Mangalore Jail) had pegged the cost between Rs 50 to 60 lakh, the negotiation with Bhavani had been for Rs 70 lakh. TEHELKA asks Muthalik if these sums are agreeable to him.

TEHELKA: Sir, is it ok if we remain in touch over the phone with Prasadji? Because, sir, I refrain from calling over the phone…

MUTHALIK: Yes …yes…

TEHELKA: Well with… Prasadji… fine… but I just wanted to confirm with you, maybe Sharmaji won’t appreciate it, but I wanted to have clarity about money… because I was told Rs 60 lakh for three locations.

MUTHALIK: Haaan.

TEHELKA: Rs 60 lakh… it’s ok from your side?

MUTHALIK: Who told you about it?

TEHELKA: Vasantji had told…

MUTHALIK: Yes… yes.

TEHELKA: So I decided to confirm once again…

MUTHALIK: Yes… yes… I can’t tell about the money… it’s their job only they can do it…

As the story goes to press, Attavar and his advocate Sanjay Solanki have continued to be in touch about the modalities and fees for planning the attack. In the last conversation, Solanki told TEHELKA that Attavar’s bail application pending with the Karnataka High Court would be accepted. Solanki categorically mentions that they will try and manage the judicial process and have already committed Rs 1.5 lakh to that process (TEHELKA has not corroborated this independently — this could be a wild claim for all we know). Advocate Solanki also assured TEHELKA that a conversation with Attavar — which would clinch the deal and close on the final terms of payment — would be possible very soon.

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आतंकी जो थे ही नहीं

Posted in Human Rights, Minorities at 7:50 am by zarb

image दिलावर खान, मौलाना, इमदाद-उल-उलूम मदरसा

आतंकवाद रोकने के लिए गठित दिल्ली पुलिस की स्पेशल सेल ने चार लोगों को मार्च, 2005 में एक मुठभेड़ के बाद दक्षिण-पश्चिम दिल्ली से गिरफ्तार किया. पुलिस ने दावा किया कि उसने देहरादून स्थित भारतीय सैन्य अकादमी पर एक बड़े आतंकी हमले को टाल दिया है. लेकिन चार साल बाद चारों को अदालत ने निर्दोष मान कर बरी कर दिया.

दिल्ली पुलिस की स्पेशल सेल का गठन 1986 में आतंकवाद निरोधी बल के तौर पर हुआ था. 90 के दशक के उत्तरार्ध में कई आतंकियों को मार गिराने और तमाम मामलों को सुलझने के दावों के चलते इसका नाम सुर्खियों में आना शुरू हुआ. लेकिन जल्दी ही इसके कुछ अधिकारियों पर अवैध धन उगाही और फर्जी एनकाउंटर करने के आरोप लगने लगे. वरिष्ठ अधिवक्ता प्रशांत भूषण कहते हैं, ‘दुर्भाग्यवश जब भी अदालतों ने स्पेशल सेल के अधिकारियों को झूठे सबूतों के आधार पर निर्दोष लोगों को फंसाने का दोषी पाया तो उसने इन अधिकारियों के खिलाफ कोई कार्रवाई नहीं की. अगर इन्हें कठोर दंड नहीं मिलेगा तो आगे भी पुलिसवाले निर्दोष लोगों को फर्जी आतंकवादी बनाते रहेंगे.’ आंकड़े इसकी पुष्टि करते लगते हैं. पिछले चार महीनों के दौरान दिल्ली की निचली अदालतों ने स्पेशल सेल द्वारा गिरफ्तार किए गए नौ कथित आतंकवादियों को बरी कर दिया है. इनमें से चार आतंकवादियों को स्पेशल सेल ने मार्च, 2005 में एक मुठभेड़ के बाद दक्षिण-पश्चिम दिल्ली से गिरफ्तार किया था. पुलिस का दावा था कि उन्होंने देहरादून स्थित भारतीय सैन्य अकादमी पर होने वाले एक बड़े आतंकी हमले को टाला था. चार साल बाद ये चारों लोग बरी हो गए. इन्हीं चार लोगों की कहानी बयान कर रहे हैं बृजेश पांडे

‘भरोसा ही नहीं हुआ कि आतंकी का ठप्पा हट गया’

दिलावर खान, मौलाना, इमदाद-उल-उलूम मदरसा और मसूद अहमद, बागवाली मस्जिद के इमाम

किसी पुलिसवाले को अपनी तरफ आता देखकर ही मौलाना दिलावर खान और इमाम मसूद अहमद की रूह में कंपकपी दौड़ जाती है. दिल्ली में इमदाद उल उलूम मदरसे में मौलाना दिलावर और पास ही स्थित बागवाली मस्जिद के इमाम मसूद को मार्च, 2005 में स्थानीय पुलिस स्टेशन से बुलावा आया था. वहां उन्हें लोधी कॉलोनी स्थित दिल्ली पुलिस की स्पेशल सेल में एक रुटीन पूछताछ के लिए जाने को कहा गया. इसके बाद लोगों को वे पांच साल बाद ही दिखाई दिए.

दिलावर और मसूद को लश्कर-ए-तैयबा का आतंकवादी करार देते हुए उनपर देहरादून स्थित भारतीय सैन्य अकादमी पर हमले की साजिश रचने का आरोप लगाया गया. इसके बाद दोनों को पांच साल तक जेल में सड़ना पड़ा. पिछले महीने पटियाला हाउस कोर्ट ने दोनों को सबूतों के अभाव में बरी कर दिया. अदालत ने स्पेशल सेल की यह कहते हुए खिंचाई भी की कि उसकी जांच में तमाम झोल हैं और उसने अपने अधिकारों का दुरुपयोग किया.

