Gujarat CM let an outfit chargesheeted for terror attacks hold a meeting in his constituency, reports Rana Ayyub
ON 16 November 2008, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi wrote to the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) praising its initiative in organising programmes in Maninagar, the CM’s constituency, as well as assuring cooperation in future endeavours. TEHELKA has this letter as well as pictures of the function held in Gujarat.
At that juncture, the HJS and Sanatan Sanstha, which works under its banner, had been chargesheeted for their role in the Thane theatre blasts of June 2008. The theatre was targeted as it was screening the period film Jodhaa Akbar, which shows Emperor Akbar marrying a Hindu girl, which many right wing organisations had protested against. It was also the organisation that was later chargesheeted for its role in the 2009 Madgaon blast in Goa.
Modi is seen inviting and thanking the same organisation, which the then Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare had urged the home department to ban. It has also been confirmed that Karkare had sent a proposal in August 2008 to ban the HJS and Sanatan Sanstha just months before he was killed in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, as reported earlier by TEHELKA.
This letter, written in Gujarati and signed by Modi (see above) reads, “The time is ripe to make coordinated efforts by nationalist saints and nationalists leaders. To defeat divisive forces like terrorism, we have to strengthen determination and respect towards the nation. Activities like Jan Jagran rally, dharmasabhas are being organised by the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, Thane, in Ahmedabad. In order to make consolidated efforts against terrorism, on 16 November 2008, a Dharma Jagruti Sabha is being organised in Maninagar area.
Modi is seen inviting and thanking the same organisation that Karkare had tried to get banned in 2008
“There is no religion for terrorists. Terrorism is an act against humanity. It is a welcome effort of your institution to awaken people against such forces. I wish all success to special publication on this dharma sabha and organisation of programmes.”
In its investigation of the Madgaon blast, TEHELKA had pointed to the growing fundamentalist activities of the Sanatan Sanstha and the HJS, which had its headquarters in Navi Mumbai and Goa. While many pointed to the patronage received by Swami Asimananda at Dangs and the people who sheltered him, this letter sent by the CM’s office raises serious questions.
It is noteworthy that this was the meeting that first struck a discordant note among various right wing organisations in Gujarat and altered Modi’s equations within the Sangh Parivar.
A senior RSS member, holding a significant post in Gujarat, revealed that this function had the VHP and the RSS — both rivals of the HJS — coming together to protest against the permission given to hold the function in Maninagar. Both the RSS and the VHP made attempts to scuttle the meeting, he told TEHELKA on condition of anonymity.
However, the most pertinent question is: how could the chief minister — who for the past 10 years has been claiming that his state has been the target of the most terror attacks — allow an organisation that had been chargesheeted for terror attacks, to hold meetings in his constituency?