Undeterred by the storm of criticism triggered by his comments linking the killing of Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare during the 26/11 terror attacks to the alleged threats Karkare had received from Hindu extremists,Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh today released the book 26/11 RSS Ki Saazish? (26/11,An RSS Conspiracy?) in Mumbai,using the platform to launch a fresh attack on radical Hindu groups for what he called majority terrorism.
Singh had released the same book,authored by Aziz Burney,Editor-in-Chief of Urdu Sahara newspaper,in Delhi on December 6. At that launch event,he had said that Karkare had called him two hours before the 26/11 attack in Mumbai to say that his life was blighted by constant threats from those opposed to the ATS probe into the 2008 Malegaon blast in which Hindu extremists were accused.
Days later,Singh repeated the comments to The Indian Express,which sparked national outrage,with Karkares wife Kavita saying that he seemed to be playing politics with the death of her husband. Singh had subsequently sought to dilute his comments,saying that he had called Karkare and not the other way round and also that he never doubted Karkare was killed by LeT terrorists. He had even offered to produce records of his phone calls but said BSNL did not store records older than 12 months. Speaking at the Islam Gymkhana in the financial capital where Burneys book was released locally today,Singh once again sought to highlight the danger posed to the country by Hindu extremist groups. I said that as far as the 26/11 incident is concerned,there must be no suspicion that it was done by Pakistani terrorists. But this is for sure that there was pressure on Hemant Karkareji, said Singh.
The ideology which was putting pressure on Karkare was the same one which was responsible for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and for driving a wedge between Hindus and Muslims,he said. Singh pointed out that those from the Hindu Right,whether it was the Shiv Sena,Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi or BJP leaders L K Advani and Rajnath Singh,had questioned Shri Hemant Karkares integrity,loyalty and patriotism towards the nation and pressure was applied on him.
Hemant Karkare had come forth as a form of Ishwar (God) for Muslims in this country… he saved a community from being defamed, said Singh as the audience cheered and clapped. Among those present were local Congress MLA Kripashanker Singh,Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Azmi,Bollywood director Mahesh Bhatt and former Maharashtra IGP S M Mushrif who authored the book Who Killed Karkare? in 2009,which too alleged a local conspiracy in the ATS chiefs death.
Singh did not refer to his supposed phone conversation with Karkare in his speech today. But asked by reporters later,he repeated that he had indeed had that conversation but could not retrieve those phone call records as BSNL did not maintain records beyond 12 months.
But in his speech,Singh went on the offensive against Hindu groups and BJP-ruled states,accusing the latter of emerging as the bastion of majority terrorism. Singh said Sunil Joshi,the murdered RSS pracharak and Ajmer blast accused,had been killed as he knew a lot. Referring to Joshi as a foot soldier,Singh said he had been killed as he knew a lot…and knew the names of the big people on whose prompting the bomb blast had been carried out.
These whole areas,Gujarat,Madhya Pradesh,Rajasthan,parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka are such…which have become a bastion of majority terrorism, he charged. Asked by reporters later if he was accusing BJP-ruled states of shielding Hindu extremists,Singh said when one Marathe from Madhya Pradesh,who was accused of killing one RR Khan in Ratlam,was caught,he said he had stayed at BJP and RSS offices after the murder.
Singh also alleged that Swami Aseemanand,who has been arrested in connection with the Ajmer and Mecca Masjid blast,was being helped by the Gujarat government. Singh said he agreed with Rajya Sabha MP Maulana Mahmood Madani that Muslims were not getting justice in the country. Singh also said that banning the RSS would have little impact as they would float other organisations,and it was necessary to crush the ideology. He charged that those owing allegiance to this ideology were present in the bureaucracy,political parties,police and even in the army.