Why the Assault on the Army Chief?


Ever since Maj Gogoi successfully rescued the team of election officials and associated security personnel from murderous gathering of blood thirsty stone pelters, and ever since the Indian dispensation has cracked down on Pakistan nurtured Hurriyat thugs, the liberal network of jihadi and Maoist backers are on an overdrive.

The Army Chief’s ‘military patriarch’ gesture of awarding commendation card to Maj Gogoi for his ingenuity and cold courage demonstrated under testing circumstances and complex security environment further unnerved the so-called liberal brigade.

To them it did not matter that the officer had saved democracy, the ultimate guarantor of liberty and freedom, and that too without the cost of a drop of blood. It is probably the rescue of democracy in Kashmir that rattled the liberals. After all, jihadis and leftists masquerading as liberals, are known to participate in democratic process, to wreck democracy from within for capture of the State.

To them the Indian Army is a robust obstacle against realizing their objective even with the support of China, Pakistan and certain quarters in the Western world. Other vested interests have been feeding into the jihadi-maoist (liberals) combine, impelled by strategic and economic agenda of their patron countries.

A typical specimen of the economic agenda is the issue of cow slaughter. The motivation of liberals is not ‘freedom to eat’ or ‘freedom to meat’. Their stimulus for protests is money from the Western world and countries which unabashedly sponsors jihad. These are therefore paid protests. They are paid because it concerns the food security of the patron countries whose ‘food basket’ in terms of variety and spread of edibles is very poor and therefore have to depend on ‘packaged’ food and beef imports.

Some years ago on a visit to Dhaka, I was bewildered by the fact that every time tea was served, it was accompanied not with normal milk but condensed milk. I reckoned that it must be a novelty extended to official guests like me. Nevertheless, I could not resist my curiosity and inquired from the mess service boy about such emphasis on condense milk. He said that fresh milk was exorbitant in the country, since most cattle of no-milk yield or little yield are consumed as meat. He significantly added that if cattle smuggling from India were to cease, religious festivals would be bereft of festivities.

The stakes are therefore very high and hence both the legal and illegal beef industry cannot survive without soliciting the industry of politicians and so called ‘liberals’ in India. They come in handy in giving the affair a communal, caste and intellectual twists.

The liberals brazenly disregard environmental issues in their protest against beef ban. It is an established fact that the water footprints of a kilo of beef is at least ten times more than say a kilo of wheat or rice. Environment and human rights are two vectors that the liberals employ to destabilize India. It is diabolical, for how can communists who are Godless be sensitive to nature and humans. Moreover, it is said that you can judge the size of a man’s heart by the way he treats animals.

For the liberals i.e. apologists and ideologues for jihadis and maoists, nothing is outrageous, nothing too shocking and nothing unassailable, even the idea and territorial integrity of India. But, when it comes to China and the role of PLA in Tibet and Tiananmen Square or China’s aggression against India in 1962, or China’s support to naxalites or support to insurgents or millions of killings during cultural revolution or lack of free speech and human rights in that country, there is deafening silence.

Mao’s cultural revolution is a perfect mirror of the murderous proclivities of the communists. The same China today is obsessed with showcasing its past and continuity of civilization. A essential attendance for foreign tourists are the thirteenth century Hakka villages that enclose massive and high circular houses, built of wood and mud, containing several floors. Apart from economic imperatives, the One Belt One Road (OBOR) project is also an aggressive diplomatic bid to reclaim, reconfigure and emphasize the civilization connections via the ancient Silk Route through which trade, ideas and religion travelled.

Just as China, Indian civilization too is formidable in terms of continuity and reach. Its influence and soft power ran across Southeast Asia, Far East, Central Asia and even China. An herculean effort was made by Art of Living organization to invoke and reclaim India’s soft power links and civilizational influence. Indonesia boasts of an ideal blend of its pre-Islamic past and Islamic present. Thailand and Cambodia too have retained some very powerful narratives and symbols from their Hindu past.

Millions of Koreans are proud descendants of Princess Suriratna of Ayodhya who married the Korean king in 48 AD. A mammoth World Cultural Festival was organized on the auspicious banks of the Yamuna in March 2016. More than 150 countries participated. It was indeed a civilizational assertion for India, after more than thousand years of slavery, because this cultural world stage had India’s centrality and underpinning.

The communists or leftists in the garb of activists at behest of the Pakistani and Chinese masters employed every sinister means to sabotage the event. Activists of all hues, unknown commodities till then, having dubious financial links, sprang up like monsoon frogs and abused the event with environment as the vector. This is how China and other inimical forces contest and control the strategic environment in their favour. Then the same activists then went on to criticize India’s refusal to attend the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) meet held recently in China wherein 29 Heads of State and representative of 40 other countries participated.

These activists are very anxious to share Xi Jinping’s ambition of propelling China to the centre stage of global power game at the cost of India.

Internationalism has been the core ideology of Indian communists. In his book Indian Struggle Subash Chandra Bose says: “Communism today has no sympathy for nationalism in any form and the Indian movement is a Nationalist Movement.” In the year 1925 during the first meet of Indian communists at Kanpur, a key leader by the name of Satyabhakta was hounded because he had temerity to insist that the communism in India should have nationalism as the primary impulse. The meet witnessed hostile debates whether the party be named Indian Communist Party or Communist Party of India. The nationalists were intimidated, the internationalists prevailed, the latter name was adopted. The internationalists argued that communism could not be contained within territorial confines.

The jihadis concept of Ummah are imbued with similar interpretation of Islam. To the Indian communists the vector of internationalism for many years served the Soviet Union and even more faithfully continues to serve China and its strategic ally Pakistan. The Chinese masters of Indian communists do not share or display the same enthusiasm on internationalism.

Ramchandra Guha was invited to a seminar in southern China and his observations on Chinese participants in his book ‘Democrats and Dissenters’ is a telling commentary on the issue of “internationalism vs nationalism”. He observes: “The conference I attended in southern China was more representative. The scholars came from all parts of the country. In age they ranged from the early thirties to the late sixties. Some had university positions, some party affiliations, some were genuinely freelance. What conclusions might I draw from my (unusual) experience? First, the scholars I met and listened to all loved their country deeply. The words normally used to convey this love, namely ‘nationalism’ and ‘patriotism’, have unfortunately acquired pejorative connotations in India. Our intellectuals are embarrassed to profess a love for their country. Indian leftists do often identify with a single country — but this not India. Once it was Russia, then China, still later Cuba or Vietnam and most recently Venezuela. (The death of Hugo Chavez may prompt a search for fresh fatherland).”

As per the CIA released documents, the extent to which Indian communists look for direction from Russia and China was amazing and that to at the cost of subordinating India’s national interests at the altar of a dubious ideology. As per the document: “In Feb 1958, an official of Soviet Embassy contacted CPI to renew the request to setup an underground organization… In Feb 1959, Ajay Ghosh in his report to the Central Executive Committee said that China and Russia insisted that the CPI must develop a standby operator capable of armed resistance while intensifying penetration of Indian Military forces.” Significantly, the CPI did proceed to recruit a secret organization within the Indian Army. In April 1959, Ranadive met the Chinese leader and offer ‘CPI support to China on Tibet’ as per the report.

