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Malegaon to Samjhauta: How politics of terror derailed these cases


New Delhi, Apr 18: The BJP after selecting Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur as its candidate from Bhopal said that the decision was taken to punish the Congress for its Hindu terror bogey.

It was in the year 2008 that the word Hindu terror cropped post the blasts on the Samjhauta Express, Ajmer, Mecca Masjid and Malegaon. Each one of these cases saw a major flip-flop.

Malegaon to Samjauta: How politics of terror derailed these cases

In all the cases, investigators first blamed groups such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islami and Students Islamic Movement of India. The investigations subsequently turned around and Hindu elements were blamed for all these attacks.

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However almost ten years later, while the trials in these cases are still pending, the narrative has changed once again.

For instance in the Samjhauta case the accused including Swami Aseemanand were acquitted. In the Malegaon case, the NIA said that there is no evidence against Thakur. The court however in this case said that she would have to face trial.

Take the Samjhauta blasts case for instance. When the probe into the case began, Safdar Nagori of the Students Islamic Movement of India had told investigators that the attack was carried out by the members of his outfit with the help of some elements from Pakistan.

Nagori, who was arrested in 2008 told the police that the Mumbai train bombings and the Samjhauta attack were carried out by the same set of people. He said that the primary idea of the Samjauta attack was to derail peace talks between India and Pakistan.

It was not just Nagori, but two other operates Kamruddin and Amil Pervez who took the same link. All of them spoke about the link between the attack and the SIMI.

At around the same time the United States too pointed out about the role of a Lashkar-e-Tayiba financier Arif Qasmani in the attack.

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The state department said that the blasts were funded by Qasmani. A further probe into this revealed that the SIMI operatives Ehtesham Siddiqui and Abdus Subhan were in touch with the Lashkar cadres and had planned this blast. The investigations also found that the Lashkar orchestrated this blast at the behest of the ISI to derail peace with India.

However the case took a sudden turn after 2009. The Ajmer Dargah, Malegaon, Mecca Masjid and Samjhautha Express blast cases were all blamed on the Hindus.

Each of these cases had two chargesheets and two sets of accused. Many had even cried foul stating that the UPA had deliberately changed the focus of these probes. The BJP which was in the opposition at that time blamed the UPA's appeasement policy for this role reversal.

All these cases were then handed over to the NIA. At the start of the probe, the NIA secured a confessional statement by Swami Aseemanand. In the statement he confessed to be part of the conspiracy to carry out the attacks including the one on the Samjhauta Express.

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However, this statement did not pass legal scrutiny as it was made under duress. Subsequently the man the NIA termed as the prime accused in the case was acquitted in most of them.

The case one could say is far from over. Recently a team of the NIA had sought information on Qasmani from the United States. The NIA would continue to probe that angle, especially in the wake of the four persons being acquitted by the special court on March 20.

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