‘Saffron terror’: Ajmer blast probe first joined the dotshttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/saffron-terror-ajmer-blast-probe-first-joined-the-dots/

‘Saffron terror’: Ajmer blast probe first joined the dots

It was Rajasthan ATS that first indicated a link between Hindu extremists and Samjhauta blasts.

It was the Rajasthan Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) that in October last year first indicated a clear link between Hindu extremist groups and the 2007 Samjhauta blasts,which left 68 dead.

In the chargesheet filed in an Ajmer court on October 22 against the accused in the Ajmer Dargah blast,the ATS mentioned parallels between the modus operandi and materials and equipment used in the Ajmer and Samjhauta blasts,while also naming Swami Aseemanand as a key conspirator in the Ajmer,Samjhauta,Mecca Masjid and Malegaon blasts.

According to the ATS chargesheet,“It is worth mentioning that the evidence gathered in the aftermath of the Samjhauta Express blast on February 19,2007,is similar to the materials and equipment used in the Ajmer Dargah blast as well as the modus operandi. One can infer from this that the Samjhauta Express blast could be the handiwork of the same terrorist outfit responsible for the Ajmer Dargah blast.”

The ATS also mentioned that the materials and equipment used in both attacks were possibly sourced from the same area — in and around Indore in Madhya Pradesh.

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From Dangs in Gujarat,Swami Aseemanand is considered the ideologue behind the Ajmer,Mecca Masjid,Malegaon and Samjhauta blasts,which all investigative agencies have linked to right-wing Hindu extremist groups.

ATS officials stated that Aseemanand held several meetings at his ashram in Dangs where these terror attacks were planned and roles assigned to operatives.

Aseemanand was arrested by the CBI,probing the Mecca Masjid blast,on November 19 from an ashram in Haridwar.

ATS officials said officers from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) probing the Samjhauta blasts had regularly questioned those accused in the Ajmer blast.

The accused include Devendra Gupta,Chandrashekhar,Lokesh Sharma,Harshad Solanki and Mukesh Vasani.

A senior ATS official said,“The similarities were too strong to be ignored between the Ajmer and Samjhauta attacks. Our conclusion was based on evidence collected at the site of both attacks and while questioning those already under arrest.”

He added that the only difference between the two attacks was the timer device used,which was done on purpose to throw investigators off track.

Senior ATS officials stated that of the six accused in the Ajmer Dargah blasts,five hailed from in and around Indore.

The ATS chargesheet mentions that Aseemanand may have also helped in funding and planning several attacks across the country.

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The chargesheet reads,“Aseemanand chaired meetings in Ujjain,Indore,Shabridham and Mihijam in Jharkhand where under his guidance the organisation that was responsible for the wave of saffron terror was born. The ATS believes that Sunil Joshi,under Aseemanand’s guidance and financial support,hatched the Malegaon,Ajmer and Mecca Masjid blast plots and allocated various jobs to those who executed the plan.”