Blame shifts to Hindu radicals for attacks on Indian holy places

NEW DELHI – The National – 11 May 2010 – Two separate bomb attacks in 2007 on Islamic places of worship that claimed the lives of 20 Muslims and which were blamed on Pakistani Islamists and Indian collaborators were possibly the work of Hindu radicals, investigators have said.
Four men belonging to Hindu groups, who were arrested over the past fortnight, are now suspected to have been responsible for the May 2007 attack on Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad that killed 17 and the October 2007 attack on a shrine in Ajmer in Rajasthan, Ashwani Kumar, the director of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation, said last week.

Mr Kumar said a Hindu activist named Sunil Joshi “played a key role in orchestrating the Ajmer blast”.

“A set of mobile Sim cards, which had been used in activation of the bomb-triggers in the Mecca Masjid blast [in May 2007], was used again in Ajmer blast,” he said,

Rajasthan’s home minister, Shanti Dhariwal, said last week: “Four activists of the Abhinav Bharat and RSS have been arrested in the Ajmer case and we hope to arrest a few more of their accomplices who are hiding in the neighbouring states. We hope our investigation will also help crack some unsolved bomb cases, including that of Mecca Mosque, soon.”

Police had been tipped off by a former Indian army officer, Lt Col Purohit, a Hindu who is himself on trial accused of involvement in 2008 bomb attacks in the predominantly Muslim textile town of Malegaon in which six Muslims were killed.

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Tom Sullivan