A reference has been made to Mani Shankar Aiyar, the spearhead of the liberal brigade in favour of Pakistan and its proxy Hurriyat, by Sanjay Baru in his book ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’. Sanjay Baru says, “Once in a flight with the PM in an Air Force aircraft, Mani Shankar Aiyar was holding forth on the problems of the nuclear deal… in this flight he said that he was a proud communist, who would rather have the old Soviet Union than befriend the US. I had to tell the outspoken Congressman that if he were a minister in the Stalin’s cabinet then the Officials, who would have been my equivalent, Stalin’s media advisor, would have simply opened the door and pushed him out. I reminded him that he felt secure, criticizing the PM on the PM’s official aircraft because Dr Manmohan Singh …was not a dictator.”

See how the liberals in India have furthered the strategic cause of China and its proxy Pakistan over the years. As a consequence of Indo-Pak war in 1947-48 Pakistan came into illegal possession of a part of J&K. Subsequently, following the 1962 Indo-War Pakistan ceded 5000 sq km territory to China in Gilgit-Baltistan.

The communists in India did not upbraid China for aggression in 1962, nor did they condemn Pakistan and China of misappropriating 5000 sq km territory belonging to India. Without this territory, there would have been no direct geographical interface between Pakistan and China, consequently the Karakoram highway and road from Kasghar in Xinjiang to Islamabad would not have been possible, and now the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would have been inconceivable.

The CPEC as part of Belt Road Initiative runs through PoK (Indian territory) which India considers illegal as it violates its sovereignty. The Chinese are rather nervous of the Indian position because an unsettled territory leaves a huge question mark on the long term legality and security of the project with an enduring strategic proposition and massive economic investment.

In his book ‘The China-Pakistan Axis’, Andew Small writes: “Plans for an economic corridor running from China through Pakistan to the Middle-East and beyond are not new. As long ago as the 1960s, Zhau-Enlai had discussed using Karachi as an outlet for rediscovering an ancient trade route lost to modern times not only for trade but for strategic purposes as well.”

China and Pakistan have triggered all their leverages which includes politicians, sections of media and liberals to ensure that the valley continues to simmer so as to ensure that India is kept distracted from PoK and consequently from CPEC. The Hurriyat has critical covert role to play in ensuring that the Kashmir remains intractable. It is for this reason that we see politicians which includes liberal left in a state of frenzy and making a beeline to meet anti-nationals like Geelani.

Demonizing Indian security forces is an external compulsion of the liberals, because it is the security forces that stand between the design of jihadists (Pakistan) and leftists (China) to break India.

Satisfaction and concealed joy over martyrdom of security personnel in engagements with terrorists (jihadis and Maoists) now commonly exceeds into celebrations. The liberals had demonstrated their vicious global network during trial of Binayak Sen as he remains critical to Maoist war on India. Leftist collaborators as European Commission members descended on India to watch his trial in High Court. The Indian liberals not only facilitated the visit but ensured that he is accorded respectability, so he was appointed as member of a health committee of erstwhile Planning Commission. Thus the then Indian establishment sided clearly with the Maoists. The same phenomenon was witnessed prior to hanging of Yakub Memon.

The network of over-ground jihadis and sympathisers was bewildering in terms of their sophisticated veneer and reach. The two ideologies, Jihad and Communism are foreign, hence alien to this land, and hence it is naïve to believe that they could be loyal and benign to India. The leftists in India refuse to answer whether China can now be deemed leftist or rightist. To answer this is a tricky proposition because, leftists and rightists are imported terms and not Indian concepts.

The stakes are high for these anti-nationals i.e. destruction of India’s nation building and exert for building of China’s global hegemony.

(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)

The Malegaon Mystery and its Big Little Lies – Part 2


The second part of the series by veteran investigative journalist, VK Shashikumar, raises difficult questions on the continued imprisonment of Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit’s as an accused in the 2008 Malegaon terrorist bomb attack case. With his customary hard-nosed approach he once again brings into public focus new documents unravelling a disturbing plot to severely undermine the apolitical institutional stature of the Indian Army and the morale of its soldiers and officers.

The Sadhvi & The Soldier

The National Investigation Agency on May 13, 2016 exonerated Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur in the September 29, 2008, Malegaon bomb blast case that left six persons dead. The Sadhvi was an accused along with Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Purohit in the case. The NIA states in the supplementary charge sheet filed in the special court trying Col. Purohit and others: “The evidence on record against her is not sufficient to prosecute her as all the witnesses have retracted their statements. Thus, no case is made out against her.”

This conclusion by NIA surfaces several difficult questions – If this holds true for the Sadhvi, then why is the soldier still in prison? Is Col. Purohit’s continued imprisonment on account his sustained intelligence inputs on terror-related activities of extremist Hindu organizations much before the Malegaon blasts and its aftermath?

There is an outrage in the country over attacks on Indian army personnel serving in conflict zones. Videos of Indian citizens spontaneously applauding and appreciating Indian army soldiers are going viral. During the days of cash crunch last year after demonetization was announced, those frustrated of standing in long queues outside ATMs and banks were consoled by fellow citizens citing the hardships faced by soldiers on India’s borders.

But why isn’t there any outrage over Col. Purohit’s suspicious and continued imprisonment? On May 13, 2016 the NIA also charged the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of planting evidence (RDX traces) against Col. Purohit to frame him in the Malegaon blast case. So, if the charges against the Sadhvi have been dropped, then why aren’t the charges against Col. Purohit being dropped as well? Why is he incarcerated without trial for his alleged involvement in cases involving Hindu terror groups when the cases of accused belonging to such groups seem to be floundering?

On 27 September 2009, a year after the Malegaon blasts, an ‘Action Taken Report’ was dispatched to BGS (Int), Southern Command. The following excerpts from the report clearly vindicate the consistent stand taken by Col. Purohit that as an intelligence officer he was only doing his job as tasked by his superiors. That he had infiltrated extremist Hindu groups which were keen to carry out terror activities to avenge attacks of Muslim terror groups and that after successfully embedding himself in such groups; he was constantly feeding intelligence information to his superiors as per the established chain of command.

On 14 October 2008 the following report was received from Col. Purohit by 3 Det SCLU, military intelligence unit in Deolali, Nashik:

“A Sadhvi named Ms Pragya Singh Thakur may have been involved in the 29 September 2008 Malegaon bomb blast. The lady drives a LML Freedom motorcycle. This motorcycle was reportedly used in the blast. It was likely that police was on the trail of the lady.”

Two days before Col. Purohit’s input was received telephonically by the 3 Det, SCLU (Southern Command Liaison Unit), the ATS had “reportedly picked up/detained the Sadhvi.”

The action taken report states that the information was shared by 3 Det SCLU with Dr. Sukhwinder Singh, DIG, ATS on October 15, 2008. He indicated that the Sadhvi had been “picked up” and “operations were on in the general area Malegaon and Surat.”