दिलावर और मसूद की गिरफ्तारी महज एक व्यक्ति के बयान के आधार पर हुई थी. हामिद हुसैन नाम का वह व्यक्ति कथित रूप से लश्कर का सदस्य था जिसने दावा किया था कि विस्फोटकों की एक खेप दिलावर के पास पड़ी हुई है. हामिद ने मसूद और दिलावर की पहचान की और पुलिस ने दावा किया कि उसने उनके पास से एक ग्रेनेड, एक चीनी पिस्तौल और 24 गोलियां बरामद कीं.

दिलावर स्पेशल सेल द्वारा की गई पूछताछ को याद करते हुए कहते हैं, ‘मैं इतना हैरान था कि मुझे कुछ समझ में ही नहीं आ रहा था..वे मुझसे सिर्फ यही पूछते कि क्या मैं हामिद को जानता हूं. मैंने कहा नहीं तो वे मुझे टॉर्चर करते हुए फिर वही सवाल करने लगे. मैं इनकार करता रहा. उन्होंने कहा कि वे मुझे ऐसा सबक सिखाएंगे जो मैं कभी भूल नहीं सकूंगा. उन्होंने मुझे एक सादे पेपर पर दस्तखत करने के लिए मजबूर किया.’  मसूद की कहानी भी ऐसी ही है. वे बताते हैं, ‘पहले मुझसे हामिद की पहचान करने के लिए कहा गया और फिर उन्होंने साजिश का खुलासा करने को कहा. मुझे समझ में ही नहीं आया कि क्या जवाब दूं.’

स्थितियां बदतर होती गईं. ‘कैमरे के सामने जानवरों की तरह हमारी परेड कराई गई. स्पेशल सेल के अधिकारी आपस में धक्का-मुक्की कर रहे थे ताकि ‘आतंकवादियों’ के साथ प्रमुखता से उनकी भी फोटो छपे. उन्होंने मुझसे भी फोटो खिंचवाने के लिए कहा,’ दिलावर बताते हैं. ‘ऊपरवाले में मेरे यकीन का इम्तहान हो रहा था. मैंने ऐसा क्या किया जो मेरे साथ यह हुआ?’

गिरफ्तारी के बाद नजदीकी रिश्तेदारों और दोस्तों ने उनसे किनारा कर लिया. अकेले पड़ गए दिलावर और मसूद धैर्यपूर्वक अपने मामले की सुनवाई का इंतजार करने लगे. फैसला आने में लंबा वक्त लग गया. लेकिन इस साल 8 जनवरी को आए फैसले ने उन्हें सभी आरोपों से बरी कर दिया. स्पेशल सेल का मामला अदालत में धराशायी हो गया. एडिशनल सेशन जज धर्मेश शर्मा ने कहा, ‘अभियोग पक्ष ने जो सबूत पेश किए हैं उनपर विश्वास नहीं होता.’ उन्होंने आगे यह भी जोड़ा कि इसका कोई सबूत नहीं है कि पुलिस ने दिलावर को उसके घर से गिरफ्तार किया था. मामले की खामियां उजागर करते हुए उन्होंने कहा कि वेलकम स्थित दिलावर और मसूद के घरों पर छापे मारने वाली स्पेशल सेल के अधिकारी रमेश लांबा ने दिलावर खान के घर से हथियारों की बरामदगी के बारे में एक शब्द भी नहीं कहा था. जस्टिस शर्मा ने इंस्पेक्टर रण सिंह के बयान पर हैरानी जाहिर की जिसके मुताबिक दिलावर को गिरफ्तार करने के बाद पुलिस अपने दफ्तर लौट गई थी और उसके आधे घंटे बाद लगभग उसी जगह मसूद को गिरफ्तार करने पहुंच गई थी. जज के शब्द थे, ‘यह उन बयानों से मेल नहीं खाता जो स्पेशल सेल के अधिकारियों ने दिए हैं. इसपर यकीन करना मुश्किल है कि पुलिस पार्टी दोनों को गिरफ्तार करने के लिए एक ही इलाके में दो बार गई और एक में उन्होंने रण सिंह को शामिल किया और दूसरे में नहीं.’ पुलिस की भूमिका पर उंगली उठाते हुए जज ने आगे लिखा, ‘इस बात में भी शक है कि हामिद हुसैन से किसी तरह की पहचान करवाई गई होगी. पुलिस की रोजाना डायरी में कहीं भी उसके नाम का जिक्र नहीं था.’

मौलाना और इमाम के लिए जिंदगी का चक्का पूरा एक चक्कर घूम चुका है. उनके लिए रिहाई एक नई जिंदगी की तरह है. दिलावर कहते हैं, ‘जेल से बाहर आकर मुझे लगा जसे मैं किसी अजनबी दुनिया में आ गया हूं. काफी देर तक तो भरोसा ही नहीं हुआ कि मुझपर लगा आतंकवादी का ठप्पा हट गया है.’ मसूद सिर्फ मुस्करा कर ईश्वर को धन्यवाद देते हैं.

हालांकि उनकी खुशी जल्दी ही काफूर हो गई थी. अगले ही दिन पुलिस उनके घर आई और उनसे कहा कि वे स्थानीय पुलिस स्टेशन में पेश हों. दिलावर कहते हैं, ‘मैं आपको बता नहीं सकता कि मैं कितना डर गया था. एक ही पल में पिछले पांच सालों की त्रासदी मेरे आगे घूम गई.’ दिलावर के वकील ने उन्हें बेवजह परेशान किए जाने के खिलाफ कोर्ट में याचिका दायर की है. वे उदास स्वर में कहते हैं, ‘क्लीन चिट मिल जाने के बावजूद मुझे फिर से गिरफ्तार होने का डर लगा रहता है. लगता है यह डर अब मेरी मौत के साथ ही जाएगा.’

