Activists seek wider probe into 'Hindutva terror'

New Delhi, Jan 24 (IANS) Twenty-one activists and intellectuals Thursday demanded "a thorough enquiry" into a "terror nexus" involving Hindu groups and security agencies.

A statement issued by them said "a genuine probe" was needed to know the nexus "straddling Abhinav Bharat, RSS, VHP, BJP and Bajrang Dal leaders together with sections of the Indian intelligence and security agencies".

This was necessary although the Indian government had belatedly acknowledged "the heinous terrorist acts of the Sangh groups", they said.

"It must also be investigated whether the network of Hindutva terrorists have been provided not just political but also financial and logistical support by various governments," the statement said.

"There must be a thorough investigation into the foreign sources of funding of the Hindutva organisations."

The signatories to the statement included Manisha Sethi, Ahmed Sohaib, Shabnam Hashmi, Mahtab Alam, Mansi Sharma, Subhash Gatade, Rajeev Yadav, Mohd Shoaib, Shahnawaz Alam, Amit Sen Gupta, Abu Zafar, Harsh Kapoor, Seema Mustafa, Ram Puniyani, John Dayal, Kamal Mitra Chenoy and Wilfred Dcosta.

The statement said that while one may or may not agree with Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's terminology on "Hindu terror", "we feel that for long prejudice has ruled investigations" into terrorist activities.

This, it said, had obscured "the role of (Hindu) organisations and their multiple affiliates in planning and executing of attacks and bombings in the country.

The statement said that civil rights groups had argued for long that the investigations into bomb blasts and terror attacks have degenerated into communal witch-hunts.

"Bomb blasts are followed predictably by mass arrests of Muslim youth, raids in Muslim-dominated localities, detentions, arrests and torture; media trials, charge-sheets and prosecution based on custodial confessions and little real evidence.

"Leads which pointed to the hands of groups affiliated to Sangh organisations and their complicity in planning and executing acts of terror were ignored, never seriously pursued.

"The agencies, showing their abject bias, instead chose to pursue the beaten track of investigating Islamic terrorist organisations despite clear evidence pointing in the opposite direction.

"This was true of the Nanded blasts in 2006 as well as of the Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Sharif bombings."

It said the only exception was Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare, who in 2008 brought into the public domain "the nefarious designs of Abhinav Bharat and its foot soldiers of hate".

Karkare told Hyderabad Police the claim by army officer Prasad Purohit that he had got RDX from an army inventory when he was posted in Jammu and Kashmir in 2006.

The Hyderabad Police, however, ignored his messages, having detained close to 70 Muslim youths, it said.

The statement said it should be probed if Indian intelligence and security agencies "deliberately subverted probes (into terror attacks) as well as the due process of law.

"We hope that the acknowledgement of Hindutva terror will not remain a statement only but that the investigations will be seriously and sincerely pursued."

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