Kashmir debates saffron terror
Naseer A Ganai
Srinagar, Nov 24: Kashmir didn’t remain immune to Saffron terror. Soon the Daynand Pandey’s name surfaced in Malegaon blasts and his meeting with former Governor Lt General (retd) S.K Sinha came to fore, pro-India scene in Kashmir changed with political parties saying that its masterminds might have served in Kashmir.
First to raise the issue was PDP patron and former Home Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.
On Wednesday last, former chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed disclosed that he had informed the Government of India about the ‘suspicious’ activities of former governor SK Sinha and said that investigation should be ordered both by the state Government and the Government of India to probe Sinha’s links with Pandey.
Pandey, who frequently visited the state, was a guest of the former governor and stayed at the Raj Bhawan in Srinagar in 2007, the PDP had earlier alleged.
Pandey was arrested on November 12 and sent to judicial custody by a Nashik court. “Frequent visits by Pandey to the state and his being entertained by the former governor raise suspicion,” the PDP patron said.
Sayeed described the issue as serious one and said if it would not be properly investigated, it would have dangerous ramification.
Peoples Democratic Party didn’t stop there. It accused the NC president Omer Abdullah of meeting Pandey at latter’s Ashram. The PDP senior leader Tariq Hamid Qarra said sarcastically that
Omar should explain whether he had gone to Haridwar to seek blessing of Pandey or he had some other purpose.
Qarra said the NC president met Pandey at the latter’s Ashram in Haridwar. He said the NC president should make the purpose public for which he had gone to Haridwar to meet the accused Swami.
Qarra described the issue as serious and said explosive material was taken from Kashmir and used in Samjauta Express blasts that killed 65 Pakistani nationals. Qarra displayed photos of Omer being in the function organized by Pandey.
National Conference was quick to respond. Three hours after Qarra press conference Omer said he would quit politics if the PDP proves his association with Malegaon blast accused Swami Daynand Pandey.
“I am ready to face any inquiry by Central Bureau Investigation or a joint parliamentary probe by the government. It should be a transparent, time-bound probe. And if it is proved that I have any link (with Pandey) I will quit politics and never show up in public again. However I am putting it on record that I have no links with the accused (Pandey),” Omar said addressing a hurriedly called press conference.
Responding to the photograph brought out by Qarra in a press conference showing Omar with Pandey, the NC president said the photograph was being used as an “outlandish allegation” against him.
“The picture dates back to 2002-03 when coalition government led by PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed came to power. My father (NC patron Dr Farooq Abdullah) had helped the Durga Nath Temple Trust and they had invited him, not me, at the function where the picture was shot. Since my father was busy, I attended the function,” Omar explained. Omar said the picture showed him sitting besides the then deputy chief minister and senior Congress leader Mangat Ram Sharma.
“This is sum total of my association with the accused. Yes, I am in the picture but that is the beginning and the end of my association with the accused,” Omar said.
The photographs were revealed before the media by PDP just three days before the Ganderbal is scheduled to go for polls during the second phase of elections in the Jammu and Kashmir with Omar contesting from the constituency against the arch rival of PDP, Qazi Muhammad Afzal.
ATS in Jammu for investigations
The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), which is probing the September 29 Malegaon Blasts, had sent a team to Jammu and Kashmir to interrogate the detained persons there, a senior ATS official said on Thursday.
The ATS, along with the Uttar Pradesh police, had arrested Dayanand Pandey alias Sudhakar Dwivedi believed to be a ’seer’, who allegedly played a major role in the blast conspiracy.
Pandey’s Chartered Accountant (CA) V K Kapoor and his son Pawan were also detained in Jammu for questioning. The duo was however let off as “nothing adverse” was found against them, reports said.
Pandey heads the Sharda Sarvagya Peeth in Jammu, the finance of which was managed by Kapoor and his son.
The ATS chief Hemant Karkare on Wednesday said that Pandey had attended several meetings prior to the blast alongwith Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit and other accused in Nashik and Madhya Pradesh.
Till now, the ATS has arrested nine persons and have been booked them in cases for conspiracy, murder, attempt to murder and under the Indian Explosives Act.