It has taken a full decade but the award of life imprisonment to two terrorists in the Ajmer Dargah blasts case has come as an unquestionable confirmation of the menacing wave of Hindutva-terror. Devendra Gupta, 41, and Bhavesh Patel, 39, were both former pracharaks of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Several of the 11 others charge-sheeted accused in the case also had RSS links.
It is now time to extend public scrutiny to all those whose names have come up in the last decade in connection with these cases. These include the new Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mahant Yogi Adityanath.
Adityanath’s name had first come up in the confession of one of the accused in the case, Swami Aseemanand, that was made in front of a metropolitan magistrate in Delhi‘s Tis Hazari court. Aseemanand told the magistrate that in 2006, he had sent two other accused in the case, Sunil Joshi and Bharat Ratishwar, to Gorakhpur to meet Adityanath, then BJP MP from the eastern UP constituency.
Excerpt from a report on Swami Aseemanand’s confession (Tehelka)
QUESTION FOR YOGI ADITYANATH
In April 2006, both met Adityanath at the latter’s residence in Gorakhpur and Joshi had a hushed conversation with him, according to Ratishwar’s confession. This part of the confession was also corroborated by Ratishwar in his own statement, which was recorded first before the NIA and then a judge.
A report has claimed that Adityanath had ticked-off Joshi in that meeting, confirming that the meeting indeed did take place.
To be sure, Aseemanand had himself admitted this much in his confession. “Joshi came back and told me that Adityanath was not of much help,” were his words. Be that as it may, that does leave us with one question that either the UP CM or the NIA can only answer – why did Adityanath not report Joshi to the police?
QUESTION FOR NIA
It is widely known that Aseemanand later retracted his confession, alleging that the NIA and CBI had extracted his admission under duress. In spite of that, the Gorakhpur connection comes up quite clearly in NIA’s charge-sheet in the Samjhauta Express blasts case.
Excerpt from NIA’s chargesheet in the Samjhauta blast case (nia.gov.in)
“Around May 2006,” says the charge-sheet, Sunil Joshi told Aseemanand that he and Ratishwar “had gone to Agra and further gone to Gorakhpur but could not get any help from any quarter”.
Did the NIA visit Gorakhpur and try to find out who these two met there?
The charge-sheet is silent on the matter and there have been no media reports too on the matter. That essentially means that whether these saffron-terror conspirators met Adityanath, a self-confessed mainstream flag-bearer of the saffron brigade, is yet to be explored thoroughly.
For his own sake and for the sake of his party, Adityanath will be well-advised to speak up on the issue. The NIA must also clearly spell out its findings on the issue.