‘कानून के गलत इस्तेमाल से बरबाद हुआ कैरियर’ हारून राशिद, मैकेनिकल इंजीनियर

 हारून राशिद को क्या पता था कि बेहतर रोजगार के लिए सिंगापुर जाना उन्हें इतना भारी पड़ जाएगा. बिहार के इस मैकेनिकल इंजीनियर ने दिसंबर, 2004 में हिंदुस्तान एयरोनॉटिक्स लिमिटेड की अपनी नौकरी छोड़कर सिंगापुर की एक कंपनी ज्वॉइन की थी. 16 मई, 2005 को जब हारून भारत लौटे तो इंदिरा गांधी अंतरराष्ट्रीय हवाई अड्डे पर उन्हें स्पेशल सेल ने गिरफ्तार कर लिया. उनपर देहरादून स्थित भारतीय सैन्य अकादमी पर आत्मघाती हमले की साजिश के लिए पैसे की व्यवस्था करने का आरोप लगा.

स्पेशल सेल का दावा था कि हारून ने 10 और 15 जनवरी को सिंगापुर से वेस्टर्न यूनियन मनी ट्रांसफर के जरिए 49,000 रुपए अपने भाई मोहम्मद यूनिस को भेजे थे जिसने इस रकम को शम्स के हवाले कर दिया. शम्स वही शख्स था जो मार्च, 2005 में दिल्ली के उत्तम नगर में पुलिस के साथ हुई मुठभेड़ में मारा गया था. कथित तौर पर हारून ने स्वीकार किया था कि उसने यह पैसा अपने पाकिस्तानी आका अब्दुल अजीज से हासिल किया था. पुलिस का यह भी दावा था कि उसने हारून से 76 पन्ने की ई-मेलें हासिल की हैं जो फारूक के फर्जी नाम से लिखी गई हैं. इन मेलों में उसने दूसरे आतंकियों को कूट भाषा में आगामी हमलों का निर्देश दिया था. हारून की गिरफ्तारी को पुलिस ने बहुत बड़ी सफलता बताया था.

लेकिन जब मामला सुनवाई के लिए कोर्ट में पहुंचा तो एक अलग ही तस्वीर सामने आई जिसका सार यह था कि आतंकवाद से निपटने के लिए बनाई गई स्पेशल सेल ने अपने विशेष अधिकारों का गलत इस्तेमाल किया. हारून के वकील एमएस खान बताते हैं, ‘वह बहुत गरीब परिवार से है, इसलिए सिंगापुर जाने के लिए उसने अपने चाचा से एक लाख रुपए उधार लिए थे. वहां पहुंचने पर उसे लगा कि उसे इतने पैसों की जरूरत नहीं है लिहाजा उसने 49 हजार रुपए अपने भाई को वापस भेज दिए ताकि कुछ उधारी चुकाई जा सके. उसे क्या पता था कि वापस भेजी गई इसी रकम के लिए उसे लश्कर का फाइनेंसर करार दे दिया जाएगा?’

हालांकि कोर्ट में मामला औंधे मुंह गिर पड़ा. यूनिस ने मृत आतंकी शम्स को किसी तरह का पैसा देने से इनकार किया. पुलिस हारून के लश्कर से संबंधों के पक्ष में कोई पुख्ता सबूत पेश नहीं कर पाई. जिन ई-मेलों को हासिल करने का दावा किया गया था वे भी जांच-पड़ताल में गलत साबित हुईं. एसएम खान कहते हैं, ‘इंसपेक्टर कैलाश ने कोर्ट में कहा कि उन्होंने 18 मई, 2005 को उस ई-मेल का पासवर्ड पता लगा लिया था जिसका इस्तेमाल हारून अपने पाकिस्तानी आकाओं से संपर्क करने के लिए करता था और उसी दिन उन्होंने इसका प्रिंट भी निकलवाया था. लेकिन स्पेशल सेल के ही इंस्पेक्टर बद्रीश दत्त ने माना कि 13 मई, 2005 को (कैलाश की कथित सफलता के पांच दिन पहले) हारून ने खुद ही अपने ई-मेल पते का पासवर्ड बता दिया था. बद्रीश ने यह भी माना था कि उस पूछताछ के दौरान कैलाश भी वहां मौजूद थे. इससे साफ पता चलता है कि पुलिस ने इन पांच दिनों के दौरान ई-मेल के रिकॉर्डों से छेड़छाड़ की.’ अदालत ने पुलिस अधिकारी कैलाश की चुप्पी और अदालत में बोले गए झूठ पर नाराजगी जताई. 76 पन्नों का ई-मेल प्रिंट न तो कोर्ट में पेश किया गया और न ही चार्जशीट के साथ लगाया गया. पुलिस डायरी में भी इसका कोई जिक्र नहीं था. हारून को अदालत ने तो बरी कर दिया है मगर उनके वकील के मुताबिक वे अब भी डरते हैं कि कहीं उन्हें फिर से न उठा लिया जाए.

