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.

June 2, 2008

A report on bomb blast at the house of prominent RSS activist in Nanded, Maharashtra

Posted in Hindutva tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 5:32 pm by zarb

— By Dr Suresh Khairnar, Ahmad Kadar and Arvind Ghosh,

Secular Citizen’s Forum & PUCL, Nagpur, May 2006

Bomb blasts at the house of a RSS activist at Nanded on 6th April 2006 was not reported in any newspaper outside Nanded. We in Nagpur came to know about the blasts through a Mumbai based anti-communal activist Ram Puniyani who phoned to inform us of the incident & suggested that a fact finding team should immediatly visit Nanded to find out the facts.

We, three activists of Dharma Nirapeksha Nagarik Manch, Nagpur, Dr Suresh Khairnar, convener (DNNM, Nagpur and PUCL, Nagpur), Ahmad Kadar & Arvind Ghosh proceeded to Nanded on 22nd April 2006 morning at 10am & reached Nanded the same evening at 6pm. We reached the spot of the bomb blast immediately on reaching Nanded.

The house is located in Patbandhare Nagar in Taroda Budruk Upanagar, a densely populated area of Nanded. It is a posh two storied house of approx 3000sq ft built up area, now locked from outside by the police since the day of the blast. The name of the house prominently written on the wall was: Sri Laxmi Nrisinha. The name of the house owner written on the nameplate was Laxmanrao Rajkondwar, ex- executive engineer at Irrigation department. The man is a known RSS activist in the city. Two huge paintings adorned the walls of his house, one that of Lord Ram, another that of Hanuman. A Bajrangdal flag was flying high on the top of the house.

The first question that comes to mind is why should anyone indulge in the secret & sinister activity of making bombs in such a prominent house which can be identified even from a distance as the house owned by a Sangh Parivar person? The only plausible explanation seems to be that the prominent house of a respectable person is a good cover for such activities. Son’s business of selling crackers provided a double cover for manufacturing of bombs.

The neighbors we met were tight lipped & did not want to say much, except that on 6th April at about 1.30am they had woken up to an extremely loud noise and a powerful vibration under the impact of which their windows had opened automatically. When we asked the neighbor staying in the opposite house, how come he did not have even an inkling of the activities of his neighbor, he said you might stay opposite a neighbor for an entire life & yet may not know a thing about them. However he vouched that his neighbors were perfect gentlemen, religious & respectable people. He also told us that next to his house live a police constable who had reported about the blast to the nearby Bhagya Nagar police station.

Next we visited this police station at Bhagya Nagar, which is at a stone throwing distance from Rajkondwar’s house. The Policemen however refused to co-operate with us saying that Srikant Mahajan, PI, who is dealing with the case is not available. He was not reachable through his mobile either. Those who were present at the police station refused to divulge any information regarding the incident.

From the police station we proceeded to the house of Rajaram Wattamwar who is a local working president of Rashtra Seva Dal,a retired professor with socialist background. The first question he asked us was what was the motive of our fact-finding team? He strongly felt that the innocents should not be implicated in the incident & he hoped that this was what had brought us to Nanded. Laxman Rajkondwar according to him is a good man, a very religious & respectable man. He had gone to Shirdi with his wife, daughter-in law & granddaughter when the incident happened in his home. It must have been an accident etc.

The views of Rajaram Wattaram’s on the incident of bomb blast, who is also the president of an organization supposedly formed to expose Sangh Parivar shows the amount of communal bias among the Hindu community.

However he was good enough to provide us with the copies of the local newspapers of days immediately following the incident. He even helped us to contact the editors of some of the local newspapers. It is from theses newspapers as well as our visit to the office of Prajavani, a reputed local newspaper & interaction with its editor & the reporter dealing with the bomb blast incident that we could gather a fair amount of information about the bomb blasts.

On that fateful morning at 1.30am hearing the loud explosion & powerful vibration (which some mistakenly thought was an earthquake) people ran towards the house of Rajkondwar & saw smoke coming out of the house. The impact of the blast was so great that some of the doors & windows of the house had blown away to a distance of 50ft.Two boys were found dead on the spot & three were found seriously injured. One of the boys killed was Naresh Rajkondwar (age 29) the son of Laxman Rajkondwar the owner of the house. The second boy killed was Himansu Venkatesh Panse (age 31). Three persons seriously injured were 1) Yogesh Ravindra Deshpande (31), 2) Maruti Kishor Wagh (22) and 3) Gururaj Jayram Tupttewar (25). The sixth person who in spite of injury managed to escape was Rahul Pande. At first police & the press had declared that only 5 persons were present in the house at the time of the incident. It seems that after interrogation of the 3 injured persons they came to know about the escaped person Rahul Pande who managed to escape on a motorcycle, first to Umarkhed & then to Pusad for treatment of his injuries. He is reported to have told the doctors that he suffered the injuries due to a cylinder burst. He was later arrested from Pusad.

The story that was published in the next morning newspapers was that the blast occurred due to sudden bursting of crackers stored in the house as part of the family business. But doubts persisted, since if crackers catch fire there would normally be a series of bursts & not a single powerful blast as had happened in this case. Moreover the house did not catch fire as is expected in an accident involving crackers. The cracker theory was blasted on 7th April at 4pm when post mortem report was released. The report revealed that bomb parts were found and extracted from the bodies of the dead. The doubt that it must have been a bomb blast was further confirmed on the night of 7th April.