In fact, the ATS’s charge sheet against the Sadhvi was anchored on her ownership of the LML Freedom motorcycle which was rigged with explosives to carry out the blasts. But the NIA charge sheet rubbished the ATS version by claiming that she had handed over the motorcycle to Ramchandra Kalsangra, an absconding accused, almost two years before the blasts. The NIA further said that the charge that she attended a meeting in Bhopal to plot the Malegaon blasts could not be proved because two witnesses, Yashpal Bhadana and R P Singh, retracted their statements about her presence at the meet.

In spite of the embarrassingly wide divergence between the two charge sheets filed in the court by two different agencies – Maharashtra ATS and the NIA – there is no doubt in the minds of the police investigators or intelligence sleuths that Col. Purohit knew Sadhvi Pragya quite well.

Therefore, it should not come as a surprise when a military intelligence memo eight years ago affirmed that Col. Purohit knew the Sadhvi and that he had indeed met her in Bhopal and Jabalpur. The action taken report dated 27 September 2009 clearly states that he had shared details of his meeting with the Sadhvi.

“The areas mentioned by Lt. Col. Purohit where he supposedly met Sadhvi in person before i.e. Bhopal and Jabalpur are outside own AOR (Area of Responsibility). Thus, details regarding meeting and the background of Sadhvi could not be corroborated in the immediate time frame.”

The military intelligence unit’s assessment in 2009 further acknowledges:

“The officer most likely knew that the police investigation was leading towards the Sadhvi’s trail…The officer had reportedly met the Sadhvi on his own accord more than twice as confirmed by him.”

If the investigating agencies haven’t been able to prove the culpability of the Sadhvi and have exonerated her, then, on what grounds does Col. Purohit continue to be jailed for several years with the trial yet to commence?

When Col. Purohit voluntarily provided inputs on October 14, 2008, just couple of weeks after the Malegaon blasts he was stationed at the Army Education Corps Training College in Panchmarhi. He was learning Arabic as part of his intelligence operations when the police allegedly found and decoded some SMSes that he purportedly sent to an accused after Malegaon blasts. Why aren’t the investigative agencies giving credence to the fact that he already knew that the police was closing in on Sadhvi? Was it because of his successful infiltration of the alleged Hindu terror groups that he was able to glean information even when he at AEC and that if this is indeed accepted, then it might lead to opening of a can of worms?

At this point it must be asked whether the fear in the establishment really is that if he is exonerated, then, that will directly establish what Purohit had been claiming- that he infiltrated the terror group Abhinav Bharat, which allegedly planned and carried out the Malegaon blasts and that he kept all his seniors in the army informed about his activities.

Recent media reports citing affidavit filed by the Ministry of Defence validate Col. Purohit’s consistent plea of just doing his job and keeping his seniors updated and informed. In the last few days media reports suggest the MoD informed the court that Col. Purohit informed his superiors about all his source meetings. “The appellant had informed about the meetings prior to and immediately after the meetings to his superiors in that unit.

Col. Purohit has been tireless in his effort to seek bail and while doing so submitted numerous letters of appreciation from his superiors in the Army. The Nashik police also appreciated him for his work and effective coordination during his tenure as an Army intelligence officer in the region.

Several army officers who have worked with Col. Purohit during his tenure in the Maratha Light Infantry and later in military intelligence have publicly dismissed charges against him as false. Recently, Colonel S.S. Raikar affirmed in a public meeting that the charge that Col. Purohit stole 60 kg of RDX from the army is a fabrication. This has, anyway, been confirmed by the NIA in its supplementary charge sheet. The NIA’s investigation suggests that RDX traces were planted as an evidence to frame Col. Purohit.

Col. Purohit’s counsel Shrikant Shivade submitted official records of from the Army to prove that his client did not and could have illegally shipped out RDX from Jammu and Kashmir during his tenure there between 2002 – 2004. Shivade has also repeatedly emphasized during the hearings of the special court that his client was merely interested in doing his job of “generating intelligence” in accordance with the protocols associated with his job. His superiors were not only aware of his intelligence gathering activities, but were also regularly updated by him officially.

At the end of the heaviness of an inescapable reality is that its increasingly becoming a moral load to bear for soldiers and officers of the Indian Army. Why is an officer in prison for doing his job, when charges against other accused are dropped?

More important, why on earth would Col. Purohit implicate himself in a crime he did not commit?

(VK Shashikumar is an investigative journalist and a strategist. 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)

Remove Article 370 to salvage Kashmir from Al Qaeda


For some years now, the Kashmir Valley has been witnessing the most sleazy and abysmal form of jihad by way of ‘stone pelting’. The youth of Kashmir have been robbed off their ability and manliness to cut or chisel rocks for building of society and India. For this they must depend on the labour from outside the Valley. It is this labour which has created the recent Chenani-Nashri Tunnel linking Jammu with the Valley.

Weaned on Wahhabi or Salafi Islam, the life of youth in the Valley is self-destructive. Every stone that is hurled at the security personnel is also a hit on Kashmiriyat and ancestors of the stone-pelters. A segment of the population which treats its geography and history as its enemies, is certainly in the brink of destruction.

If conversion to another religion manifests in hatred for inherited ancestors and ethnicity, surely then security analysts must reflect on those streams of religion which cause ‘terrorism’ and lead to the phenomenon of self-destruction and suicide bombers. The stone-pelting facet of terrorism in the Valley has been the consequence of years of religious ferment. The whole country was aware of this ferment, the Kashmiri Hindus even suffered on that account, and yet we never had the intellectual courage to confront it. It is possible that probably the non-Muslims of India did not exercise their intellect on the study of various schools of Islam like Wahhabi, Salafi and Deobandi.

Kashmiriyat was killed in the Valley the day half a million Hindus were terrorized to leave their ancestral homeland and compelled to become refugees in their own country. The Kashmiri Hindus were the last the most tenuous historical link between the Kashmiri Muslims and the Kashmiri Hindus, between the Valley and the Kashmiriyat.

The demographic purge of the Kashmiri Hindus from the Valley was in accordance with a devious and sinister jihadi strategy. The ghettoization of the Valley had been going on for very long. Wahhabi and Salafi ideologies had been consuming the state for many years through the aegis of Madrasas and Mullahs. Ironically, most of these vicious Mullahs belonged to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The Mullahs from these states were also primarily responsible for partition of India and creation of Pakistan.

Once Kashmiriyat was killed and requisite radicalization effected, it became easy for Pakistan-based jihadi organizations like LeT, JeM and HM to spread their tentacles.

There should be no doubt that all jihadi organizations active in Pakistan and India, rather the subcontinent, like the LeT, JeM, HM, IM, JMB or even Islamic State, are linked one way or the other with Al Qaeda. Since the Arab jihadis of Al Qaeda find it difficult to operate in the Indian subcontinent, it has outsourced the responsibility to organizations like LeT to conduct jihad in India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Maldives. There are reports to suggest that the organization and structure of Islamic State in the Af-Pak region was established jointly by the ISI and LeT in Peshawar. Sources have also revealed that the Islamic State cadres are operating from the barracks of Frontier Corps in Balochistan.