‘मेरी जवानी कौन लौटाएगा सर?’  इफ्तिखार मलिक, पूर्व बायोटेक्नोलॉजी छात्र

देहरादून स्थित भारतीय सैन्य अकादमी पर आत्मघाती हमले की साजिश रचने और लश्कर-ए-तैयबा का आतंकवादी होने के आरोप में पांच साल जेल में बिता चुके मोहम्मद इफ्तिखार अहसान मलिक के लिए हालात अब बेहतर दिख रहे हैं. 26 वर्षीय इफ्तिखार देहरादून स्थित डॉल्फिन इंस्टीट्यूट ऑफ बायोमेडिकल एंड नेचुरल साइंस में बायोटेक्नोलॉजी द्वितीय वर्ष के छात्र थे. 7 मार्च, 2005 को दिल्ली पुलिस की स्पेशल सेल ने उन्हें देहरादून से गिरफ्तार कर लिया. प्रेस कॉन्फ्रेंस में पुलिस ने दावा किया कि उसे मलिक के पास से एक डायरी मिली थी जिसमें कुरान की भड़काऊ आयतें लिखी हुई थीं. पुलिस का यह भी कहना था कि इफ्तिखार के पास एक पर्ची  भी मिली थी जिसमें गुजरात दंगों का बदला लेने की बात थी और उनसे आईएमए की एक परेड का पास भी बरामद हुआ. पुलिस के मुताबिक इफ्तिखार पाकिस्तानी आतंकवादी शम्स के संपर्क में थे जिसने उन्हें बिहार में सिमी की बैठकों में शामिल होने के लिए प्रोत्साहित किया था. यह भी कहा गया कि शम्स की डायरी में इफ्तिखार को ‘शाहिद’ नाम दिया गया था और लश्कर उसकी पढ़ाई का खर्च उठाता था.

इफ्तिखार खुद के निर्दोष होने की दलीलें देते रहे पर कोई फायदा नहीं हुआ. मामला एडिशनल सेशन जज धर्मेश शर्मा के पास पहुंचा जिन्होंने स्पेशल सेल की जांच में तमाम खामियों को उजागर करते हुए इफ्तिखार को सभी आरोपों से बरी कर दिया. जस्टिस शर्मा ने इसपर बेहद हैरानी जताई कि स्पेशल सेल के इंस्पेक्टर रमेश शर्मा ने कोर्ट को बताया कि इंस्पेक्टर कैलाश सिंघल बिष्ट (जिन्होंने जब्त सामानों की सूची तैयार की थी) देहरादून गए थे और उन्होंने ही इफ्तिखार से आईएमए का पास जब्त किया था. जबकि क्रॉस एक्जामिनेशन में बिष्ट ने कहा कि वे देहरादून गए ही नहीं थे. यह पूछने पर कि फिर उन्हें पास कहां से मिला और उसे जब्त सामान की सूची में क्यों शामिल किया गया तो उनके पास कोई जवाब नहीं था. इफ्तिखार ने अदालत को बताया कि गुजरात का बदला लेने वाली पर्ची उनसे जबर्दस्ती लिखवाई गई थी. उन्होंने यह माना कि कुरान की आयतें उन्होंने ही लिखी थीं मगर साथ ही यह भी कहा कि वे भड़काऊ नहीं थीं. जस्टिस शर्मा ने इसपर भी हैरानी जाहिर की कि गिरफ्तारी और जब्त सामान की सूची बनाते वक्त पुलिस ने इफ्तिखार के मकान मालिक राम गुल्यानी से संपर्क तक नहीं किया और न ही किसी और को गवाह बनाया.  क्रॉस एक्जामिनेशन करने पर पता चला कि पुलिस अधिकारी संजय दत्त और बद्रीश दत्त- जिन्होंने कथित तौर पर इफ्तिखार का सामान जब्त किया था- कभी भी देहरादून नहीं गए. इफ्तिखार द्वारा लिखी गई कथित पर्ची पर स्पेशल सेल के अधिकारियों के बयान तो और भी विरोधाभासी थे. एक अधिकारी ने बताया कि पर्ची हिंदी में थी जबकि दूसरे का कहना था कि यह अंग्रेजी में थी.

कोर्ट ने कहा कि इफ्तिखार के लश्कर से संबंध होने का कोई स्वतंत्र प्रमाण नहीं है और न ही इसका प्रमाण है कि वह मार्च, 2005 में उत्तम नगर में मारे गए किसी आतंकवादी को जानता था. दूसरे आरोपितों के बयानों में एक बार भी कहीं इफ्तिखार का जिक्र नहीं आया था. सिर्फ आईएमए का पास रखने भर से किसी मकसद का पता नहीं चलता. इसके अलावा पास भी पांच महीने पुराना था और परेड पहले ही संपन्न हो चुकी थी. इफ्तिखार का मुश्किल दौर आखिरकार खत्म हो चुका है. उनकी बहन की शादी होने वाली है और उन्हें लगता है कि 2010 उनके लिए अच्छा बीतेगा.

हालांकि पुलिस का डर उन्हें अब भी हर वक्त सताता है.

November 2, 2008

Lucknow cops sexually abuse girls

Posted in Human Rights, Rape at 12:17 pm by zarb

Lucknow cops sexually abuse girls  
     
 
Saturday, 01 November 2008
  Lucknow, November 01: In a shocking incident, four police constables in Gorakhpur held hostage 8 girls and boys from Nepal and sexually exploited two of the girls.

The incident came to light after the inspector general (IG) Gorakhpur was informed of the incident and deputed a team which then rescued the girls.

Two of the constables who were prima-facie found guilty were suspended and an inquiry was ordered into the incident to be conducted by a gazetted rank officer.

Though action from the IG‘s end was quick, doubts were being raised on the “will” of the police officers in terms of bringing the guilty to book.