The police search of the house had continued the next day & it was at night that a live pipe bomb was discovered under a sofa along with bomb making materials. As per reports this bomb was taken to an open space out of the city & diffused with the help of an anti-bomb squad. “The blast was very powerful and only the concrete structure survived. Everything else in the house was destroyed. Both the bombs were powerful devices. The recovery of the second bomb and other preliminary investigations clearly show that people assembled in the house were preparing the bomb when the first one went off. We will know more about it only after we speak to the injured people,” said a police official.” It is also reported that after this discovery of the live bomb the houses of the injured in the bomb blast as well as some office bearers of RSS & Bajrang Dal were raided & some documents seized although police have not revealed any of these documents to the press or the public yet. It is also reported that the police has taken 4 people including Rahul Pande into custody. Himansu Panse is said to be the mastermind behind the whole project & Rahul Pande the technical expert.

A police investigating team has been formed under the leadership of Fhattsinh Patil, SP. Srikant Mahajan, Ramesh Bhurawar, Rajendra More, Gopinath Patil, Manikrao Perke & Wamane constitute other members of the team. A ‘Bombshodhak & Bombnashak pathak’ has also been formed which has been deputed to search live bombs & diffuse them. It has been reported that the workings of some of the Hindutwavadi organizations in the city are being investigated. Suryapratap Gupta IG, Nanded has confirmed that a live pipe bomb was found at the house of Laxman Rajkondwar and that all the accused are connected with Bajrang Dal. He has also gone on record saying Rajkondwar’s house was a center for manufacturing of bombs. However the police has maintained silence on the motive for the manufacturing of bombs at Rajkondwar’s house, wherefrom they acquired the material for making the bombs and if the perpetrators of the crime had nationwide connections.

Whereas one of the accused Rahul Pande is reported to have disclosed that the accident occurred due to a mistake in setting timings to the bomb, the police is yet to confirm officially if they were indeed engaged in the making of a bomb when it exploded. FIR has been lodged about unlawful and careless storage of crackers in a residential house against Laxman Rajkondwar, the owner of the house. However the most worrying fact that has been revealed is that the live bomb discovered under the sofa is an I.E.D type sophisticated bomb with timer & operated through remote control. A supplier of chemical material to colleges has been questioned in this regard. It is also reported the accused had been arrested during the Ayodhya Ram Mandir episode.

The police after the initial revelation is now keeping mum over the incident & have not revealed much even to the local press. They have instructed the press not to write much about the incident since that would affect the course of police investigation. This is perhaps the reason why practically nothing has appeared in the local newspapers after the first two days of the incident. No local paper has yet written editorial comments upon it. The local BJP MP Mr D.B Patil has given warning to the police not to harass activists of Sangh Parivar over the incident. Local Shiv Sena MLA Anusuatai Khedekar has also issued a similar warning. Bivagiya Sanghachalak Shamrao Jagirdar released a press statement saying that the young men engaged in the bomb making activity at Rajkondewar’s house were not connected with RSS. RSS does not believe in such activities & violence is against the ideology of RSS. He also assured the police of all assistance & co-operation but at the same time issued a warning against any atrocities on RSS activists during investigation.

State Bajrangdal chief Shankar Gaikwad said, “My local functionaries have told me that it was not a bomb explosion at all. Some crackers caught fire and resulted in the death of two and serious injuries to some others. But none of the dead was from the Bajrang Dal. State BJP spokesperson Vinod Tawde said: “We have heard nothing from the police so far. In any case, what does the Bajrang Dal’s involvement in this, if at all, have to do with us? We are an independent political party with an independent political agenda.”

To get a clearer picture of the incident of bomb blast at the house of a RSS man whose son & friends belonging to Bajrang Dal were engaged in bomb making, it would be necessary to give a brief description of the city of Nanded from the point of view of relations between different communities. Nanded is a city with a population of 8 lakhs out of which 1 lakh is Sikh. 2 lakhs Muslims, & the rest Hindus. It is a place of pilgrimage for the Sikhs due to it being the place of Samadhi of Guru Govind Singh. Nanded is in the region of Marathwada, which was part of the Nizam state before 1957 & hence has a history of Hindu-Muslim tension. Nanded since long is a communally sensitive district. It is agriculture based with very little industrialization & a lot of closed sugar mills. There is tension also between the Sikh & the Muslim communities. Recently there has been a case of elopement of a 17 year old Sikh Girl with a Muslim youth who also happened to be the brother of corporator Anwar Javed (NCP), as a result of which the two communities were in a mood of confrontation. The bomb blasts happened during these days of standoff between Sikhs & the Muslims. There is a rumor that is making its rounds in the city of Nanded that these people engaged in bomb making had plans to attack Muslim places of worship in the disguise of Sikhs & that turbans, beards & moustaches to be used during such intended attacks have been seized from the house of an accused.

However we have come to know from the police sources that police has seized maps of a few Mosques situated in nearby districts from the houses of the accused which give credence to the rumors.

This report remains inconclusive due to lack of availability of authentic information from the official sources, although there exist strong indications that deep communal conspiracies were being hatched by the Hindutwavadi forces in the city of Nanded. Implementation of these conspiracies have been temporarily aborted due to the accidental blast of a bomb while in the process of making, at the house of a prominent RSS activist of the city.