The subcontinent connection of Islamic State with organizations like LeT, as also the Indian connection has been underscored by a Hindustan Times report dated 19-Apr-2017 in which it has been revealed that the GBU-43B Ordnance, euphemistically referred as Mother Of All Bombs (MOAB), used by the US in Achin district of the eastern province of Nangarhar, Afghanistan had taken toll of nearly 100 militants of which 13 were Indian recruits. It also included two commanders from India, i.e. Mohammad and Alla Gupta. Amongst the killed, was also an LeT commander Sheikh Waqas.

Writing on the significance of Al Qaeda for the jihadi groups, Vahid Brown and Don Rassler in the book ‘Fountainhead of Jihad’ maintains: “In the sense used by Al Qaeda, jihad has come to mean universal privatized, volunteer, militarism in asymmetrical conflict with globally distributed enemy. This phenomenon – also known as ‘global jihadism’ – arose in large part due to initiative of two famous Arab supporters of anti-Soviet mujahideen Abdullah Azam and Osama Bin Laden.” Hafiz Saeed treats Abdullah Azam as his mentor and Guru.

The affinity between Osama Bin Laden and the Pakistani military is well known. Most jihadi organizations in Pakistan and India are beholden to the Al Qaeda for finances and global reach. The Al Qaeda and its affiliate Islamic State are particularly known for their ability to produce some of the most sophisticated jihadi videos for indoctrination and recruitment. It was Osama Bin Laden, who established the Zhawara jihadi training camp in the Af-Pak region. A large number of jihadi leaders in the subcontinent are products of this camp. This camp produced the nucleus of jihadi leadership for waging ‘global jihad’.

It is therefore not surprising that Islamic State flags are displayed outside the mosques in the Valley after Friday prayers.

In overall perspective, the Pakistan military is also a part of the Al Qaeda. The Pakistani affiliates of Al Qaeda of which the military is an intrinsic part consider the US, India and Israel as their sworn enemies. We should not get distracted by the fact that in Syria the Islamic State received covert support from the US and Israel. It is quite usual for countries to provide covert support to one or more terrorist organization for strategic ends. The same applies for jihadi terrorist organizations as well. They are in a very complicated relationship like the linkages between Afghan-Taliban and TTP in the Af-Pak region. This is because of exigencies of survivability and in deference to the regional and the global jihadi agenda. The Pakistani state uses various jihadi groups because of their specific reach and influence in respective geographical areas. Nevertheless, the overall arching organization of global jihad is the ‘Al Qaeda’.

By corollary it can also be said that the separatists, the Hurriyat and mainstream leaders in the Valley are also directly or indirectly part of the ‘Al Qaeda’ network. Arguably, it is for this reason that President Trump ordered the MOAB to be dropped on that specific area of Afghanistan, wherein a warning could be issued to Pakistan for patronizing the Islamic State (Al Qaeda). The MOAB also caused damage to some buildings in the Khurram Agency in Pakistan.

The challenge before the Indian State is to salvage Kashmir Valley from the ideology and depredations of Al Qaeda. We need to create a counter ideology. If Zia-ul-Haq in the late 70s could hijack the Muslims of the Indian Subcontinent towards Arab, i.e. Wahhabi and Deobandi brand of Islam, it would be our intellectual failure to not revert the Indian and Pakistani Muslims to their Indian roots. Zia-ul-Haq while embarking on themWahhabi/Deobandi path had famously said: “If Iran imbibes Indian culture, it will still remain Iran, but if Pakistan retains Indian traditions, it will over time become India.”

The nature of Islam that should impact on India is not the monopoly of Muslims, but it is the responsibility of every Indian to determine. If a particular foreign brand of Islam declares war on India, then it becomes incumbent upon every Indian to crush it.

However in the Valley, there are also Muslims whose hearts beat for Kashmiriyat and for India. In the latest by-election in the Valley, the polling percentage was seven percent. If there was no intimidation by the Al Qaeda and its affiliates, the percentage could have been much more. This seven percent people need to be celebrated. They are the actual braves. If one vote can decide victory and loss in an election, one vote can also be decisive in deciding between democracy and jihadi animalism. By this reckoning seven percent is stupendous.

Last time, when the Valley was ravaged by floods, it was seen that many of the pro-Pakistan elements after collecting the relief material pelted stones on security forces sitting on boats. In contrast, in Shia majority areas, love, affection and gratitude were showered on them. This clearly illustrates that the problem in Kashmir is not political but of religious ideology.

It is the same ideology, which is bent upon dragging Kashmir Valley to the Arab brand of Islam with all its violent shades and manifestations. It may be recalled that when Arab Islam impacted on other superior cultures like Persian, Central Asian or Indian, these regions refused to accept the cultural hegemony of Arab Islam. It is therefore bewildering as to how the cultural richness of Kashmir has given way to Arab Islam.

If people of the Kashmir Valley, who reside in only 7.2 percent of the total area of the state and democratically lord over 93 percent of the area, if the per capita consumption of meat in the Valley is the highest in the world, then, the problem is certainly not political and economic. The main problem is Islamic radicalization by an ‘Al Qaeda State of Pakistan’. Therefore, talking to the separatists or the leaders in the Valley, or Pakistan, will yield ‘no results’ because they are all part of the Al Qaeda.

To re-establish Hindustaniyat and Kashmiriyat, Article 370 needs to be immediately revoked.

(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)

If India does not survive, then who would?


What has conspired in Delhi University (DU) recently is not a matter of ‘freedom of speech’. It is also not a case of ‘intellectual freedom’. Some of the key conspirators are students to whom college degrees have been eluding for several years. In these intervening years, they have been availing facilities and funds provided by the government at the cost of many other more deserving and less privileged young boys and girls. The years that these students have taken in struggle with academics are indicative of their sincerity, character and mental abilities.

Who on this earth would like to listen to eructation’s of such imbeciles in a seminar? These characters have found support from the same teachers who have not been able to bring them to the standards of barely passing the examinations in the stipulated time. These teachers do not carry even a hint of guilt.

What is palpable of these teachers is not their academic learning but their anti-India posturing on various TV channels. Are these teachers only to impart education to those with whom they share ideological affinity? Don’t they have a wider and more sacred responsibility? This criminal compact between subverted teachers and students in the college campuses is wrecking India from within.

The whole DU incident needs to be seen with the prism of national security, which has two vital components, i.e. internal security and external security. In fact, national security is an outcome of the degree of harmony between the two.

To decipher the phenomenon of the student-teacher criminal compact in JNU, Jadavpur, Osmania and now Delhi University, the evolving contours can be traced back to the year 1979. This was the year when the Iranian Revolution took place, this was the year when there was an attack on Mecca and this was the year when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. Consequently formidable jihadi machinery in the name of ‘global jihad’ was assembled by the military-intelligence establishment of Pakistan on the Af-Pak border region. Money and weapons flowed from Saudi Arabia and US respectively.

