Terror attacks: Swami Aseemanand implicates RSS Chief // LEENA REGHUNATH - The Believer: Swami Aseemanand’s radical service to the Sangh

NB: Thus far the 'mainstream' media is keeping silent on this - I wonder how they would have reacted had any other high-profile character from outside the 'parivar' been quoted as sanctioning and encouraging a terrorist attack on a train..

"When I interviewed him, Aseemanand denied being tortured, or that his confessions were coerced. He said that when he was arrested for the bombings, by the CBI, he decided it was “a good time to tell all about this. I knew I could be hanged for it, but I’m old anyway.”.. Over the course of our conversations, Aseemanand’s description of the plot in which he was involved became increasingly detailed. In our third and fourth interviews, he told me that his terrorist acts were sanctioned by the highest levels of the RSS.."

All misfortune pales in the face of firm conviction. So it is that Swami Aseemanand -- prime accused in the Samjhauta blast case -- can contemplate his bleak future with equanimity. "Whatever happens to me, it’s a good thing for Hindus,” the "warm and open" Swamiji tells Caravan writer Leena Gita Reghunath, “Logon me Hindutva ka bhaav aayega”—it will stir Hindutva among the people." Caravan magazine's latest cover story, The Believer, is the product of 2 painstaking years of research and reporting, which included 4 startlingly candid interviews with Aseemanand himself.  He lays out the minutiae of the plot, describing the planning in detail. And he names names.  [Read the cover story in its entirety]

We all know about his co-conspirators such as ABVP's Pragya Singh Thakur and Sunil Joshi, the ex-RSS man. But in his latest confession, Aseemanand aims much higher: 

Aseemanand told me about a meeting that allegedly took place, in July 2005. After an RSS conclave in Surat, senior Sangh leaders including Bhagwat and Indresh Kumar, who is now on the organisation’s powerful seven-member national executive council, travelled to a temple in the Dangs, Gujarat, where Aseemanand was living—a two-hour drive. In a tent pitched by a river several kilometres away from the temple, Bhagwat and Kumar met with Aseemanand and his accomplice Sunil Joshi. Joshi informed Bhagwat of a plan to bomb several Muslim targets around India. According to Aseemanand, both RSS leaders approved, and Bhagwat told him, “You can work on this with Sunil. We will not be involved, but if you are doing this, you can consider us to be with you.” 

Aseemanand continued, “Then they told me, ‘Swamiji, if you do this we will be at ease with it. Nothing wrong will happen then. Criminalisation nahin hoga (It will not be criminalised). If you do it, then people won’t say that we did a crime for the sake of committing a crime. It will be connected to the ideology. This is very important for Hindus. Please do this. You have our blessings.’” 

The naming of Bhagwat by a prime accused in a saffron terror case is incendiary and unprecedented -- most alleged connections between the two men have been mostly of association, such as sharing the same stage, attending the same Hindutva celebration etc. 

It is therefore puzzling why Caravan why doesn't play this "revelation" up either in its headline, or in the excerpt highlighting the story. The revelation instead lies buried amid a long and detailed description of Aseemanand's (not very compelling) life. Until now, Indresh Kumar was the biggest RSS functionary to be directly implicated in various charge sheets where he was accused of aiding and abetting the primary conspirators -- much to RSS' chagrin which at the time responded by launching an aggressive dharna claiming a Congress party conspiracy. 

Aseemanand's decision to come out and name the RSS chief himself is certainly big news. Reghunath, however, did not ask Bhagwat to respond to these allegations -- even though she did reach out to Narendra Modi to confirm Aseemanand's claim that that "Modi approached him at a senior RSS gathering in Ahmedabad, and told him, 'I know what Keshubhai is doing to you. Swamiji there is no comparison to what you are doing. You are doing the real work. Now it has been decided that I will be the CM. Let me come and then I will do your work. Rest easy.'" 

Modi's office did not respond. Nor likely would have Bhagwat's spokesman if asked by Reghunath. And why should they bother? For in the end, Aseemanand saying so doesn't make it so. A man facing a possible death penalty is free to unburden his soul -- but also to speak with little regard for fact. Without proof, these allegations amount to little more than one person's version of a conversation in the distant past. That said, Aseemanand can still do great damage if he decides to repeat his allegations in a courtroom. With the trial in the Samjhauta case finally moving forward, he may yet give the RSS  sarsangh-chalak many sleepless nights...

LEENA REGHUNATH - The Believer: Swami Aseemanand’s radical service to the Sangh
Jyoti Punwani: Remorse can lessen the pain (2011)

See also:
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell - Manoj Mitta on how the SIT let off Modi / Interview: ‘Crucial Evidence Has Fallen Through The Cracks
Early bloomers: RSS tradition of manufacturing facts to suit their ideology
More signs of artistry:
In the year 2000 the Gujarat government of Keshubhai Patel, with the support of the Vajpayee government, lifted the ban on RSS recruitment among civil servants. In the ensuing controversy Patel said the RSS was not political (the usual story). This was stoutly resisted and the BJP was forced to withdraw. Read more:

Hitler's annihilation of the Romanis“I as a German prefer much more to see India under British Government than under any other...I must not connect the fate of the German people with these so-called ‘oppressed nations’ who are clearly of racial inferiority (Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, German edition, p. 747)

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