Aseemanand 'interview' on RSS 'role' in blasts triggers row

Aseemanand 'interview' on RSS 'role' in blasts triggers row

Claims by Swami Aseemanand, an accused in the Samjhauta Express and other blast cases, that the RSS leadership had "sanctioned" these terror acts have sparked off a controversy but the sangh parivar founthead has questioned the veracity of the interview.

Latching on to an "interview" of Aseemanand carried by a magazine, the Congress and other parties including BSP called it a "serious" issue and demanded that a proper probe should be ordered and action should be taken against the guilty.

The BJP and its ally Shiv Sena, however, dismissed the media report about Aseemanand's allegation against RSS as "baseless" and blamed it on the "dirty tricks" department for diverting attention from the real issues before elections.

RSS spokesman Ram Madhav described as "concocted" Aseemanand's purported interview with the "Caravan" magazine in which he made the claim that the RSS leadership had sanctioned the "Hindu terror conspiracy" that included the blasts in Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Sheriff.

He said Aseemanand has clearly denied having said anything like this.  "A lot of questions have been raised about the veracity of this interview.  The veracity of the audio that has surfaced is also questionable."

Madhav  said there seemed to be a motive behind bringing these things out now.  Aseemanand had earlier too issued a statement before a magistrate that no such thing had ever happened, he said. Dismissing the report, RSS ideologue M G Vaidya said Congress will not benefit by this "false propaganda".

"Since elections are round the corner many such things will crop up.  Authenticity of the interview and whether Aseemanand has said these things or not have to be ascertained," he said.

Union Minister and Congress leader Rajiv Shukla said it was a "serious" matter and the Home Ministry should take cognisance and ascertain the truth. His colleague Salman Khurshid said the truth should come out and a debate take place on the issue.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said "let's go into what he had said.  If he has made some expose, it may be true." BSP leader Mayawati said the allegation of RSS leadership's role in the blasts was a serious case and should not be taken lightly by the Centre.

"The case should be probed by CBI and if they are guilty strictest action should be taken," he said. Echoing similar sentiments, LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan said the case should be thoroughly investigated as in previous cases of blasts the name of RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal had cropped up.

Rejecting all the charges against the RSS leadership, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters that they were "baseless" and his (Aseemanand) lawyer has denied this interview.  "This is the work of dirty tricks department before elections," he said.

Prasad said the interview was reportedly held two years agao and now it has been released. "His lawyer has also denied his (Aseemanand) so-called confessional statement."

The BJP leader said elections will be fought on the issues of price rise, unemployment, lack of development and the threat from China and Pakistan. "Since Congress does not have any answer to these problems so it raised these kinds of issues. "The RSS has always worked for the interest of the nation."

To a question at the BJP briefing, party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said it was a "concocted" and "baseless" story propagated by the Congress' "dirty tricks" department to divert the attention of the public from the AgustaWestland issue and Rahul Gandhi's leadership.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said security agencies under the Congress government have brought tremendous pressure on people to make allegations to rubbish the Hindutva organisations. SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav, however, refused to get into the controversy saying he has was not aware of the reports.

Taking on the BJP, Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma said they can do anything to create conflict between communities. What Assemanand had said  has exposed Sangh's "real" face.

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