OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS WITH GOVERNMENT OF INDIA REVEAL HOW LT COL SRIKANT PUROHIT BECAME A PAWN IN A MASSIVE INTELLIGENCE GAME OF CIA & ISI TO CREATE THE NARRATIVE OF “HINDU TERROR”
BY RSN SINGH
The creation of a discourse on “Hindu Terror” was a covert operations ploy by USA’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). It was designed for a two-fold purpose – to create a façade of confusion about the real terrorist perpetrators of 26/11 by creating a fog of “Hindu Terror”. The second purpose is an outcome of the first – break the Indian national spirit and depress the Hindu community in India, seed a violent communal civil strife and deeply polarize India.
However, this game of fomenting the concept of “Hindu Terror” in order to keep the majority community divided could not have been played without the collaboration of some anti-national Indian stakeholders in the political, government and institutional set-ups. In this high stakes intelligence game an innocent Indian army officer – Lt Col Srikant Purohit – was made the fall guy.
This article is a revelation of how Lt Col Purohit became a pawn in the hands of Indian collaborators based on official documents that are contained in the confidential files of the Government of India (GoI). Intelligence records available with the GoI reveal that Lt Col Purohit was consistently sending ground reports from Maharashtra on an array of fringe groups, some of whom were sourcing training on a range of militant activities. These confidential documents available with the GoI show that Lt Col Purohit was diligently doing his job as an intelligence officer.
His accurate warnings and intelligence report had already alerted and warned the GoI of trouble brewing in Malegaon. It is important to remember that separately and co-terminus with this timeline, another plan was brewing in Karachi and elsewhere in Pakistan for a terrorist attack on Mumbai. To understand how Lt Col Purohit became a pawn in the hands of those in India, Pakistan and the US to create a narrative of Hindu Terror.
To understand the trajectory of terror from Malegaon to Mumbai 26/11, it is important to keep the following triangular reference frame in mind:
A simple internet search on links between the CIA and ISI throws up more than a million results in less than a second. Let us accept the evidence submitted and accepted in the US Court trial of David Headley and the admissions made by the US Government agencies during the course of this trial. On January 24, 2013 a federal judge in the US sentenced American David Coleman Headley’s to 35 years in prison for his role in organizing scouting missions for the 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai that killed 160 people. (Click here for more details)
During the trial Headley revealed to the Court that the ISI helped Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) execute 26/11 attacks, Further, lawyers during the trial firmly established that Headley was a double agent working for the CIA and ISI. (Click here for more details)
So after years of accumulated evidence, finally, it was a terror related trial in a US Federal Court which established a fact that was already well known to Indian intelligence agencies – That the CIA and the ISI were involved in major covert operations in India.
It is important to remember that in the immediate aftermath of 26/11 initial reports from India suggested that some outfit named “Deccan Mujahideen” had claimed responsibility. However, very quickly this decoy was demolished thanks to the capture of Ajmal Kasab by the brave Mumbai police constable, Tukaram Ombale, and other evidence such as phone intercepts, recovery of weapons and other items including the seizure the boat and dinghy used to by the terrorists to reach the Mumbai coastline.
Imagine if Ajmal Kasab hadn’t been captured alive! One cannot rule out the possibility of the discourse of 26/11 shifting entirely to “Hindu Terror”. Vigorous attempts were anyway made to portray the Mumbai Terror attacks as such.
If these are the two base points of triangular reference frame to understand terrorism in India in the post 9/11 world, the third of this triangle dwarfs all others in its strategic significance. The third point of this isosceles triangle was an ISI covert operation, which was aimed at breaking the spirit of the people of India with the help of Indian collaborators. Its objective was to erase and eliminate the discourse on Islamist and Jehadi terror and replace that discourse with a narrative of “Hindu Terror”.
The strategic design was to create a new terror calculus to change the discourse on terrorism in India and by doing so make the majority Hindu community feel humiliated and lose self-respect. This would have facilitated the creation of an unquestioned space for the insertion of a countervailing narrative to cover up all Islamist Jehadi terror attacks as “Hindu terror”.
The circumcenter of this Isosceles of Terror was intended to neutralize and de-legitimize Pakistan’s role as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in India. Therefore, it is imperative to focus on the prevailing terrorism related discourse in India from 2000 till date. Click here for an exhaustive list of terrorist attacks outside Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Northeast since 2000.
Some of those terrorist attacks which led to the framing of a particular narrative – that of “home grown terror” and “Hindu terror” – are mentioned briefly below:
- 2003 – Most terrorist attacks, some four of them, were in and around Mumbai. It would be pertinent to recall that the present genre of terrorist discourse orchestrated by Pakistan began with the 1993 bombings of Mumbai.
