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Call for immediate ban on Bajrang Dal, VHP

Special Correspondent

New Delhi: Monthly magazine Communalism Combat has called for an immediate ban on the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad for their “involvement in spreading terror across the country.”

The demand was made on Thursday at a press conference addressed jointly by Justice (retd.) B.G. Kolse Patil, former Director-General of Gujarat Police R.B. Sreekumar, film-maker Mahesh Bhatt and Editor of Communalism Combat Teesta Setalvad.

They said a ban on the two organisations assumed urgency in the wake of the mayhem spread by them in Orissa as well as revelations of their involvement in terror networks in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. They also called upon the government to constitute an official tribunal, comprising three sitting judges of the Supreme Court, to oversee investigations into all terror-related crimes.

Mr. Justice Kolse Patil said that though there was mounting evidence of the Bajrang Dal’s involvement in bomb-making activities, not a single case was pursued to its logical end.

Ms. Setalvad said a “mountain of damning evidence” was available to incriminate the Bajrang Dal in the bomb blasts that took place at the residence of a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh worker in Nanded in Maharashtra in April 2006. As recently as last week, two Bajrang Dal activists died in an explosion while assembling bombs in Kanpur. The two men left behind explosive materials enough for several terror strikes, she alleged.

Ms. Setalvad spoke specifically of the Nanded bomb blast case that claimed the lives of Naresh Kondwar and Himanshu Panse, both active workers of the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. The case was handed over to the Anti-Terrorism Squad of Maharashtra on May 4, 2006.

Quoting from the two charge sheets filed by the ATS, Ms. Setalvad made the following points: Kondse and Panse were assembling bombs with the intention of targeting Muslim places of worship. The house where the bombs were manufactured belonged to RSS worker Laxman Rajkondwar. Diaries, important documents, suspicious maps and mobile numbers were unearthed from the house, which led the ATS to a terror trail spread over Parbhani, Jalna and Purna.

Ms. Setalvad said the ATS charge sheets revealed that as many as three dozen Bajrang Dal workers from all over Maharashtra received systematic training from experts in bomb-making and bomb explosion. Despite this clinching evidence, the CBI watered down the findings in its own charge sheet filed in 2008, allowing the accused to be released on bail.

Ms. Setalvad announced that she and the other speakers would soon move the Supreme Court in order to bring to its attention the discrepancy in the charge sheets of the ATS and the CBI.

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