Reports said that the incident came to light on Thursday afternoon after IG Gorakhpur Harish Chandra Kashyap received a call informing him that some Nepali boys and girls were being held hostage in a hotel room in Gorakhpur allegedly at the instance of four police constables.

On the basis of the tip-off, the IG rushed his special squad to Mallick Guest House in the city where preliminary enquiries revealed that 5 girls and 3 boys were holed up in room number 206 of the guest house.

Nun Raped Two Days After VHP Leader Killed

Posted in Human Rights, Rape at 12:11 pm by zarb

Nun Raped Two Days After VHP Leader Killed  
     
 
 
Kandhmal, October 03: There seems to be no end to the Kandhmal horror story as disturbing new facts are emerging from Orissa’s communal flashpoint.

NDTV has now got confirmation that a nun was raped on August 25, two days after the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Laxmanand Saraswati and the entire district was on fire and Christians were attacked.

However, the rape has not been officially confirmed yet.

Sources have told NDTV that the medical examination of the nun conducted the same night at the Baliguda Hospital by two lady doctors confirmed rape.

Although the medical report was ready a day after the assault, the police did not collect it, apparently because they didn’t have time.

The report was collected by the police just two days ago and perhaps shows how lightly the case was treated by them.

According to eyewitnesses, the mob took the nun and Father Chellam to a house where they were kept for several hours before the police rescued them. It was here that the nun was raped by a man who was part of the mob

    Sunday, 05 October 2008  

15 miscreants arrested for forcing Muslims to shave beards

Posted in Riots at 11:56 am by zarb

15 miscreants arrested for forcing Muslims to shave beards

Mumbai: The curfew has lifted in the riot-hit Dhule Township and its suburbs in East Maharashtra and police has geared up mass arrest for investigations. According to the sources in Dhule police, during last 15 days 310 people have been arrested for links to different activities. More than two hundreds were taken into judicial custody while the rest is still in police custody. Relief and rehabilitation work has started for riot victims as well.

The police have arrested those 15 culprits who forced Majeed Mansoori, Anwar Panjari and Aarif Panjari to shave their beards during the riot in Khandala village 30 Km from Dhule. Majeed Mansoori informed this correspondent that the DSP called us to identify the culprits. We singled out those 15 persons who not only forced us but stopped Namaz and Azan through Loudspeaker in the mosque. He also said that police have assured all protection of our homes and village but we did not return to our homes. We still fear that miscreants may retaliate on us any time.

The police filed case under article No. 506, 452, 149, 295, 147, 153 and 143 of the IPC yet police are probing the veracity of the case.

Encounter of Bihar boy in middle of the road at Mumbai

Posted in Encounter, Human Rights at 11:51 am by zarb

Encounter of Bihar boy in middle of the road at Mumbai

A gun-wielding youth from Bihar was killed by the Mumbai police after he fired indiscriminately and threatened passengers on a state transport bus in the Kurla suburbs this morning.

The incident quickly assumed political dimensions, with leaders from Bihar rushing to meet Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to demand a probe into the incident, and the Centre’s intervention to stop violence against north Indians in Maharashtra.

The bizarre incident occurred at around 9:30 a.m. aboard a BEST double-decker plying on the 332 Andheri-Kurla route. The youth, identified as Rahul Raj, hailing from Patna, swiped out a country-made revolver and threatened the conductor with it after he was asked to buy a ticket, witnesses said.

Cornered in the Bail Bazaar area, the youth fired indiscriminately inside the bus, which injured passenger Manoj Bhagat, police said. Police responded with retaliatory firing in which Rahul was killed. He was pronounced dead by the local Rajawadi Hospital at Ghatkopar. The wounded Bhagat was admitted to the same hospital with serious injuries.

Passengers told police that the youth was shouting “Jai Bihar, Jai Patna”, and hurling abuse at Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Mr Raj Thackeray. Police said they suspected that the gunman was trying to take the bus passengers hostage and “this is being verified”. Maharashtra home minister Mr RR Patil backed the police action saying they have done their duty correctly.

Following today’s incident, the state government restored ‘Z’ class security for the MNS chief which had been withdrawn after his arrest last week.

In New Delhi, putting aside their traditional rivalry, top Bihar leaders Mr Lalu Prasad and Mr Ram Vilas Paswan joined Bihar chief minister Mr Nitish Kumar and Congress leader Ms Meira Kumar in meeting Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to demand an immediate ban on the MNS, the arrest of Raj Thackeray for instigating violence and a judicial probe into today’s shoot-out. They told reporters afterwards that the PM “shared our concern” over what was happening in Maharashtra and that he would consider their demand for an all-party meeting on the issue. The PM later called up Maharashtra chief minister Mr Vilasrao Deshmukh and asked him to ensure security of all sections of the society

October 17, 2008

Theories on Bhainsa riots and Killings ?

Posted in Human Rights, Minorities, Riots at 10:58 am by zarb

Hyderabad,October 13:The involvement of rebel TRS mla is recent riots in  bhainsa     is an eyeopener,The mla factory was used by miscreants to set the town ablase,most of the rowdy elements were seen operating from the factory in carrying out their attack on muslims of bhainsa .

Police are reportedly investigating the role of a TRS rebel MLA from Adilabad district and members of the Hindu Vahini, in the communal violence at Bhainsa, even as six persons of a family were burnt alive in a house in nearby Watoli village early Sunday morning.

Many eyewitness has taken the name of patel as the main suspect in these riots and he happens to be trs rebel mla and now under the patronage of congress party.

