On April 1, while addressing a rally in Maharashtra’s Wardha Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed that the Congress had coined the term “Hindu terror” and that no Hindu had ever been involved in acts of terrorism. He was referring to the recent acquittal of all the accused in the Samjhauta Express blast case of 2007.
What did PM Modi say?
Reportedly, Modi said, “The Congress tries to tarnish crores of people of the country by using the term ‘Hindu terror’. Tell me, weren’t you deeply hurt when you heard the term ‘Hindu Terror’? Is there a single incident in the history of Hindus engaging in terrorism?” Not only did Twitter users call out Modi for pulling up the ill-fitted example of the Samjhauta Express case, but court records also state otherwise.
Even though the trial court acquitted the four accused, it expressed “deep pain and anguish” and hounded the NIA for withholding evidence, reported The Indian Express. The order had further stated that there was “no evidence regarding any meeting of minds of accused to commit the crime.” This comes even after a 2011 charge sheet which was filed by the NIA against one of the blast accused, Swami Aseemanand, The charge sheet stated that a meeting took place between him and another accused, Sunil Joshi who died in 2007, reported The Quint.
Blast cases between 2007 and 2008
Reportedly, the meeting directly resulted in a series of blasts between 2007 and 2008 where the Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Dargah Sharif were targeted. During the trials of these blast cases, many Hindu activists were accused. In a 2011 Hindu article, Swami Aseemanand was reported to have confessed before a metropolitan magistrate in New Delhi that he and other Hindu activists were “were involved in the bombing at Muslim religious shrines because they wanted to avenge the terror acts with a ‘bomb for bomb’ policy.”
In his confession, Aseemanand also admitted to having planned several other blasts in masjids. He even named several RSS pracharaks including Sadhvi Pragya. He said that the trigger for these blasts were the “Islamist terror strikes” on Akshardham temple and the Sankatmochan temple.
However, NDTV reported that not only did Aseemanand retract his statement, but the confession was among the documents which went missing from the court in 2018. This enabled his acquittal in the Mecca Masjid blasts case.
In March 2017, an NIA court in Jaipur convicted three ex-RSS pracharaks Sunil Joshi, Devendra Gupta and Bhavesh Patel in connection to the 2007 Ajmer Dargah blast. While Gupta and Patel were sentenced to life imprisonment, Joshi was convicted even though he was dead. The court said that the NIA had established that fact that Gupta had bought the cellphone SIM cards which were used to time and trigger the bombings.
Moreover, in December 2018, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), charge sheeted 12 people linked to Hindu groups under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). According to The Indian Express, the charge sheet said, “The accused were members of organisations such as the (Goa-headquartered) Sanathan Sanstha, (its affiliate) ‘Hindu Janjagruti’ and similar other smaller outfits…They had drawn their motivation of making efforts towards establishment of so-called Hindu Rashtra as explained in the Marathi book ‘Kshatra Dharma Sadhana’, published by Sanathan Sanstha.”