Sadhvi, 5 Hindu activists in net for Malegaon, Modasa
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The Maharashtra Police have picked up six Hindu activists, including Pragya Singh Thakur, an "extremely radical" sadhvi from Gujarat, in connection with the September 29 Ramzan blasts in Malegaon and Modasa but say they are still looking for the mastermind as well as the source of their explosives.
As first reported in The Indian Express today, the state police claim to have cracked the case and blame the bombings on the Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM), an Indore-based extremist group, and say that the suspects had links to the RSS student wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
The ABVP said Pragya was a member of its national executive in 1996-97 but added "she has had no contact with the organisation for the last one decade or so."
Five Muslims were killed in a powerful blast in the communally sensitive textile town of Malegaon and one Muslim boy was killed in the explosion in Modasa in Sabarkantha district.
Sources said that the Pragya was picked up from near Surat, along with four men from Indore and one from Dewas in Madhya Pradesh. While Madhya Pradesh police confirmed that the men had been picked up by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), Gujarat police sources claimed all five had been picked up from near Surat. The men have been identified as Dilip Nagar, Mehul Rawal, Shyamlal Sahu, Dharmendra Bairagi and Shivnarayan Singh. The motorcycle used in the Malegaon blast was traced to one of these men and yielded the first breakthrough.
The HJM was formed in 2002 and hit headlines during the Bhojshala dispute in Dhar in Madhya Pradesh. Hindus and Muslims had both claimed the 11th century monument as their own and the HJM demanded that Hindus be allowed to worship Goddess Saraswati there at any time and not just once a year. The outfit operates out of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's office, 'Archana', in Indore's Rambaug locality.
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