Anti-terror trial: Malegaon bombers planning a Hindu state
On Tuesday the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) presented evidence to the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) Court against 14 defendants involved in the attack that killed six people, wounding 70, in Malegaon, a city in Maharashtra, on 29 September 2008.
The 4,300-page charge sheet submitted by the Maharashtra ATS not only contained the counts of crimes against the accused, but also transcripts of conversations in which the latter discussed secret plans to “sow the seed for revolution.”
The document reported that the group held meetings in various cities of the country, including one in September 2007, attended by B.L. Sharma, a former member of parliament for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).
Based on transcripts from a video found on the laptop of self-styled religious leader Dayanand Pandey, police argued that the defendants were planning to set up a vast subversive group.
The transcripts also indicate that Sharma discussed when and how to recruit new members. The former BJP lawmaker is also said to have encourage the group in their plan, urging them to maintain secrecy, suggesting they might achieve their goals in a five-year period.
In the tape the group’s leader, Army Lieutenant Colonel P S Purohit, said that the “revolution should not be only in Maharashtra or Delhi. Until the web is fully spread across the country, we cannot implement this revolution.”
In the short run the group planned to carry out attacks to frighten the population and force non-Hindus to convert to Hinduism.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for 12 February when the judicial custody of 11 of the 14 accused ends.
The Malegaon trial has become a major embarrassment for Hindu nationalist parties who had initially claimed that the two blasts in September were the work of Islamist or Maoist groups.
However, right from the start the trail of clues led to Hindu nationalist leaders.
When a 38-year-old man, who had become a Sadhu or Hindu ascetic in 2007, was arrested early in the investigation along with a Hindu woman, it became clear that Hindu nationalists were behind the attacks.