The then US National Security Advisor Brzezinski is on record to say that he provoked the Soviet Union in doing so. He told the then US President Jimmy Carter that Soviet Union has been given its ‘Vietnam’. Films were produced in the US with the theme ‘Islam versus Communism’. Communist Soviet Union after a long decade of war in Afghanistan had to retreat and the Union collapsed. The jihadis were triumphant. The grand finale of the Cold War was won by jihadis for the US. It could not have been possible without the Saudi money, its Wahhabi ideology and a jihadi president of Pakistan – Zia-ul-Haq. The US strategic interests in Afghanistan waned and it left the field open to the machinations of Pakistan.

It may be underscored that the collapse of Soviet Union was not because of lack of military wherewithal, but due to the jihadi ideology which proved more formidable than Communism.

The communists retreated and the jihadis won in Afghanistan, but these two vicious ideologies struck with vengeance on India. A number of global jihadi groups were unleashed by Pakistan’s military-intelligence establishment on Kashmir. These groups were indeed heady and over-confident after having humbled Super-Power. They reckoned that Kashmir was not more than six months job for the Afghanistan war hardened mujahideens. The Indian Army made them realize that their jihadi fighting prowess may have defeated communist soldiers, but was no match to Indian nationalism. It is then that the military-intelligence establishment of Pakistan embarked on proxy war. Concurrently, communist China revived its own proxy war in form of ‘Maoists’. Subsequently, some European countries and Church organizations also tapped in.

This proxy war has an overwhelming ideological component. A proxy war cannot be without proxies. Consequently proxies were created at various levels. The communists had mastered the art of infiltrating judiciary, academia and the media. In fact, their capture of these institutions was nearly total. Communist parties in mainstream politics cleverly used the Maoists to terrorize Indians in the hinterland especially in mineral rich areas and areas where they could forge a criminal compact with the jihadis and church organizations for de-stablishing India.

The symbiosis of relationship between the mainstream communist parties and the Maoists was evidenced recently when the CPI national executive member Binoy Vishwam paid tribute to top Maoist leaders Kuppu Devraj and Ajitha, who were killed in an encounter in Nilambur Forests on 24-Novembr 2016. He said: “it is the duty of a communist to pay respect to a felled comrade.” He also went on to say that when the left-wing is ruling the state, police should not resort to right-wing attitude.

It is the communists in India, who have created the term ‘right-wing’ to justify their existence and neutralize the ‘nationalists’.

Thus, India has been impacted by two ideologies completely foreign in their import and alien to the Indian soil, i.e. jihadism and Maoism.

This author as a part of government sponsored study project on Maoism travelled through the ‘Red Corridor’. In this study tour, he interacted with the District Magistrate of Gaya, who narrated an incident wherein the Maoists had issued a diktat that only ‘Black Flags’ will be hoisted in all schools on the Independence Day. In one of the schools, a girl of Class-VIII in a fit of reaction pulled down the black flag and hoisted the ‘National Flag’. Her family is missing since then. Was she a ‘right-winger’? Did she not deserve ‘nationalist freedom’ in the school campus? Was she a ‘right-wing’ goon?

The fact of the matter is that all these terminologies, i.e. left-wing, right-wing, communism and socialism are foreign terms, which do not reflect the reality and genius of the Indian land. The word ‘socialism’ was inserted into the preamble of our ‘sacred Constitution’ 25 years later. It may be mentioned that B R Ambedkar had refused to put it in the preamble arguing that it should be best left to the genius of future generations, who may come-up with better political concepts. Ironically, it is these foreign ideologies that are buffeting India.

Indian military thinkers and planners look at Pakistan and China only through the prism of force levels and military capabilities. The ideological component of Pakistan as an ‘Islamic State’ and China a ‘Communist State’ has not engaged their due concern. The attack on the Pathankot airbase was not a military attack, but an ideological attack through jihadis, nurtured in the religious factories of Pakistan which provides an endless supply of suicide-bombers. Similarly, the Chinese are not fighting the war on the borders, but inside the Indian hinterland through the Maoists in all forms. Its manifestation is the ‘Red Corridor’ and over-ground anti-India agitation of the Maoists in some universities of India. No wonder the students at the JNU danced and feasted all night when 73 CRPF soldiers were killed. So much respect for martyrs and martyrdom!

The meeting of Maoists and the jihadis in the universities or the national capital is not incidental. One source, who was in Pakistan, revealed to this author that in a gathering in Karachi, a Pakistani ISI operative, Cheema, unveiled the project of bringing the jihadis and the Maoists together in the national capital. This ISI operative was posted in the High Commission of Pakistan and orchestrated the anti-national drama at the JNU. He was subsequently identified and sent back to Pakistan by the Indian authorities.

The process of forging the nexus between the Maoists and the Jihadis has been going on for some years now. Some of the ISI-operatives based in Bangladesh have confessed as such during their interrogation. It also emerged that Dawood too wanted to tap into this nexus to get a foot-hold in the illegal mining industry.

What is, however, most alarming is the ISI–Maoist criminal nexus to cause large scale casualties on hapless, unsuspecting railway passengers in India. An ISI man Shamshul Hoda, an aspiring politician in Nepal, was one of the key plotters in this regard. He was responsible for the derailment of Indore-Patna Express in which 150 people had died. Later there was also an attempt to blow-up a railway track at Ghorasan in East Champaran District of Bihar. When the bomb failed to explode, two Indian operatives (Maoists with criminal record), were called to Bara in Nepal and killed by Hoda’s men. Such attempts have also been made in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. The conspiracy is linked to Karachi in Pakistan and subsequently it traverses through Dubai, Nepal and into North Bihar. Money, more importantly fake currency, plays a big role in this entire affair. Nepal is thus serving as a nerve center for targeting railways by the ISI-Maoists nexus. It needs to be emphasised that this nexus is being forged under the Maoist dispensation in Nepal.

What India is witnessing in some of the University campuses is the meeting point of two murderous foreign ideologies – jihad and Maoism. Both have traveled to India after spilling rivers of blood through the territories that they traversed. Communism arrived in India after killing nearly two million people in Russia and three million people in China.

When the war between jihad and communism began in Afghanistan, the great Pashtun leader Bacha Khan said: “I can see the rivers of blood flowing across Pakistan and when it reaches India, it would be catastrophic for the region”. When questioned about the logic of including India in his prophecy, he said: “I have seen the violent response of ‘Hindu Baniya’ in retaliation to Mullahs provocation during the partition riots. Violence shall not confine itself to geographical boundaries, but it will travel far and wide and would be impossible to extinguish”.

India can only ignore the murderous ideological component of proxy wars by Pakistan and China at its own peril. As China and Pakistan move from strategic embrace to territorial embrace twin ideological threat is getting increasingly accentuated. Those who need to be immediately confronted are the ones who have taken the English route to jihad and Maoism under the garb of liberals and intellectuals. In India, English speaking jihadis generally masquerade as Communists. Liberty can survive only in secure space. Both the ideologies have killed the liberal space wherever they have held sway.

This author was told by the Collector of Dantewada in Chattisgarh that the Maoists repeatedly destroyed all electric poles erected under the Rajiv Gandhi Vidyutkaran Yojna, because they did not want their captive tribal to be exposed to benefits of electricity and TV. The agenda of Maoists is destruction and not development.