Just a day before the riots the TDP has extended support for the TELANGANA statehood which was a historical decleration.The congress party is on a backfoot after this declaration and the involment of rebel TRS mla in riots has lot of questions to be answered as majority of congress leaders of andhra are against  formation of telangana state.
Muslims all over the country are not taking the UpA governement role specially the arrests and torture of innocent boys in the name of terrorissm lightly,Jamia millia fake encounter and the govt failure to appoint a judicial commission to enquire, has hurt the muslims feeling all over the country.

Atleast in AP muslims have aternate secular forces like TDP and rjp of chirenjeevi to vote . Can these riots are trigerred to consolidate muslims votes  ? and for whom ?

Can these riots be engineered by congress leadership to put the telangana issue on a back burner by raising a communal issue in andhra pradesh .

Bjp is non-existenent in AP  and a spent force till now but bjp can be  a big gainer in telangana if communal tensions are aroused.Maharastra is just 40 km from bhaisa and there are good chances of shiv sena and bajrang dal forces comming from maharastra for formenting trouble in AP.

Bjp has tasted power in karnataka by playing the soft communal card and they are bent upon playing an active role in andhra politics  ,as Ap will have  a triangular and four cornered fights Bjp wants to fish in the trouble waters of andhra pradesh to fetch some good catch.

 

The home minister Jana reddy  claims that these people died because of electric short circuit but the govt did their best to prove that this incident was an accident through the television channels and govt agencies.

Girl raped:

It has been proved without doubt that the girl was raped and burnt ,Al the 5 members of the family were burned beyond recognition except this girl.

 

Anti-Muslim riots in North Assam

Guwahati: Anti-Muslim violence erupted in north Assam in early October between militant Bodo tribals and Muslims in which an estimated 150 Muslims have been killed so far, hundreds have been injured, mostly women and children, and around 150,000 Muslims have been made homeless. They are now living in temporary camps which lack basic amenities and sanitation. The violence is almost totally one sided and almost official as the Bodo militants attacking Muslims are actually “Surrendered Security Battallion” (SSB) which is the security force of the autonomous Bodo Territorial Autonomous District (BTAD) and consists of the former Bobo militants who have been absorbed in an official security force in the wake of the settlement of February 2003. Worst areas are the districts of Darang, Udalgiri and Gwalpara which are considered communally sensitive areas. About 60 villages have been emptied of their Muslim population as a result of these attacks. Several hundred houses and other immovable properties have been set on fire. The new refugees join the earlier 45,000 refugees who are displaced since 1993.

National Highway No. 52 has been closed and curfew has been clamped in various localities. Order has also been given to shoot at site. These physical attacks are synchronised with media attack on the Muslims of Assam as they are dubbed as “Bangladeshis” without any proof. In addition to NE TV and Times Now, all local channels and newspapers are unashamedly dubbing these Muslims as “Bangladeshis” even as the Assam government denies these charges. Even PTI is parrotting these cliches.

A number of injured persons have been admitted in Guwahati Medical College and Hospital, condition of many of whom is very serious. State government is unable to control the riotous situation. Udalgiri’s Police Superintendent has been suspended and replaced by Manoj Agarwal. Another officer Abu Sufian has been given the charge of maintaining law and order in the affected areas. It may be stated here that the state of unrest has in fact been prevailing for the past one and a half months and in spite of deployment of large contingents of CRPF, army and imposition of curfew etc, end of violence is nowhere in sight. Influential Muslims in letters to Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil have appealed for immediate intervention by centre to bring the situation under control. 

Bodos in order to extend their land to form a larger Bodoland have joined hands with communal Hindu organsations like Bajrang Dal, VHP. They are openly telling Muslims that they are “Bangladeshis” and hence must quit India. Since the Congress government of the state stands with the help of Bodos crutches, it cannot do anything against the Bodos for fear of Bodos removing the crutches. (With inputs from AH Imran, editor, The Qalam Weekly)

August 17, 2008

Hindu bombers break myth; Two terrorist arrested

Posted in Hindutva tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:35 am by zarb

Hindu bombers break myth; Two terrorist arrested


Mumbai: Two Hindu “terrorists” were arrested today for allegedly planting bombs at theatres, prompting the Maharashtra chief minister to say this had shattered “the myth” that all bombers came from a particular community.

Ramesh Hanumant Gadkari, 50, and Mangesh Dinakar Nikam, 34, are accused of targeting shows of Ashutosh Gowariker’s film Jodhaa Akbar and a Marathi play that is a spoof on the Mahabharat. They are charged with two blasts that injured several people and an attempted bombing.

Police said the duo were members of the Sanatan Sanstha and the Hindu Jana Jagruti Samiti, organisations involved in protesting “denigration” of Hindu religious icons as in, allegedly, M.F. Husain’s paintings.

“These (the bombings) were definitely terrorist acts as they were carried out by people motivated by an ideology,” said Hemant Karkare, chief of the anti-terrorist squad that nabbed the accused.

“The arrests? have broken the myth that persons belonging only to a particular community are involved (in blasts),” chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said.

Those arrested were produced before the Mazgaon court and sent to police custody till June 24.

According to information collected by the ATS, the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti was formed by Dr Jayant Athawle in 2002. It has protested against three major issues ? paintings of Hindu deities by M F Hussain, the Marathi play Yada Kadachit now called Amhi Panchpute, and the movie Jodhaa Akbar.

“Their sphere of activities extends into the hinterland. While we do not have evidence to directly link them to the Bajrang Dal or the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, they have protested together on occasions,” said Karkare, denying any link between the two accused and the Nanded blast and adding that all three were ‘clearly terrorist acts motivated by ideology’.