- 2005 – There were two attacks at Jaunpur in UP and Delhi. Pakistan sponsored terror thus made its eastward journey.
- 2006 – Terrorism having spread its tentacles in the national capital and in the east, was in a position to simultaneously target both Varanasi and Mumbai. Amongst the three attacks that year, the one at Malegaon in September has generated lot of controversy. At that time there was no hint or mention of the phenomenon called ‘Hindu Terror’. The ATS had picked up operatives of SIMI and the DGP of Maharashtra vouched for their involvement in blasts in a press conference (unabashedly rescinded by his successors some years later to keep in sync with political imperatives of ‘Hindu Terror).’ This was a period when Pakistan sponsored terrorism was seeking newer areas and newer avenues.
- 2007 – This was the year that jihadi terrorism made its footprints in southern part of India. There were two blasts in Hyderabad within a span of three months. It also made inroads into Rajasthan by way of blasts in Ajmer in the month of October. Delhi as discussed earlier had already been targeted in 2005 and terror made its journey northwards. In February, the Samjhauta Express was targeted near Panipat (Haryana). Terror subsequently moved further north and in October there were blasts in a movie theatre in Ludhiana.
- 2008 – The growing tentacles of jihadi terror in west, centre, north, east and south manifested themselves in this year. The terrorists that year had a crowded schedule, i.e. January – Rampur (east); May – Jaipur, July – Bangalore, Ahmedabad, September – Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Mumbai 26/11.
The trajectory, design and pattern of growth is evident for any analyst who retains his objectivity. India by end of 2008 was geographically circumscribed by Pakistan sponsored jihadi terror. Mumbai followed by Delhi were the worst victims. Maharashtra had become the most radicalized and communally sensitive state of India. It may be recalled that in these years, there was one particular party ruling the state. In 1993 as well, when India experienced the first wave of jihadi terror, it was the same party that was at the helm.
In the reckoning of this political party, Pakistan sponsored terrorism and its resultant radicalization in India was undermining its very existence. Something had to be desperately invented to counter this terror narrative. Therefore, so-called ‘Hindu Terror’ had to be invented. It is not mere coincidence that even when the phenomenon of Hindu Terror had been invented, a prime ministerial aspirant, as per WikiLeaks, told the American Ambassador that he was more concerned about ‘Hindu Terror’ rather than ‘jihadi terror’. An English television channel and an English newspaper were also recruited for the purpose. The said channel ran a totally effete, rather motivated story on Hindu groups targeting the Vice-President. Nobody has taken the channel to Court nor have the so-called conspirators so far been prosecuted, and the said newspaper known to entirely survive on yellow journalism, have not been taken to task.
India’s most incisive, irreproachable and dedicated analyst late B Raman, former Additional Secretary R&AW, questioned the very basis of ‘Hindu Terror’ and declared it ‘motivated’. The anti-nationals in the country lampooned him. His stand was ascribed to his desire to acquire a sinecure from a possible new government. It was only when the attacks got vicious that Raman with great anguish had to say that the only sinecure left for him was in the kingdom of God as he was in the terminal stages of cancer.
In all these years Mumbai and Maharashtra had been nurtured as nursery of terror through incessant dose of terrorism and jihadi terror discourse. The ISI and the Dawood gang had colluded towards this. By the year 2008, jihadi terror had consumed the entire country and Maharashtra had emerged as the meeting point of jihadi terror and politics. Politicians in Maharashtra began to dabble into the terror discourse for monetary inducements and vote-bank politics.
It is in this backdrop that Lt Col Purohit operated as an intelligence officer in Devlali, Nasik. The unremitting terrorist attacks all over the country had outraged the country. Indians were confounded regards the motive of such attacks by the ISI through its agents in India. The religious factor was overwhelming. Polarization of Indians along religious lines was ineluctable outcome. This polarization was like the death-knell for some political parties. Unable to bridle Pakistan based jihadi organisations, they looked for the simplest solution, i.e. inventing Hindu Terror.
The government in Maharashtra where Chief Ministers were removed and installed from Delhi at whim came in handy to prepare the ground for Hindu Terror.
Lt Col Purohit like a competent intelligence officer infiltrated all religious organizations (Hindu and Muslims) overt and covert. Feeding him inside information on the activities of these organizations was one Sudhakar Chaturvedi. This author has proof to substantiate that Lt Col Purohit reported about all organizations to his higher headquarters. He was later castigated for his alleged association with Abhinav Bharat. He had reported about its activities and sent a copy of the entire literature of the organization of which there was nothing covert. These are all on record. Now, only a sinister or obtuse mind can accuse an Intelligence Officer of linkages with an organization about which he is reporting. Lt Col Purohit had also successfully infiltrated SIMI. In his letter to the Prime Minister dated 31 May 2014, he writes: “Sir, that the same ATS (which arrested him) and Maharashtra Police had invited me to impart training to them on subjects of SIMI and ISI, and letters to that effect were addressed to me and to my higher headquarters.”
