[The motorcycle used in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. Sleuths were able to probe the case from the registeration and chesis number of this bike. (umid.com photo)]
The latest turn around by the NIA in cases of bomb blasts by the Hindutva cadres against Muslims in different parts of the country including blasts in Samjhauta Express in 2007 makes it very clear that finally the Hindutva terrorists are going to be gradually reprieved as per the plan scripted by the current Indian rulers who also happen to be senior cadres of the RSS. It was not unexpected once Modi government assumed power in 2014. The chief prosecutor Rohini Salian in the case had warned that it was coming in the first half of 2015 itself. Julio Ribeiro, perhaps the most decorated cop in independent India and expert on terrorism, in a signed piece on June 27, 2015, warned that "going slow on ‘Hindu terror’ is dangerous. It’s also an insult to the memory of Hemant Karkare". In his write-up Julio Ribeiro went on to share the crucial facts about the case:
"A day before he was shot dead by Pakistani terrorists who had clandestinely sailed from Karachi to Mumbai, Hemant Karkare, an outstanding IPS officer of impeccable integrity as well as high intelligence and abilities, had come to meet me. He was disturbed by the reactions of some BJP leaders, particularly L.K. Advani, to the turn his investigations had taken in the 2008 Malegaon blast case.
"The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), which he headed at that time, had initially suspected jihadi fanatics. Such thoughts would come naturally to any policeman those days as Muslim groupings like Simi had been responsible for several terrorist acts across the country. But, the ATS had suddenly, unexpectedly and, I must add, fortuitously come across incontrovertible evidence, which included taped conversations, to prove that the Malegaon blasts, as well as the Ajmer, Hyderabad and Samjhauta Express blasts that killed nearly a hundred people, were conceived, planned and executed by a group of fanatical Hindus bent on revenge.
"It is the duty of law enforcers to seek the real offenders and ensure that they are dealt with by the law of the land. Politics, religion, caste, community have no role to play in the pursuit of truth and justice. It is true that such lofty ideals are often forgotten but fortunately there are still police officers who act according to their conscience and the Constitution. Hemant Karkare was one such officer.
"I went through some of the evidence he had gathered. I was staggered. I could understand the anger that prompted the perpetrators to embark on their misconceived journey. But a police officer has to do his duty, which is to stick to the truth and the letter of the law. I advised Karkare to abide by his 'dharma'. I offered to speak to Advani if required. I was sure that Advani would appreciate the fact that Karkare was doing what any true gentleman and patriot would be expected to do.
"Unfortunately, Ajmal Kasab and his brainwashed companions snuffed out the life of a good man. Karkare was not around to pursue the case but his successors carried on the investigations and filed the charge sheet against the real culprits in court."
While discussing the fears of Rohini that NIA may renegade on the persecution of the Hindutva terrorists Ribeiro had commented:
"Rohini Salian is a legend in the world of public prosecutors. Every policeman knows her name. So do the lawyers and judges of the city of Mumbai. She is single-minded in her commitment to her duties and, above all, everyone knows that she cannot be bought.
"Salian’s lament on being asked to go soft on Hindu extremists accused of terrorist acts frightens us to believe that the country is steadily being led on to the path trodden by our surly neighbour on our western border. The masterminds of the 26/11 attacks are treated like heroes in Pakistan."
What Ribeiro feared in June 2015 that "if hidden hands nudge the judicial system to free murderers of the saffron variety" has taken a concrete shape in the charge sheet of NIA submitted on May 13, 2016.
According to a press report, "In a turnaround on Friday (May 13, 2016), the National Investigation Agency dropped all charges against Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and five others in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, while charges under the stringent MCOCA law have been given up against all the other 10 accused, including Lt. Col. Prasad Shrikant Purohit".
In fact, the cowardly killing of Hemant Karkre on November 27, 2008 in Mumbai by the Islam-o-fascists to the glee of Hindutva terrorists derailed the whole process of bringing to justice the perpetrators. The persecuting agencies even during UPA rule after Hemant Karkare's removal from scene did not follow important leads.
The RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat confessed while addressing RSS meeting at Surat (Gujarat) on January 10, 2011 that "of the majority of the people whom the government has accused (in various blast cases), a few had left voluntarily and a few were told by the Sangh that this extremism will not work here so you go away".
Mohan Bhagwat candidly had disclosed that 'majority of the people' accused were in RSS out of whom 'few had left voluntarily'and others were told by the RSS to 'go away'. Bhagwat must have been called for investigation to share the names of these terrorists. It was never done. Since the search for real perpetrators is still on, Bhagwat should be asked under oath to disclose list of such criminals and made a party to the case as a witness.
The current charge sheet also makes a startling revelation. According to a report in a prominent English daily of India , "The key accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, Lt. Col. Prasad Shrikant Purohit, had organised a training camp under the guise of an ‘Art of Living’ event, the charge sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency said. The NIA has recorded the statement of the owner of a hotel in Panchmarhi in this regard. The owner, who was a prosecution witness, said that in September 2005, Purohit met him in the hotel and asked him to arrange a camp for 40-50 people related to ‘Art of Living’ (AoL) at Panchmarhi. "
If NIA is serious even about its depleted charge sheet it must grill the Sri Sri Ravishankar and whole of his nexus. Of course, examining Mohan Bagwat must be the top priority.
[Shamsul Islam is a retired Professor of University of Delhi.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For some of S. Islam's writings in English, Hindi, Urdu & Gujarati see the following link: http://du-in.academia.edu/ShamsulIslam. Facebook: shams shamsul. Twitter: @shamsforjustice]