It is therefore the sacred duty of English speaking and non-English speaking patriots to take-on the English speaking shopkeepers of anti-nationalism in this war of ideologies or war of narratives. If India does not survive, then who would?

(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)

Indians against India


Kolkata is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Historically, Kolkata has been the prime impetus of the freedom movement and the cultural renaissance of India. People who sacrificed and suffered most physically and mentally for liberation of India were from West Bengal. They did not necessarily belong to a political party. In fact the non-violent struggle of the Congress for freedom would have been baseless and without context if the aggressive struggle of the Bengalis had not preceded. Without demur they let the Congress’s passive philosophy eclipse them. The motherland was their only motivation. A visit to the cellular jail in Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands is testimony to the sacrifice of the people the state. About 80 percent of the names that the jail walls bear were from West Bengal and overwhelmingly from Kolkata.

It is a tragic commentary that in same Kolkata, in brazen deference to the jihadi groups and the ISI, a seminar on ‘Kashmir and Balochistan’ was not allowed.

Post-independence, for nearly four decades now, nationalism made a wild oscillations towards anti-nationalism in West Bengal. There was a very powerful segment of Communists in Kolkata, who during the 1962 war were preparing for the welcome of Chinese. Later a Communist Chief Minister when asked about the unbridled demographic assault from Bangladesh to India had commented that he does not distinguish between the ‘proletariat’ of India and Bangladesh. This Chief Minister was essentially guided by the internationalist Communist ideology, which is foreign to India. Somewhere down the line, the demographic assault in India from Bangladesh acquired jihadi overtones. To be precise, it began in the beginning of 80s following the commencement of war in Afghanistan between Communist Soviet Union and Jihadis. The narrative of this grand finale of the Cold War was ‘Islam versus Communism’.

It is no coincidence that during this period both Pakistan and Bangladesh had rulers who provided huge rather irrevocable impetus to Jihad. Pakistan was taken over by Zia-ul-Haq and Bangladesh subsequently by Zia-ur-Rahman and Hussain Muhammad Ershad. It is also no coincidence that these three characters in the two countries belonged to the Army and had tenures running nearly parallel, i.e. Zia-ul-Haq (1978-88), Zia-ur-Rahman (1977-1981), Ershad (1982-1990). This significantly was the period of the war in Afghanistan. Also significantly both Zia-ul-Haq and Zia-ur-Rahman died under most mysterious circumstances. Dislodging regimes by manipulating assassinations was very much practiced during the Cold War.

The jihad that we witness impacting from India and Bangladesh began in that period. It was an alien ideology to India. West Bengal has been brutalized by both these imported and alien ideologies i.e. communism and jihad. Consequently, the nationalist constituency in the state has also been brutalized and subjugated. The current dispensation in the state had achieved the feat of dislodging the three decade long Communist rule, which many considered impossible, but it was not without the indulgence of both ultra-leftist (Maoists) and the jihadis of West Bengal and Bangladesh.

It was therefore not at all surprising that a seminar on ‘Kashmir and Balochistan’ slated in Kolkata few days back could not be held. Amongst the participants were reputed Kashmir hands: Maj Gen (Retired) GD Bakshi, Lt Gen (Retired) Ata Hasnain, Sushil Pandit and Balochistan expert Tarek Fateh. The tactic adopted to derail the said event was novel, in that it was officially denied that there was any hindrance, but the organizers were warned against it in no uncertain terms. First, it was indirectly conveyed that Kashmir could not be discussed, accordingly to save embarrassment to guests ‘Kashmir’ was dropped as title. Later, it was conveyed that Balochistan too cannot be discussed and least of all by Tarek Fateh.

The Balochistan issue has acquired unprecedented momentum nationally and internationally after Prime Minister Modi declared his renewed support from the ramparts of the Red Fort. The jihadis do not consider the Balochis as true Muslims. They also feel that the Balochistan issue has a dampening effect on the jihadi discourse in Kashmir. While the Baloch issue is being extensively debated all over India and on television channels, it is only in West Bengal that the jihadi organizations and Pakistan’s ISI could threaten the state government and ensure that no seminar espousing the cause of Balochistan or emotional integration of the Kashmir Valley of India is ever held. As far as Tarek Fateh is concerned, his interpretation of Islamic history has hardly been disputed. What has hurt the jihadis is that his interpretation, an Indian interpretation, insists on centripetal rather than centrifugal forces, meaning which that an Indian Muslim is different from an Arab Muslim or an Afghani Muslim in terms of DNA and culture. His DNA is Indian. DNA is scientific truth. There is however no place for scientific truth in today’s West Bengal.

This is not the first time that Kashmir has reverberated in West Bengal. It may be remembered that recently when the Kashmir separatism had joined hands with the Maoists in JNU, the Jadavpur University in West Bengal, erupted in unison. In fact, there was a sort of competition between the two, as to who can be more virulent in abusing India and the nationalist forces. This again is not incidental. A source has confided with this author that one of the Pakistan Embassy Official Mudassir Cheema, who was expelled from India in 2016 for spying activities, in an informal gathering in Karachi had declared his plans to bring Kashmir separatism to Delhi and other parts of the country by conflating it with Maoism. This Pakistani official was for some time not aware of the presence of this Indian source.

The jihadi slogans in Jadavpur University, calling for separation of Kashmir and splintering of India cannot happen without an indulgent political dispensation. What JNU and Jadavpur underscored was the pan-Indian or rather the sub-continental nature of jihad. For the benefactors and the people wedded to this ideology, the Indo-Pak and Indo-Bangladesh border is incidental. It is the political funding, vote-banks and muscle power-banks that make the politicians beholden to the jihadi organizations.

It is now well documented that most of the jihadi organizations like Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) have relocated into West Bengal after crackdown by the Sheikh Hasina government in Bangladesh. The JMB, which has links with Al Qaeda as well as ISIS, is now thriving under the current dispensation in the state. Sheikh Hasina may have hanged several Jammat-e-Islami (JeI) leaders for their war crimes during the liberation struggle of Bangladesh, but they have found bigger patron in the dispensation of West Bengal. In March 2013, the JeI held a massive rally and decried India for the liberation of Bangladesh. Pro-Pakistan slogans were raised during the rally. During the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, JeI had openly come out in support of the ruling party in the state.

The JeI in Bangladesh is touted as an economy within economy. It runs banks, insurance companies, shopping malls, and other profitable institutes within the country. Allegedly with the crack-down in Bangladesh, the dispensation in West Bengal has been clearly a major beneficiary. In fact, the relationship developed before the elections. In run-up to the Assembly Elections in 2011, the JMB, having its citadel in North-West Bangladesh provided the muscle power. The JMB, which had to contend with the leftists in North-West Bangladesh had strategic reasons for the partnership. As pay back the current dispensation provided bases to the jihadi organizations.

Much of the jihadi industry in West Bengal and Bangladesh thrives on liberal doses of funding from Islamic countries in West Asia, particularly the Wahabis. Also part of the jihadi economy was the huge fake currency network of which West Bengal was a part. It was in the border areas of West Bengal that fake currency was brought from Pakistan and sold to highest bidder. The rates varied from Rs. 20,000 genuine currency for Rs. 1,00,000 of fake currency to Rs. 40,000 for Rs. 1,00,000. This coupled with cattle smuggling was a bonanza for political funding in the state. It was for this reason that political leaders in West Bengal were behaving like zombies when demonetization struck them.

