Abhinav Bharat

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Abhinav Bharat is a Hindu organization[1][2] founded by retired Indian Army Major Ramesh Upadhyay[3][4][5] in 2006 in Pune, India. It has a large base in Madhya Pradesh. The organization is believed to be the revived form of the pre-Independence era Abhinav Bharat Society.[6][7][8] The activities of the organisations received widespread attention after Maharashtra Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) arrested its member for the 2006 Malegaon bombings 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[which?] of the ruling British government before being disbanded in 1952.[11]

The current Abhinav Bharat was founded in 2006 by Ramesh Upadhyay[3][4] and lieutenant-colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit.[5][12] 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.[13]

Relationship with Sangh Parivar groups[edit]

Sangh Parivar representatives have distanced themselves from Abhinav Bharat (AB).[14] Praveen Togadia, the former head of the VHP, fears that Abhinav Bharat is diverting radicals from the VHP, from where much of the Abhinav Bharat membership originates.[15] Abhinav Bharat has also been accused of plotting to kill senior RSS leaders, including RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat, who the Sangh Parivar thought wan't doing enough for Hindutva.[16][17]

The Caravan conducted interviews of Swami Aseemanand to publish an exclusive profile,[18] in which he named Bhagwat in relation to 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings, Ajmer Dargah attack and Mecca Masjid bombing. Later, Aseemanand called the magazine article "fabricated" and threatened to launch legal action against the article’s author. However, the Caravan defended its report and released tape recordings and transcripts of the interviews.[19][20]The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which investigating Aseemanand, said that he never named any RSS leader during questioning. The RSS, too, has denied the allegations.[citation needed]

Allegations of involvement in bombings[edit]

Following the arrest and investigation of Abhinav Bharat members Swami Aseemanand, Shrikant Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan, Sunil Joshi, and Rajendra Choudhary in connection with the 2006 Malegaon blasts,[21] the organization has been investigated for its alleged role in 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings, Malegaon blasts, Mecca Masjid bombing, Ajmer Sharif Dargah blast and Jalna mosque bomb attack. In all these bombings 147 people were killed.[7][22] 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.[23] 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 3 lakh (US$3,800) from Prasad Shrikant Purohit, a co-founder of the Abhinav Bharat.[5] Furthermore, the Anti Terrorist Squad has clamied that Ajay Rahirkar, the treasurer of Abhinav Bharat, received 10 lakh (US$13,000) from various hawaladars.[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Mirror Explodes: Hindu is a reality, yet India refuses to utter its name". Outlook. 19 July 2010. Archived from the original on 29 November 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  2. ^ Ashraf, Ajaz (2 August 2015). "Dear Rajnath, 'Hindu terror' is exactly the word for Abhinav Bharat extremists". Firstpost.
  3. ^ a b "History of LT COL involved in Bomb Blasts". 2 November 2008.
  4. ^ a b "Who is Shrikant Purohit?". NDTV.com.
  5. ^ a b c "Mutalik used Abhinav Bharat funds for business". The Times of India. 4 February 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  6. ^ Mahan, Rajan (14 April 2009). "Abhinav Bharat under ATS scanner for '07 Ajmer blast". NDTV. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  7. ^ a b Jain, Bharti (27 February 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. (27 October 2008). "Malegaon blast: Focus on new outfits". The Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 3 May 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  10. ^ "Mumbai trust wants Abhinav Bharat to change name". 25 April 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. ^ "10 Facts About Lt Col Purohit, Main Accused In 2008 Malegaon Blast Case". NDTV.com. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  13. ^ Haygunde, Chandan (28 October 2008). "Abhinav Bharat's site shut". The Indian Express. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  14. ^ "Sangh distances itself from Malegaon episode - The Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 8 November 2008. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  15. ^ "Togadia alarmed by Lt-Col's rise? - The Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 7 November 2008. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  16. ^ "Blast accused wanted to kill saffron leaders". Hindustan Times. 21 November 2008. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  17. ^ "Did Abhinav Bharat plan to kill RSS chief? - The Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 28 June 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  18. ^ Leena Gita Reghunath (1 February 2014). "The Believer: Swami Aseemanand's radical service to the Sangh". Caravan. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  19. ^ "Aseemanand threatens to launch legal action against The Caravan". The Hindu. 8 February 2014. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  20. ^ Leena Gita Reghunath (8 February 2014). "Swami Aseemanand interviews". Outlook. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  21. ^ "ATS may arrest Abhinav Bharat leader today". The Times of India. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  22. ^ "Narco test to be carried on Abhinav Bharat activist". The Times Of India. 10 November 2008.
  23. ^ "Abhinav Bharat was 'hijacked' by hardliners: probe". Indian Express. 2 November 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  24. ^ "Malegaon to Mangalore". Indian Express. 28 January 2009.
  25. ^ "Abhinav Bharat treasurer may have received hawala money". The Times of India. 10 November 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2014.