‘Terror is terror’: Chidambaram targets BJP, RSS after Maharashtra ATS arrests three with links to Hindu outfits

On Friday, the Maharashtra ATS had announced the arrest of the men and claimed to have averted major terror attacks with the recovery of a huge cache of explosives, including live crude bombs and gelatin sticks.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: August 11, 2018 10:24:14 pm
Former finance minister P Chidambaram. Former finance minister P Chidambaram.

Former finance minister P Chidambaram on Saturday took a dig at the ruling BJP over the arrest of three men affiliated to radical Hindu outfits, by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), and asked if the party planned to condemn those who are plotting terror attacks.

Taking to Twitter, the senior Congress leader said “terror is terror” irrespective of religion and that “there is no purpose in burying one’s head”. “Maharashtra ATS announced the arrest of three men affiliated to radical Hindu outfits. Who rules Maharashtra?” he asked.

The former Union minister then said, “The BJP. Hindu, Muslim or any other religion, radicalism is radicalism. Terror is terror. There is no purpose in burying one’s head in the sand.”

“Will the RSS and BJP condemn those who are plotting and planning terror attacks?” he added.

On Friday, the Maharashtra ATS had announced the arrest of the men and claimed to have averted major terror attacks with the recovery of a huge cache of explosives, including live crude bombs and gelatin sticks.

Among the arrested is Vaibhav Raut (40), allegedly a member of the Hindu Govansh Raksha Samiti who is also said to be a sympathiser of the right wing Sanatan Sanstha. Suspects allegedly linked to the Sanatan Sanstha were involved in the murders of three rationalists – Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi – and the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh.

Read | Terror attacks foiled, 3 with links to hardline Hindu groups held: Maharashtra ATS

Another accused, Sudhanwa Gondhalekar (39) from Satara, is a member of the Shri Shivapratishthan Hindustan, whose chief is Sambhaji Bhide. Bhide has been booked in two criminal cases in connection with violence near Bhima Koregaon on January 1 by the Pune Police. The third accused, Sharad Kasalkar (25) was arrested along with Raut from Raut’s Nallasopara residence. Sources said that the ATS recovered a note on making bombs from Kasalkar and that Gondhalekar had knowledge of explosives and trained the other two men on assembling them.

The three have been arrested under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and sections of the Indian Penal Code and Explosives Act. According to the ATS, they have recovered 22 items including 20 crude bombs, two gelatin sheets, a note on how to prepare bombs, one six-volt battery, a few loose wires, transistors and glue from the arrested.

Sources said that the bombs recovered from Raut’s house were “ready” for use. “They were up to something sinister and the bombs were active and ready to be used. Such a huge cache recovered before Independence day and Bakrid is reason enough to worry. Our probe is now focusing on the purpose behind assembling so many bombs, were they planning a coordinated attack or otherwise, who trained them and related questions,” an official had said.

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