The Ajmer Dargah bombing (also called the Ajmer Sharif blast) occurred on 11 October 2007, in the courtyard of Sufi maulana Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer, Rajasthan, India, after the Iftar period had started. On 22 March 2017 a Special NIA Court convicted three Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh pracharaks Devendra Gupta, Bhavesh Patel and Sunil Joshi.[3][4][5] Sunil Joshi and Devendra Gupta were found guilty on charges of conspiracy and Bhavesh Bhai Patel was found guilty of planting the explosive on the blast site. Gupta and Patel were awarded life imprisonment.[5] Sunil Joshi had been found shot dead in mysterious circumstances soon after the blast in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh.[6]

Ajmer Sharif Dargah bombing
Ajmer Sharif is located in Rajasthan
Ajmer Sharif
Ajmer Sharif
Ajmer Sharif (Rajasthan)
LocationAjmer, Rajasthan, India
26°27′25″N 74°37′40″E / 26.45694°N 74.62778°E / 26.45694; 74.62778
Date11 October 2007
18:12 IST (UTC+5.30)
TargetDargah of Moinuddin Chishti[1]
Attack type
Bomb in a Tiffin carrier[2]
WeaponsImprovised explosive device
VerdictLife imprisonment and fine
ConvictionsDevendra Gupta, Bhavesh Patel and Sunil Joshi

Attack edit

At 6.12 pm on 11 October 2007, an explosion occurred near a courtyard outside the Dargah of Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer.[7] Evening prayers had just concluded before the end of the fasting month of Ramadan and a crowd had gathered outside the shrine to end their fast.[1] The bomb had been concealed in a tiffin carrier, which workers typically used to store their lunch.[2] The blast killed 3[8] people and injured 17 others.[9][10] Remnants of a mobile phone were retrieved from the site.[7] Lalit Maheswari of the Ajmer police stated, "We have recovered some mobile instruments, so we think some sophisticated device was used ...".[1]

Investigations edit

The Ministry of Home Affairs (India) initially stated that the blast could have been the responsibility of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba.[2] The media had also initially characterized the attack as part of a conflict between ultra-conservative Islamic extremists against the Sufi-derived Islamic traditions popular in India.[7]

The focus of investigation shifted to Hindu groups when Swami Aseemanand was arrested in the Mecca Masjid blast case in Dec 2010.

On 22 October 2010, five suspects, who had been arrested by the Anti-Terrorism Squad of India, were charged with conspiracy in connection to the bombing. Four of the five suspects were connected to the Hindu nationalist organization, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.[11]

According to sources, Patel was part of the five-member group that planted the bomb at Ajmer Dargah. While two planters 'Harshad Solanki and Mukesh Vasani' have already been charge sheeted, Patel was part of a back-up team, including Suresh Nair and Mehul alias Mafat Bhai, which went to the site as a contingency plan to take charge of the affairs in case the two planters failed to place the bomb or developed cold feet.

On 10 October 2007, Suresh Nair, Mehul and Bhavesh Patel took a consignment of explosives from Sunil Joshi, who was later found murdered under mysterious circumstances in Godhra. They reached Vadodara on the same day and boarded a private bus for Udaipur. At Ajmer, however, the bomb was given to Solanki and Vasani planted it. Patel was also accused of having been involved in the post-Godhra riots in Gujarat, but was acquitted by the court.

NIA also filed another charge sheet against Swami Aseemanand, whose confession helped the agency open Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid blast and Malegaon 2006 blast cases, along with Sandeep Dangae, Bhawesh Patel, Mehul, Suresh Bhai, Ramchandra Kalsangra, Sunil Joshi and Bharat Bhai. According to the charge sheet filed, Swami Aseemanand conceived the plan to avenge Islamic attacks on Hindu temples.[12][1][10]

