Free Press Journal

Aseemanand acquittal raises questions

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The acquittal of Swami Aseemanand, who had been accused of masterminding the terror attack at the Ajmer Dargah in Ajmer town of Rajasthan in 2007, is a huge blow to the investigators of the case and those who propounded the theory of ‘Hindutva terror.’ While six others besides Aseemanand were also acquitted by the special National Investigation Agency court in Jaipur, three, including Sunil Joshi, believed to be the key executor and conspirator of the dargah blasts, who was a Zila Pracharak of the RSS in Madhya Pradesh and died two months after the blast in mysterious circumstances, have been found guilty. A close associate of Sunil Joshi, Devendra Gupta, who was a zila pracharak with the RSS in Jamtada in Jharkhand and a third person Bhavesh Patel who had no recorded RSS links, and was charged for having planted the bomb at the dargah which killed three people and injured at least 15 at the hugely-popular shrine for Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti were also convicted in the sensational case.

Aseemanand had been charged with murder and spreading communal hatred and was accused of having helped the funding of the attack and of acting as the ideologue in the case. He was also alleged to have taken part in meetings of extreme right wing groups who felt they must strike back with acts of terror in answer to a spate of attacks on the famous Amarnath Yatra and on some Hindu shrines. Aseemanand is an accused in several other cases of bombing including at Malegaon in Maharashtra in 2006 in which nearly 40 people were killed, Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid in 2007 and the explosion in the same year on the Samjhauta Express in which nearly 70 passengers were killed on the train running between India and Pakistan. His acquittal is because of lack of evidence.

With this exoneration in the case relating to Ajmer blasts, his involvement in other terror cases as a conspirator could evidently fall weak too or so it seems. Aseemanand created political ripples when after his arrest in 2010, he confessed in court his role in the conspiracy, which involved not just the Dargah blast but also the bombing in Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid, the Samjhauta Express and Malegaon. He even claimed that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat was privy to the conspiracy. However, he later retracted, claiming he had been coerced into making a false confession. This led to a huge political controversy at a time when the UPA was in power at the Centre. The tables have turned now.