Abhinav Bharat

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Abhinav Bharat is a right wing Hindu extremist organization[1][2] founded by Retired Major of Indian Army Ramesh Upadhyay[3][4] and Lt. Col. Prasad Shrikant Purohit[5] in 2006 in Pune, Maharashtra. It has a large base in Madhya Pradesh. The organization is believed to be the revived form the pre-Independence era Abhinav Bharat Society.[6][7][8] The activities of the organisations came into sharp focus after Maharashtra Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) arrested its member in relation to Malegaon blast case.[9] It has no relationship to the Mumbai-based charitable trust of the same name.[10]

History[edit]

Abhinav Bharat was named after the Abhinav Bharat Society, an organisation founded by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in 1904. The original organization believed in armed revolution, and was responsible for the assassinations of some officers of the ruling British government before being disbanded in 1952.[11]

The current Abhinav Bharat was founded in 2006 by Retired Major of Indian Army Ramesh Upadhyay[3][4] and Lt.Col.Prasad Shrikant Purohit.[5] The first few meetings of the new group took place in 2007.[11] Himani Savarkar, the niece of Nathuram Godse and the wife of Vinayak Savarkar's nephew, was elected president of the group in 2008.[11] During the first few meetings of the organisation, the members discussed the idea that Hinduism was in danger, and needed to be defended.[11] In 2008, several of its members were arrested on the suspicion of being involved in the 2006 Malegaon bombings, and its official website was closed down.[12]

Relationship with Sangh Parivar groups[edit]

Sangh Parivar representatives have distanced themselves from Abhinav Bharat (AB).[13] Dr. Praveen Togadia, head of the VHP, fears that Abhinav Bharat is weaning away radicals from the VHP, from where much of the Abhinav Bharat membership originates.[14] Among these included Sameer Kulkarni, the points-man for Abhinav Bharat in Madhya Pradesh, who was expelled from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in June 2008 for not following protocol within the organization.[15] Abhinav Bharat has also been accused of plotting to kill senior RSS leaders including RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat who they thought weren't doing enough for Hindutva.[16][17]

The Caravan news magazine conducted interviews of Swami Aseemanand to publish an exclusive profile,[18] in which he named RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in relation to 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings, Ajmer Dargah attack and Mecca Masjid bombing. Later, Swami Aseemanand called the magazine article "fabricated" and threatened to launch legal action against the Caravan journalist. However, the Caravan defended its report and released tape recordings and transcripts of the interviews.[19][20] National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the case against Aseemanand, said he never named any RSS leader during questioning. The RSS, too, has rubbished the allegations. The Indian Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde seems to believe the report.[21]

Allegations of involvement in terrorist activity[edit]

Following the arrest and investigation of Abhinav Bharat members Swami Aseemanand, Lt Col Shrikant Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan, Sunil Joshi and Rajendra Choudhary in connection with the Malegaon terrorist bombings,[22] the organization has been investigated for its alleged role in 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings, Malegaon blasts, Mecca Masjid bombing and Ajmer Sharif Dargah blast.[7][23] Anti-Terrorism Squad Investigations have revealed that serving and retired army officers associated with Abhinav Bharat hijacked the organisation and motivated the youth to take up armed struggle against Muslims.[15] Swapan Dasgupta notes that the group seemed little more "than a letterhead or part of a fantasy world".[24]

Praveen Mutalik who was arrested for his alleged role in the 2008 Malegaon blasts is alleged to have received more than Rs 300,000 from Prasad Shrikant Purohit, a co-founder of the Abhinav Bharat.[5] Anti Terrorist Squad (India) has alleged that Ajay Rahirkar the treasurer of Abhinav Bharat received Rs 1 million from various Hawala sources.[25]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Mirror Explodes: Hindu terror is a reality, yet India refuses to utter its name". Outlook (magazine). Jul 19, 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "Hindu terror Abhinav Bharat". 
  3. ^ a b History of LT COL involved in Bomb Blasts
  4. ^ a b Who is Shrikant Purohit
  5. ^ a b c "'Mutalik used Abhinav Bharat funds for business'". The Times of India. Feb 4, 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  6. ^ Mahan, Rajan (April 14, 2009). "Abhinav Bharat under ATS scanner for '07 Ajmer blast". NDTV. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Jain, Bharti (Feb 27, 2013). "Maharashtra government moves to ban Abhinav Bharat". The Times of India. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  8. ^ "Home ministry turns down Maharashtra's plea to ban Abhinav Bharat". The Times of India. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 
  9. ^ Naveen, P. (October 27, 2008). "Malegaon blast: Focus on new outfits". The Hindustan Times. Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  10. ^ "Mumbai trust wants Abhinav Bharat to change name". Apr 25, 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c d Jaffrelot, Christophe (4 September 2010). "Abhinav Bharat, the Malegaon Blast and Hindu Nationalism: Resisting and Emulating Islamist Terrorism". Economic & Political Weekly. 45 (36). 
  12. ^ Haygunde, Chandan (Oct 28, 2008). "Abhinav Bharat's site shut". The Indian Express. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "Sangh distances itself from Malegaon episode - The Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 2008-11-08. Retrieved 2014-04-15. 
  14. ^ "Togadia alarmed by Lt-Col's rise? - The Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 2008-11-07. Retrieved 2014-04-15. 
  15. ^ a b "Abhinav Bharat was 'hijacked' by hardliners: probe". Indian Express. Nov 2, 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  16. ^ "Blast accused wanted to kill saffron leaders". Hindustan Times. 2008-11-21. Retrieved 2014-04-15. 
  17. ^ "Did Abhinav Bharat plan to kill RSS chief? - The Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 2010-06-28. Retrieved 2014-04-15. 
  18. ^ Leena Gita Reghunath (1 February 2014). "The Believer: Swami Aseemanand's radical service to the Sangh". Caravan. Retrieved 2014-12-10. 
  19. ^ "Aseemanand threatens to launch legal action against The Caravan". The Hindu. February 8, 2014. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  20. ^ Leena Gita Reghunath (8 February 2014). "Swami Aseemanand interviews". Outlook. Retrieved 2014-12-10. 
  21. ^ "Aseemanand's revelation on RSS chief: NIA denies it, Sushilkumar Shinde buys it". India Today. February 6, 2014. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  22. ^ "ATS may arrest Abhinav Bharat leader today". The Times of India. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  23. ^ "Narco test to be carried on Abhinav Bharat activist". The Times Of India. 10 November 2008. 
  24. ^ "Malegaon to Mangalore". Indian Express. 28 January 2009. 
  25. ^ "Abhinav Bharat treasurer may have received hawala money". The Times of India. Nov 10, 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2014.