Malegaon to Modasa Blasts: The H Factor ?

Saba Parveen still repents the fact that she sent her younger sister Farheen to Bhikku Chowk to buy some Pakoras. Little she could have the premonition that she would never get to see her 10 year old sister a class V student alive.

The blast at Malegaon’s Bhikku Chowk, has literally shattered the family of Shaikh Liaquat Wahiuddin, Farheen’s father who lives around 100 feet away from the Chowk near the Kasbapada masjid. A father of three daughters and two sons and a wife has seen all the hell broke lose soon after the bomb blast.

The couple fainted when they reached Wadia hospital to see their own daughter who had suffered severe burns in the blast turned lifeless. The latest bomb blasts in Malegaon have seen four deaths wherein a motorcycle parked near old SIMI office which was laden with explosives exploded killing four people on the spot. It was worth noting that the people living in the vicinity of the Chowk had informed the police about this unclaimed motorcycle standing there for hours together. But the police did not bother to turn up and reached the place only after the blast which saw these deaths.

It is not difficult to imagine the palpable anger which exists among people about the callousness of the police and the insensitivity of the administration. People of this town which has a significant no of Muslim population have not forgotten the treatment meted out to them by the police and the administration when there were similar blasts in the city during their religious congregations killing 40 people in 2006. Despite enough hints about the involvement of Hindutva terror groups in the perpetration of these acts, where a torso with a fake beard was also identified, ultimately saw few Muslim youths getting booked for this crime who are still languishing in jail. A CBI enquiry which was ordered after lot of pressure claims to have reached a deadend. In a recent meeting with Baba Siddique, the ’guardian’ minister of Nasik, representatives of different Muslim organisations in Malegaon gave vent to their feelings of disgust and deep hurt over the developments. Angry community leaders asked the minister “You blame SIMI for blasts in temples, you blame SIMI for blasts in market places, you blame SIMI for blast Masjids. The latest blast has taken place just below the SIMI office. Now whom will you blame ?”( Mailtoday, Oct 3, 2008)

Hemant Karkare, chief of the Anti Terrorist Squad of Maharashtra Police, who was instrumental in nabbing the activists of Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janjagruti Samity for the bomb blasts in Thane, Vashi and few other places in Maharashtra (June 2008) and his team of officers also shied away from blaming some or the other Islamic terrorist organisation for the blast.The perpetrators of the bomb blast who had packed a splendour motorcycle with nuts, bolts, nails and ballbearings and three kilograms of explosive material, near a mosque, beside a SIMI office and the time chosen by them – on the eve of Eid – has definitely put local police and ATS groping in the dark.

But according to an investigative report filed by Mailtoday ( 1 October 2008) : “Police, however, are sure of one thing – that the blasts in Malegaon and Modasa in Gujarat were a coordinated effort, as both occured at around 9.30 p.m. in Muslim dominated areas.Karkare felt that the Gujarat and the Malegaon blasts were similar in nature also.” In fact any close watcher of the bomb blasts in the country cannot miss the fact that bikes have been a favourite instrument of the Bajrang Dal to attack Muslims. A narcotest of those involved in Nanded bomb blasts (April 2006) which saw deaths of two Bajrang Dal activists had clearly revealed that ’mysterious blasts’ in Parbhani in 2003 and Jalna (2004) which involved perpetrators on bikes throwing bombs at the congregation and fleeing were actually the handiwork of a terror module of the Bajrang Dal itself.

The report in Mailtoday further adds ” This is similar to the blast in Mehrauli market in New Delhi blast on Saturday and also some other cases where bombs were placed on bikes.”

Of course Mailtoday is not alone in pointing fingers at Hindu terror groups for these bomb blasts, a detailed writeup in Indian Express ( Hindu Extremist Groups on Radar In Malegaon Probe, Sagnik Chowdhury, 1 st October 2008) reiterates the line of thinking of the ATS officials as far as the particular blast is concerned. ” A day after the Maharashtra police said it could not rule out the possibility of Hindu extremist hand in Monday’s blast in Malegaon, investigators are revisiting the crude bombs that were planted in auditoriums on the outskirts of Mumbai earlier this year.” The ATS is planning to question the activists of Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, Sanatan Sanstha and other stray Hindu extremist organisations for their possible involvement in the act.The 1020 page chargesheet filed by the ATS in September against the members of these organisations for their terrorist acts is an added reminder for it to pursue the case in a balanced manner.

A deeper analysis of terror strikes since 2006 also reveal that there are at least five such terror strikes which targeted minorities and their religious places and they still remain unresolved. A report filed by Aman Sharma ( Mailtoday, October 3, 2008) provides details of these blasts and the status of investigations. Jama Masjid blast ( 14 injured, April 2006 – Friday) where low intensity, crude bombs were placed in a polythene bag is still pending with Delhi police, no outfit has been named. Malegaon ( 40 killed, September 8, 2006 – Friday) which saw four bombs outside mosques on Shab-e-Barat where RDX-ammonium nitrate bombs in boxes on bicycles was used, still remains unresolved. The investigation in Samjhuta express blasts (66 killed, Feb 19, 2007) where six bombs were planted inside Indo-Pak Samjhauta Express has also not shown any progress and neither any organisation has been named. The case of Mecca Masjid blasts ( 11 killed, May 18, 2007 -Friday) where two bombs were planted inside Mecca Masjid in boxes, is also pending with CBI. The enquiry into Ajmer Sharif bomb blasts (3 killed, October 11, 2007 – Friday) where two bombs in tiffin boxes wee used and where ammonium nitrate bombs were triggered by mobile phone has also not made much headway.The case at present pending with Rajasthan police has also not named any organisation.

Looking at the fact that communal common sense dominates the functioning of the police and the media in our country it is difficult to predict what will happen next. The investigations into the recent Kanpur blast (24 August 2008) which saw deaths of two RSS activists, Rajiv Mishra and Bhupendra Chopra, while making ammonium nitrate bombs, is an example worth studying. While the police took two of their colleagues for narcoanalysis, it did not even bother to question their alleged mentors -one of whom happened to be a Professor in IIT with RSS background.

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