‘More recent overt sign of indigenous Hindu terrorism’: US Congressional Report

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Washington: Recent developments have shown that militant Hindu nationalist groups are determined to launch domestic terrorist attacks in India, a US Congressional report has said.
“Even more recent are overt signs that India is home to militant Hindu nationalist groups determined to launch domestic terrorist attacks,” Congressional Research Service (CRS) has said in its latest report on India.
The 94-page report was released by CRS on September 1. CRS is an independent and bipartisan wing of the US Congress that prepares periodic reports on issues of interest to the US lawmakers. A copy of this report was made public by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) on Tuesday.
“In September 2008, seven people were killed by two bomb blasts in Maharashtra’s Malegaon, a hotbed of Hindu-Muslim communal strife. By year’s end, police had arrested nine members of a ‘Hindu terrorist cell’ in connection with the bombing, including an active army lieutenant colonel and a Hindu nun with links to the main opposition BJP,” the CRS has said.
“Thus did ‘Hindu terrorism’ became a new and highly controversial phrase in India’s national dialogue,” the report said, adding, “never before in the country’s history had the phrase been so widely used and the development had major and continuing effects on India’s national psyche.”
“Many Indian observers warned of the danger of a ‘militant majoritarianism’ among Hindu nationalists that threatens to rend the secular fabric of the nation,” it said.
“In late 2010, Hindutva extremist Swami Aseemanand confessed to involvement in a number of terrorist attacks previously blamed on Islamist militants, including the 2006 bombing of a Muslim cemetery in Malegaon that killed 37 people and the 2007 bombing of the trans-border Samjhauta Express, a train linking Delhi and Lahore, Pakistan, that killed 68 people, most of them Pakistani civilians,” CRS said.
Aseemanand had said these and other attacks were to avenge Islamist terrorist attacks on Hindu temples.
“The confessions were an embarrassment for law enforcement agencies that had arrested Muslim suspects, and gave credibility to analysts who identify Hindu militancy as a threat to India’s security,” CRS said.
Increasingly prevalent in India are “Naxalites”, Maoist insurgents ostensibly engaged in violent struggle on behalf of landless labourers and tribals. These groups, most active in inland areas of east-central India, claim to be battling oppression and exploitation in order to create a classless society, it adds.

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