The ATS has indicated that more arrests are likely to follow in this case. “Gadkari and Nikam are full-time sevaks for Sanatan for the last three years. Their links with any terror outfit is yet to be established. Nikam taught Gadkari about bomb-making and one of the two bombs was manufactured within the premises of Sanatan Ashram,” said investigating officer B B Rathor. Nikam had provided a detonator and explosives to make the bomb.

The police got the clues from the number of the motorcycle used by the bombers. The licence number was entered in the log book of the Thane theatre’s parking lot. “We have got evidence of their involvement and are looking for at least half a dozen accused in this case,” said Param Bir Singh, additional commissioner of ATS.

Posted in Minorities, Riots tagged , , , , , , at 8:25 am by zarb

Bandh turns violent in Madhya Pradesh; 5 killed in Indore

 Friday, 04 July 2008:

Bhopal: At least five people were killed several injured as communal clashes erupted in many towns of Madhya Pradesh on Thursday during the BJP-VHP bandh over the Amarnath land deal in Jammu and Kashmir. Following incidents of communal flare-up, the police imposed curfew in Pandharinath, Chatripura, Malharganj and Khajrana localities of the city.

According to police sources, curfew was imposed in four areas of Indore after members of two communities indulged in violence. A violent mob also pelted stones at Khajrana police station damaging vehicles parked in the premises, an official said, adding police resorted to lathi-charge and used teargas shells to control the situation. Protestors also damaged a Reliance Fresh store at Janjeerwala square

Indore’s Inspector General of Police Anil Kumar said four people, killed in group clashes, were yet to be identified.

The situation was tense in old city areas of Bhopal where stone pelting and arson took place as pro- and anti-shutdown groups clashed, the police said.

Half a dozen vehicles were set on fire by a mob forcing the strike near a Bhopal cinema.

Violence erupted near old Bhopal’s bus stand area and adjacent localities when activists of the BJP, the Shiv Sena and the VHP forced the shopkeepers to down their shutters.

They beat up some shopkeepers and passers-by.

A trader in Satna area set himself afire after a mob allegedly looted his jewellery shop, beat him with sticks and threatened him if he reported the matter to the police.

“Bajrang Dal activists in main Satna market reached the jewellery shop of Heera Soni and asked him to close the shop. When he refused, they barged into the shop, looted some jewellery and beat him up,” Narendra Soni, the victim’s younger brother, told mediapersons.

“The activists also threatened him following which my brother out of fear set himself ablaze. The police also beat up my brother so that he does not report the matter to the higher authorities,” Narendra alleged.

Heera was taken to Satna district hospital where he breathed his last in the evening, the police said.

Clashes between people belonging to two communities also occurred in Shahjehanabad, Budhwara, Itwara and Karond in old Bhopal.

According to reports, rioting between the workers of the BJP and the VHP and some shopkeepers also took place in Jabalpur, Indore and Dhar. Several shops were damaged in Jabalpur.

Angry over the forced closure, some people threw stones at the shutdown supporters from the rooftops of their houses, triggering minor clashes in communally sensitive old Bhopal.

Authorities later deployed personnel from the Rapid Action Force (RAF) to control the situation.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said that the guilty would not be spared.

“The violence was unfortunate and a thorough probe will be conducted. The situation in the state is completely under control,” he told mediapersons at his residence late Thursday evening.

In the state capital also witnessed scattered violence in many areas. Similarly, incidents of violence have also been reported from Jhabua, Satna, Sagar, Gwalior and Jabalpur. ,Section 144 has been imposed in Jhabua to control the situation, while in Satna a businessman put himself on fire even as protesters went on a rampage in other parts of the state.

Major highways that were temporarily blocked include the Agra-Delhi highway in Delhi and Western Express Highway in Mumbai. Many trains are also being targeted; Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi Express has been stopped near Agra.

The VHP is also taking an active part in the bandh. “The forest act issue is just an excuse,” VHP general secretary Venkatesh Abdeo said. “This is a conspiracy to stop the Amarnath pilgrimage. Tomorrow it will be Vaishnodevi and Tirupati.”

The severity of the bandh is especially strong in NDA ruled states. Major disruptions have been reported in Punjab, where BJP activists have took to the streets in Ludhiana and Jalandhar.

In many parts of MP, schools and colleges have been shutdown to prevent any untoward incident.

Amarnath row: Bandh hits normal life, 2 dead in Indore

Mumbai, July 3: The nationwide bandh called by BJP and VHP on the Amarnath land transfer row turned violent in Indore on Thursday leaving two persons killed while highways were blocked and trains stopped disrupting normal life in parts of the country.

The bandh evoked mixed response but Jammu region, the epicentre of protests since Tuesday, had no respite from violence when protesters set afire vehicles and fought pitched battles with police at several places. The bandh was called in protest against revocation of Amarnath land transfer.

Another 25 persons were injured on Thursday in Jammu region taking the total number of injured to nearly 100 while curfew remained in force for the third consecutive day in parts of the region.

Normal life was hit in parts of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Assam and Jharkand where incidents of stone pelting and road blockade were reported prompting police to resort to lathicharge.

The bandh had little or no response in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Tripura. In Delhi, no untoward incident was reported but several arterial roads were blocked. Shops and business establishments remained closed in a few areas.

Curfew was imposed in four areas of Indore in Mahdya Pradesh after members of two communities indulged in violence.

A violent mob also pelted stones at Khajrana police station damaging vehicles parked in the premises, an official said, adding police canecharged and used teargas shells to control the situation. Protestors also damaged a Reliance Fresh store in Janjeerwala square

“Two persons have been killed in violence in Khajrana area while six others are injured,” Indore Collector Rakesh Shrivastava told reporters. One of the injured is reported to be in a serious condition.