Lt Col Purohit moved to Army Education Corps School, Panchmarhi for a three years Arabic language course in 2007. The following year, 2008 witnessed the highest number of terrorist attacks all over the country. Nearly a dozen attacks before 26/11 had sent jitters in a particular political segment. For the sake of very survival of this segment, it had to do something immediately to counter jihadi terror. Politics subverted country’s security. There was a dying desperation to create ‘Hindu Terror’. 26/11 was planned as a ghastly plot of that terror.
Even before 26/11, there were sinister attempts on part of the ISI and their political collaborators in India to raise organizations with Hindu names, but for the purpose of jihadi terror. The objective of these organizations was to drive wedge in the majority community and wean away segments for partnership with jihadi terror. This tactic has also been adopted by the Popular Front of India (PFI) entrenched in Kerala and some other parts in South.
Lt Col Purohit and his intelligence detachment had reported about such organizations in detail to the higher-ups. This was at a time when the specter of Hindu terror was not even germinate amongst Indians. Now sample the reports on these organizations.
- Shiv Dharma: In 12 Jan 2005, Mr. —— (Hindu name) came up with a brilliant idea by launching the “Shiv Dharma”. This organization was established at a village Sindhked-Raja in Buldhana district. The aim of this religion is no caste/religion only a Shiva Dharma. The new religion is polished form of Islam wherein the Hindu Maratha ladies are not allowed to wear the “Mangala Sutra”, the Sindhur on forehead and the hair partition. It is noticed that the organization is opposite of Brahmins caste, the organization published various types of literature time to time and distribute in locales. It further denounces the idol worshiping and propagates destruction of Hindu idols. On this very day a Military wing of the organization was launched by this religion is called ‘Sambhaji Brigade’. In 12 Jan 2005, the religion also launched a ladies wing called ‘Jijau Brigade’, the aim of the brigade is to safeguard the action of the mother organization. The brigades are used as a fighting force of organization. The cadre of the brigade is majority of Muslims and Neo Buddhist (Backward class).
- “Maratha Seva Sangh: was raised by Mr. — (Hindu name) by splitting from “Maratha Maha Sangh” in year 1991. The organization was formed to safeguard to Maratha Muslims and OBC, BC, ST and other caste in Maharashtra. The aim of the organization to upgrade low level caste, the organization allowed membership to all caste except Brahmins in Maharashtra.
- Sambhaji Brigade: is supposedly having very strong link with SIMI. One Mr —- (Hindu name), a senior leader of this organization has come out openly with a statement saying that the funding is done by SIMI.
- Political Angle: This unification of Neo Buddhists, backward Christians and Muslims has gained some political importance too. On 8 February 2006, a closed door meeting was organized at Pune which was attended by (name being withheld, the individual is an old regional satrap). It was decided that the three castes of Maharashtra i.e. Maratha, Mahar and Muslims in the state so as to have a strong political front. The ‘regional satrap’ (as mentioned) has a motive to join the alliance of … (another regional satrap of UP)……”
From the above, it can be clearly inferred that there was a diabolical plan to carryout jihadi terrorist activities within India through terrorist organizations ostensibly with Hindu labels. Karkare was very much aware about these organisations. The ATS that he headed was very much in the loop.
Nevertheless, this plan reached its acme and manifested in 26/11. The dozen terror attacks in 2008 had jolted the edifice of some political parties. 26/11 was an act of desperation to create ‘Hindu Terror’. The collusive ISI network within India was activated. Mumbai was attacked. More than 160 people lost their lives. India was shaken. For Indians it was not mere terrorism but attack by Pakistan. They were bewildered that why the perpetrators and the participants had taken such great care to portray the attack as ‘Hindu Terror’. The participants were taught Hindi painstakingly and sported the sacred thread like many Hindus on their wrists. Ajmal Kasab was caught, but for whom the perpetrators and the colluders had nearly succeeded in their diabolical plan of fabricating 26/11 as an act of ‘Hindu Terrorists’.