In 2011, the Central Bureau of Investigation started investigating the Hindutva organisation, Abhinav Bharat on the basis of Aseemanands confession.[13] Swami Aseemanand's named the co-founder of the far right Hindu organisation, Abhinav Bharat, Prasad Shrikant Purohit and senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Indresh Kumar among others as co-conspirators. The Swami in his statement also claimed that Sunil Joshi was the operational man and carried out the blast in Ajmer with the help of two Muslim boys from the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan, who were given to him by Indresh Kumar.[13]

Another individual accused in the attack was Bharat Bhai alias Bharat Rateshwar, who is also accused of financing several other Hindutva terrorist attacks such the Mecca Masjid blast and the 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings. He was accused of funding and planning terrorist attacks on Muslim to avenge the attacks on Hindus in India.[14]

Conviction edit

On 8 March 2017, a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Jaipur found guilty three ex-RSS pracharaks, Bhavesh Patel, Devendra Gupta, and Sunil Joshi (who was murdered in 2007).[5][15][16] Both Patel and Gupta were awarded life imprisonments and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 respectively.[5] Swami Aseemanand and 6 other accused were acquitted, giving them the "benefit of doubt".[5][17][18][19] At the same time, the court questioned the NIA on its clean chit to two of the other accused, Ramesh Gohil and Amit, as well as "suspicious persons" such as the senior RSS leader Indresh Kumar and Pragya Singh Thakur stating that it could not be done without invoking appropriate sections of CrPC.[5][20] Pragya Singh Thakur later went on to be elected as Member of parliament, Lok Sabha from Bhopal in May 2019.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d "Bomb kills 2 at Ajmer Sharif dargah". Reuters. 11 October 2007. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d "Blast at Ajmer Dargah, 5 dead". Daily News and Analysis. India. 11 October 2007. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  3. ^ "Ajmer blast case: Two 'RSS pracharaks' sentenced life imprisonment". 20 August 2018.
  4. ^ "India jails Hindu radicals for life over Ajmer Sharif shrine blast". 22 March 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Ajmer blasts case: Life term for two 'ex-RSS pracharaks'". The Indian Express. 20 August 2018. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  6. ^ "What is the Ajmer Dargah blast case?". The Indian Express. 24 March 2017. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Asthana; Nirmal (2009). Urban Terrorism. p. 188. ISBN 9788171325986.
  8. ^ "2007 Ajmer dargah blast accused held in Gujarat's Bharuch after 11 years". Hindustan Times. 25 November 2018. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  9. ^ Koppikar, Smruti; Dasgupta, Debarshi; Hasan, Snigdha (19 July 2010). "The Mirror Explodes". Outlook. India. Archived from the original on 29 November 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  10. ^ a b Buncombe, Andrew (12 January 2011). "Hindu holy man reveals truth of terror attacks blamed on Muslims". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 13 January 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  11. ^ "Four of five Ajmer blast accused have RSS links: ATS". The Indian Express. 1 November 2010. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  12. ^ Sharma, Nitesh Kumar (9 January 2011). "ATS to summon Indresh after Aseemanand's statement". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  13. ^ a b Mohan, Vishwa (9 January 2011). "Co-conspirators saw RSS man as ISI mole". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
  14. ^ "Mecca Masjid | Ajmer Blast | Samjhauta Express Blast | Link | Bharat Bhai | Rajasthan ATS". 6 February 2011.
  15. ^ "2007 Ajmer blast: Aseemanand and others acquitted, 3 convicted, by NIA court". The Times of India.
  16. ^ "2007 Ajmer blast case: Swami Aseemanand acquitted, three people convicted". 8 March 2017.
  17. ^ "Swami Aseemanand acquitted in Ajmer blast case as NIA convicts three". 8 March 2017.
  18. ^ "Indian court makes rare conviction against Hindu radicals over 2007 Ajmer shrine attack". 8 March 2017.
  19. ^ "Acquitted in two cases, Aseemanand still faces Samjhauta case trial". The News Minute. 17 April 2018. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  20. ^ "Ajmer Blast: Former RSS Pracharak Sunil Joshi and two others convicted". 8 March 2017. Archived from the original on 12 March 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2023.

Further reading edit

External links edit