As the situation turned violent in Indore, district administration imposed curfew in four areas including Muslim dominated Bombay Bazar and Mukeripura. Police have arrested five persons.

With the state BJP opting out in Gujarat, the bandh got a lukewarm response in the state.

Most of the business establishments, small shops and offices were functioning as usual in Ahmedabad while some malls and shopping centres remained closed.

Incidents of stone pelting and road blockades were reported in some parts of Maharashtra, including Mumbai and in Thane. Five BEST buses were damaged in Mumbai’s suburban Kandivili areas in stone throwing by protesters, police said.

VHP supporters halted traffic on some key roads in Vakola, Malad and Borivilli areas in north-west Mumbai and in the northeastern suburb of Ghatkopar causing hardships to officergoers, police said, adding that the saffron activists were dispersed and vehicular movement restored.

Reports of stone pelting on state-owned buses came in Maharashtra’s Thane region where BJP and VHP workers forced show-owners to down shutters.

In Punjab, scores of BJP activists stopped the Howrah-Amritsar express in Ludhiana and stopped road traffic and forced closure of shops in certain parts of the state.

elhi-Bhopal Shatabdi express was stopped by BJP and VHP workers for about 30 minutes in the cantonment station in Agra where protesters got some markets shut and a section of lawyers owing allegiance to the saffron outfits boycotted courts.

In Left-ruled West Bengal, the bandh had little impact with public transport largely remaining unaffected. Some disruption in train schedules were reported in the Sealdah section as BJP workers squatted on tracks.

VHP bandh: Curfew imposed in Indore

Indore: Curfew was imposed in Bombay Bazar and Mukeripura areas of Indore on Thursday and Section 144 has been clamped in Khajrana area following violence during the bandh called by VHP over Amarnath land issue.

Police canecharged and used teargas shells to control the situation as members of two communities indulged in violence, Indore Superintendent of Police R K Choudhry said.

Heavy police force has been deployed in the areas to prevent further flare up, he said.

Meanwhile, protestors damaged a Reliance Fresh store in Janjeerwala square. Police have arrested five persons in this connection

 

Bharath Bandh: Saffron activists forced closure of shops, blocked roads

New Delhi: Normal life was hit in parts of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra as saffron activists stopped trains, blocked roads and forced closure of shops in the wake of an all-India bandh called by BJP and VHP on the Amarnath land transfer issue.

In Left-ruled West Bengal, the bandh had little impact with public transport largely remaining unaffected. Some disruption in train schedules were reported in the Sealdah section as BJP workers squatted on tracks.

Roads were blocked and shops and business establishments remained closed in a few areas in Delhi. Protesters blocked the Delhi-Noida flyway and some arterial roads in east and central Delhi. NH 17 was also reportedly blocked in Udupi, Kundapur and Byndoor in Karnataka and Safron activist pelted stones on vehicles.

In Punjab, scores of BJP activists stopped the Howrah- Amritsar express in Ludhiana and stopped road traffic and forced closure of shops in certain parts of the state to protest revocation of the order on transfer of land to the shrine board by the Jammu and Kashmir government.

Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi express was stopped by BJP and VHP workers for about half-and-hour in the cantonment station in Agra where protesters got some markets shut and a section of lawyers owing allegiance to the saffron outfits boycotted courts.

Shops and business establishments in several parts of Karnataka remained closed with Dakshina, Udupi, Mysore, Kodagu and Hubli-Dharwad regions being hit even as bus services were affected in certain areas.

The bandh, however, failed to evoke much response in Bangalore where government offices functioned normally and public transport plied as usual. The bandh is not being support by the BJP-ruled Karnataka government, officials said.

Incidents of stone pelting and road blockades were reported in some parts of Maharashtra, including Mumbai. Five BEST buses were damaged in Mumbai’s suburban Kandivili areas in stone throwing by protesters, police said.

Shiv Sena, ABVP funded Maoists, says Naxalite during narco test

Posted in Hindutva tagged , , , , , at 7:20 am by zarb

Shiv Sena, ABVP funded Maoists, says Naxalite during narco test

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Mumbai: Suspected Naxalite Arun Ferreira in his narco-analysis test has alleged that many political parties, including Shiv Sena and its chief Bal Thackeray, have been funding Maoist activities in Mumbai.

The narco-analysis report, a copy of which is available with PTI, quoted Ferreira as saying, “Bal Thackeray and his party Shiv Sena and the BJP student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had given us funds regularly for Maoists activities in Mumbai.” This shocking revelation came when Ferreira, a city resident, was asked about the funding of the activities of the banned outfit CPI (Maoist) in the country’s financial capital.

So far two narco tests have been conducted on Ferreira, who was arrested from Nagpur on May 8, 2007.

Ferriera’s confession of the involvement of Thackeray in Naxal activities was made in the second narco test conducted by Bangalore-based Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in September last year.

The narco report has been sent to the Maharashtra police for further investigation.

The report, signed by Bangalore FSL Director Malini Subramaniam, says, “He (Ferreira) said political parties will never support Naxal organisations. However, only Bal Thackeray and his party Shiv Sena and the ABVP helped the Naxalites with funds.”

However, Shiv Sena has rubbished the report stating that “a drugged person might talk any rubbish.” Party spokesperson Sanjay Raut refuted the allegations and said the party has never been involved with any Naxal movement.

“Naxalism is born out of a Communist agenda and it is a well documented fact that Shiv Sena has always opposed Communists. There is no way Shiv Sena will support Naxal activities,” he said.

Source: PTI

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