This plan suffered from major drawback with regard to the ‘credulity factor’. To create the necessary credible environment for Indians to accept the phenomenon of ‘Hindu Terror’ something had to be done. Just two months away from 26/11 the Malegaon blasts of September 2008, carried out under the nose of and with the full knowledge of some higher ups in the then Government of India, was part of that preparation. A lady in saffron and an Indian Army Officer were picked up for their involvement in the blast. This was done deliberately to create very powerful symbols to neutralize the visualization of jihadi terror for public consumption and sell ‘Hindu Terror’ to unsuspecting Indians!
It did not matter that Purohit was away from Devlali and Maharashtra for more than a year. The others who were picked up along with Lt Col Purohit were his ‘sources’. In intelligence parlance and practice, sources are cultivated to provide information which are processed into intelligence. For any intelligence professional, the identities of these sources are sacred and are protected all through, even after retirement. The Maharashtra ATS and some subverted elements within the Indian Army sold their conscience to their political masters and apprehended the same sources that were providing the critical information to the Military Intelligence detachment at Devlali. These registered sources were utilized effectively by even the successor of Lt Col Purohit between 2007 and 2008. One such source was Sudhakar Chaturvedi.
Lt Col Purohit in his letter to the Prime Minister writes: “… two days before my official arrest and 17 days before the arrest of Chaturvedi, both Maj. … and Subedar Pawar had caught one ATS Assistant Police Inspector namely Shekhar Bagade planting evidences at Chaturdevi’s house. He was caught red-handed by these two witnesses and on getting caught the unscrupulous officer even pleaded with folded hands not to report his presence at Chaturvedi’s house to anyone, as it would create lot of problems… API Bagade’s presence and planting of evidence at Chaturvedi’s house on November 03, 2008… was reported by Maj. … to all his seniors in Devlali and also to Headquarters Southern Command Pune.”
The above submission by Lt Col Purohit is a statement of fact supported by various documents. Moreover and importantly it is also a question whether dedicated and upright Indian army personnel who were consistently sending intelligence reports from the ground should be believed or the crooks who fabricated ‘Hindu Terror.’
Till today, even after six years, there is no charge-sheet against Lt Col Purohit. It may never be so because untruth after all has a lifespan and lies have limited shelf life.
How destiny will deal with Lt Col Purohit is another matter, but those who were part of the conspiracy to fabricate ‘Hindu Terror’ must now be investigated. The network runs into the Indian Army as well. The kingpin appears to be another Colonel, who dubiously handed over Lt Col Purohit to Maharashtra ATS. This author has learnt from many sources about the brazen boast of this Colonel of manhandling another colleague Purohit ‘till his own hands were swollen’. It is also learnt that the ATS, to begin with was very courteous in dealing with Purohit, but subsequently prodded by the Colonel they too meted barbaric treatment. All this was happening with the cultivated indifference of an Army Chief, who had no qualms in sacrificing Purohit for ingratiating himself to the anti-national dispensation. The network of ‘Hindu Terror’ industry theory also comprised a politician and a former editor of Urdu newspaper. This editor despite the set-back caused by Kasab persisted with his book, “26/11: RSS ki Sajish” and the said politician went all the way to Mumbai to release it. The same politician who bragged about unauthorized and illegal disclosures made to him by Karkare on matters of Hindu terror. All these claims were made by this politician after Karkare’s martyrdom. Clearly, apart from the terrorists, for many others, a living Karkare was suicidal. It did not matter to the plotters that Ajmal Kasab had spoilt their script. Another former police officer persisted with his book “Who killed Karkare?”
The connection between ISI, political collaborators within India and LeT was quite evident when a Cabinet Minister alleged the existence of Hindu Terrorism only to rescind later. But by then it had served Pakistan’s agenda. Hafiz Sayed congratulated the said minister for admitting the existence of Hindu terrorism. Hafiz Sayed went to the extent of demanding drone attacks on the hindu terror camps in India.
Now that the script has been unraveled, will this grateful nation honour its patriot Lt Col Purohit by honourably releasing him and restoring his dignity? His lost years can only be compensated by bringing the perpetrators of 26/11 and the fabricators of ‘Hindu Terror’ to gallows. The GoI must reveal all the intelligence reports dispatched by Lt Col Purohit in the Court of law where he is being tried. Questions must be asked in the Court on how an army officer who did his job well and was consistently sending accurate intelligence report got framed under a terror charge.
If there is evidence against Lt Col Purohit then charges must be pressed against him. Or else he must be acquitted immediately with his full honour restored. Similarly, the intelligence reports sent by him to the higher ups in the GoI should also be made public in the national interest so that India’s highly respected and independent judiciary and the public at large is made aware of this conspiracy.
(RSN Singh is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research & Analysis Wing. The author of two books: Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and Military Factor in Pakistan, he is also a Guest Blogger with Canary Trap. The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Canary Trap or any employee thereof)