If jihadi terrorism were to be mapped, it would clearly occur that in the entire terror network West Bengal and Bangladesh are the key. While jihadis are identified, indoctrinated and recruited from the north, south, east and west of India, their movement to Pakistan on fake passports is from West Bengal to Bangladesh to Dubai/Saudi Arabia to Pakistan’s Punjab, and finally to training camps in PoK. The journey back is also through the same route. On arrival back in Bangladesh, the jihadis are provided RDX and weapons like AK-47s. Insinuations therefore about imagined Hindu terrorists procuring RDX from Kashmir for Malegaon blasts in 2006 and 2008, as also Samjhauta Express is the poor brainchild of one of India’s biggest English speaking crook who rose to become an influential minister in the UPA government.

For the jihadi network, the territory of Bangladesh is critical as 4,096 km long boundary with India impacts on five states, i.e. Assam (262 km), Tripura (856 km), Mizoram (180 km), Meghalaya (443), and Bengal (2,217 km). In this long Indo-Bangladesh border, West Bengal has an overwhelming share, nevertheless it is this segment of the border that has played havoc with India’s security.

For the moment, one extenuating factor is that Bangladesh and West Bengal regimes are not in consonance with regard to the jihadi agenda. If ever ‘consonance’ becomes a reality, the consequences will be pernicious for India. It is ironical that the governance agenda of the leader of a foreign state is contributing in no small measure to the security of India, but a federal leader of an Indian State is hell-bent on neutralizing all the gains.

This classic example questions the ability of the present nature of Indian democracy and federal setup in meeting security challenges if the federal unit gets subverted and becomes inimical to India. With one new party funded by the ISI is aspiring to rule another border state Punjab. If it becomes a reality, the number of ISI and jihadi backed dispensations in border states would have gone up to three. Hence, the cancellation of seminar on ’Kashmir and Balochistan’ in Kolkata is no small development. It stares at the very integrity of India.

(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)

The Malegaon Mystery and its Big Little Lies – Part 1


This series by veteran investigative journalist, VK Shashikumar, will raise questions on the law enforcement’s investigation of Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit’s alleged involvement in the 2008 Malegaon terrorist bomb attack case. It will bring into public focus new documents unravelling a disturbing plot to severely undermine the apolitical institutional stature of the Indian Army and the morale of its soldiers and officers.

The Abhinav Bharat Plot

In January 2008 the United Progressive Alliance government led by the Congress Party & the then Army Chief, General Deepak Kapoor and the entire Army Chain of Command from the Southern Command Headquarters, Pune to Army Head Quarters, Delhi were presumably aware of the activities of ‘Abhinav Bharat’ and Sudhakar Chaturvedi – Charge Sheeted Accused in Case No. RC – 05/2011/NIA/DLI.

“Photocopy of two pages discreetly recovered from the notepad of Mr. Sudharkar Chaturvedi @Chanakya who is one of the most active members of the group (Abhinav Bharat)…The group is an extremist neo Hindu fundamentalist group with an aim to unite all Hindus and build a pan Hindu identity to establish a new nation order based on principles of Veda” – Confidential Report of 3 Det SCLU, C/0 56 APO

Nine months before the Malegaon improvised explosive device (IED) exploded on September 29, 2008 the Southern Command of the Indian Army and the Army Headquarters received a top-secret confidential memo titled “Hindu Org: Abhinav Bharat”. On 16 January 2008 the 3 Detachment of the Southern Command Liaison Unit (SCLU), Devlali near Nashik, dispatched a letter “Det Letter No. 3073/LU/G”. The content of this letter as a photocopy annexure along with fresh intelligence inputs was dispatched again on October 24, 2008 within a month of the Malegaon blast.

The confidential military intelligence reports in January 2008 and October 2008 attached specific annexures, recovered from covert intelligence operations, including literature on a “Hindu org christened as Abhinav Bharat.”

Here’s an excerpt from the top-secret intelligence briefing:

“It is intimated that a group of self-proclaimed patriots joined hands at the Raigadh Fort in Raigadh, Maharashtra on 12 June 06 to start a movement through an org called Abhinav Bharat to improve the social, economical and security aspects of the nation. Details on the following aspects of Abhinav Bharat are attached as Appx ‘A’”

The confidential memo then goes on to describe in detail the background, founding principles, constitution, rules, agenda of the organization and its plans to build a Hindu Rashtra. The confidential intelligence report dispatched to Southern Command HQ and Army HQ clearly indicates that the 3 Det SCLU had very effectively penetrated Abhinav Bharat through covert operations and was generating actionable intelligence literally from the horse’s mouth.

So, who was this first-hand primary source from whom the 3 Det SCLU was gleaning so much information on the activities of Abhinav Bharat and its links with other Hindu Right Wing extremist organizations?

The primary source of Devlali based military intelligence unit – 3 Det SCLU – was none other than Sudhakar Chaturvedi, who according to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was the national coordinator of Abhinav Bharat and has allegedly admitted to his role in staging the Malegaon terror attack. This is evident in the top secret intelligence briefing titled – “Hindu Org: Abhinav Bharat”.

In fact, it’s not just this intelligence report that the 3 Det SCLU generated. So deep and professional was this unit’s covert penetration and embedment with Hindu Right Wing groups that it was generating copious amounts of actionable intelligence much before the Malegaon IED blasts. Every piece of intelligence this unit generated was regularly sent up the chain of command to Army HQ. Is it conceivable that the then Army Chief, Deepak Kapoor, UPA Defence Minister AK Antony and the Congress Party top brass (given that Sonia Gandhi as Party President was pro-actively involved in UPA I & II governance matters) were completely unaware of these reports?

If the military intelligence reports of 2008 did not reach the key decision makers in the Army HQ and UPA Government then it would point towards significant dereliction of duty, breach in the chain of command and abnegation of the civil – military systemic procedures regarding processing of intelligence information. But if the UPA government was aware of intelligence reports on the Hindu fundamentalist organization, Abhinav Bharat, several months ahead of the September 29, 2008 Malegaon blasts, then why wasn’t any pre-emptive law enforcement action initiated against an organization whose activities were already under the scanner?

In fact, the intelligence reports from January 2008 indicate that till the Malegaon blasts in September 2008, Abhinav Bharat had managed to keep a low profile, even though there were worrying signs – like increasing membership across several states within few months and involvement of “certain elements associated with the def forces”.

But what if the UPA government knew about these intelligence reports in 2008 but did not take cognizance of it? Clearly, only those serving in the Union Government at that time can authenticate whether decision makers knew about these reports or not. But the explosive truth contained in the intelligence files of the Army HQ is a matter of record and cannot be whitewashed. Given the nature of intelligence unearthed by 3 Det SCLU it’s extremely hard to ignore the fact that this was the unit in which Lt Col Purohit served!

