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HindustanTimes Mon,14 Jul 2014

Aseemanand claims RSS chief knew about 'Hindu terror conspiracy'

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 05, 2014
First Published: 22:35 IST(5/2/2014) | Last Updated: 22:36 IST(5/2/2014)

Swami Aseemanand, the prime accused in the three blast cases - Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Sharif - has claimed in an interview that present Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat knew about the alleged Hindu terror conspiracy and sanctioned his acts.

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In an interview to 'The Caravan' magazine inside an Ambala jail, where he is lodged in judicial custody, Aseemanand claimed that Bhagwat said of violence, "It is very important that it be done. But you should not link it to the Sangh."

"It is a concocted interview and as per our information Swami Aseemanand will issue a denial on Thursday in this regard," said RSS spokesperson Manmohan Vaidya.

In a statement, 'The Caravan' magazine said in the interview, recorded in four instalments over a period of two years, Aseemanand claimed his alleged terrorist acts were sanctioned by Mohan Bhagwat, the current RSS chief, who was then the organisation's general secretary.

Aseemanand claimed that at a meeting in July 2005 in Gujarat's Dangs district, Bhagwat and another senior RSS leader, Indresh Kumar, met 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 added that both the RSS leaders told him, "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, 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."

According to investigators, Aseemanand was basically a patron or mentor of the group of Hindu extremists led by Sunil Joshi, a former RSS Zila Pracharak in Madhya Pradesh. The Sunil Joshi-led group allegedly carried out around half-a-dozen blasts, including at Mecca Masjid, Ajmer Sharif and Samjhauta Express, in retaliation of Jehadi terror. Joshi was allegedly killed by his own men in December 2007.

Indresh Kumar has been questioned by the CBI in connection with the Mecca Masjid blast in 2011 by the CBI but later all the Hindu terror cases were transferred to the NIA. The NIA is yet to question Kumar in any of the cases.

So far, the RSS has repeatedly maintained that its office-bearers had nothing to with any Hindu terror conspiracy.

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