Therefore, it’s instructive to note the content of the October 24, 2008 intelligence briefing on Abhinav Bharat, which also recapped the briefing of January 16, 2008.

“A hard copy of Microsoft Powerpoint Ppt highlighting the aims, ideologies of the org and their justification which is circulated amongst the members is att as Appx ‘D’. The slide on ‘Action Plan’ needs close scrutiny. The orgn was initially planning to launch a political party in Jan 2008. However, although the conf for the same was org in Delhi, the agenda of pol party was dissolved. The reasons for the same are not known…Any involvement of the org in extremist activities is not est till date. However, it has been reliably learnt that the membership of this org has increased manifold in the recent past. The members have affiliation with Hindu extremist groups also…The ideology of the orgn is also being supported by certain elements associated with the def forces, which is a cause of concern. Ref Appx ‘J’ att.”

The military intelligence reported increase in the membership of Abhinav Bharat from the following states – Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, UP, MP, Haryana and Delhi. So how could the entire intelligence establishment under the UPA government completely miss acting on such explosive intelligence?

However, before exploring the above question on the basis of facts available at this point in time it is equally important to ask other questions – first, how did the 3 Det SCLU get such critical first-hand information, which otherwise would have been the preserve of the Intelligence Bureau under the Ministry of Home Affairs and second, who set up the covert operations of 3 Det SCLU to penetrate fundamentalists right wing groups, create “int assets” (primary sources) and glean high quality actionable intelligence?

The answers are available in the Army’s Court of Inquiry report against Lt Col Purohit. On April 13, 2009 the Army instituted a Court of Inquiry (CoI) against Lt Col Purohit, who was arrested by the Maharashtra ATS on November 5, 2008 for his alleged complicity in the Malegaon terror attack on September 29, 2008.

Sixty Army officers testified in the CoI. Except Col RK Srivastav, all the other 59 officers testified in favour of Lt Col Purohit. Col Srivastav’s negative testimony was anyway a foregone conclusion because he was specially and specifically deployed from the Army HQ in 2008 to surreptitiously detain, illegally interrogate and fraudulently hand over Lt Col Purohit to Maharashtra ATS. This is another disturbing story and will feature later in ‘The Malegaon Mystery and its Big Little Lies’ series. For now it is important to focus on the Army’s CoI report on Lt Col Purohit.

All the 59 Army witnesses in the CoI testified that Lt Col Purohit was a competent intelligence officer who excelled in field operations. They affirmed that one of the sources he had cultivated was Sudhakar Chaturvedi, national coordinator of Abhinav Bharat, who is an accused in the Malegaon blast. They testified that Sudhakar helped Lt Col Purohit to infiltrate Abhinav Bharat and other Hindu right wing fundamentalist groups. When the Malegaon blast happened, Purohit was attending a course on learning Arabic language at the Army Education Corps Training College and Centre at Panchmarhi in Madhya Pradesh.

Here are some snapshots from the recorded statements of Army officers submitted in the Court of Inquiry:

  • Col Hasmuk Patel, then Commanding Officer of Southern Command Liaison Unit wrote in Purohit’s ACR in 2007: “The Officer has infiltrated the SIMI and other underground outfits in the region through his capabilities and go getter attitude.”
  • Col. YK Singh in 2008: “He (Purohit) provided valuable int on Tabliq-e-jamal and MFO (Muslim Fundamentalist Organisations) activities which were appreciated by environment. He developed on effective informant network in AOR which led to acquisition of Naxal propaganda and terrorist activities.”
  • Col VS Tomar: “Although I have not known you on a personal level, yet by my interactions with officers of varied seniority with the Intelligence Corps, I came to know that you were a motivated, daring and good field intelligence officer. However some people did mention that at times you had a negative trait of boasting for gaining audience.”
  • Lt. Col. SS Raikar (retd): “I do not believe that Lt. Col. Purohit has been involved in any anti-social or anti-national activity which will bring disrepute to the country in general and the Indian army in particular.”

In the context of the revelations contained in the confidential military intelligence memo dated October 24, 2008 it is beyond doubt that the intelligence network of ‘3 Det SCLU’ in its Area of Responsibility set up by Lt Col Purohit was generating massive amounts of intelligence on Abhinav Bharat. It is also clear that Sudhakar Chaturvedi, an accused in the Malegaon blast, was a primary source of intelligence cultivated by Lt Col Purohit which enabled further penetration into other Hindu Right Wing groups. All of this information was being processed at the unit level, documented and regularly dispatched up the chain of command. It is clear from the testimony of Army officers under whose command Lt Col Purohit worked held him in high esteem and was aware of his covert operations. It is also clear that he had high level clearance and was mandated to conduct covert operations to penetrate into groups like Abhinav Bharat.

Lt Col Purohit told the Court of Inquiry: “I must make a mention here that out of the vast int (intelligence) network development by me with great efforts I came to know about the likely involvement of some Right Wing leaders in anti-national activities. The inputs received on 12 October 2008 were immediately fwd (forwarded) to then CO (commanding Officer) SCLU (Southern Command Liaison Unit) Col Panchpore.” This was subsequently confirmed by Col Panchpore in his statement before the CoI.

How is it possible that the person whose covert intelligence operations generated significant actionable intelligence on Abhinav Bharat nine months before the Malegaon blasts of September 29, 2008 suddenly find himself to be a co-conspirator of a terror attack? The Maharashtra ATS claimed he was a Trustee of Abhinav Bharat, which was suspected to be involved in planning and execution of the bomb blasts. In April 2011, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) took over the case from Maharashtra ATS. Five years later, on May 13, 2016 NIA filed a charge sheet against 10 accused, including Lt Col Purohit who was booked under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Indian Penal Code and Explosives Substances Act. But why hasn’t the NIA investigated the intelligence briefings sent by 3 Det SCLU and what action was taken on these briefings by the UPA Government and Army HQ?

For the past 8 years as a pre-trial detainee under the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA), Lt Col Purohit consistently repudiated the charge of the Maharashtra ATS that he was the alleged “mastermind” of the Malegaon bomb blasts. He has consistently held his ground that as an intelligence officer he was tasked to infiltrate “Hindu Right Wing” extremist groups and he accomplished his mandated task as a professional intelligence officer is expected to do. He has maintained all along, since his arrest, that he was only doing his job as mandated and approved by his superiors in the Army’s institutional chain of command.

All the questions raised above are embedded in a landscape fraught with moral, legal and operational perils. Lt Col Purohit’s story is uncannily similar to a fictional CIA agent featured in Alex Berenson’s novel ‘The Midnight House’ in which the agent converts to Islam to infiltrate the Taliban. The moral limits of such covert operations guided by larger political motives and objectives are hazy. An intelligence operative on the ground is unaware of political machinations and expediencies which are always disturbingly outside the public gaze. Lt Col Purohit’s real life story throws up this conundrum – Are there moral limits that those mandated with gathering intelligence dare not cross?

Was Lt Col Purohit set-up as a pawn in a political game of thrones and exploited by the political establishment, supported by a malleable, pliant Army leadership in 2008?

(VK Shashikumar is an investigative journalist and a strategist. 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)