Yashwant Shinde outside his home in Mumbai. | Tabassum Barnagarwala

By / Scroll

A former member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has alleged that the outfit and its affiliate organisation, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, engineered several bomb blasts in the 2000s to help the Bharatiya Janata Party win elections. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is the parent organisation and the ideological backbone to a host of Hindutva groups including the ruling BJP.

Yashwant Shinde, who claims to have been associated with the RSS since 1990, made these allegations in a sworn affidavit before the Nanded sessions court on August 29. Shinde has asked the court to make him a witness in the Nanded bomb blast case. In 2006, two people including a worker of the Bajrang Dal – the youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad – were killed in Maharashtra’s Nanded district when a bomb they were allegedly trying to assemble exploded.

In his affidavit, Shinde alleged that the bomb was being prepared to attack a mosque in the state’s Aurangabad district.

Shinde said he knew this because the one of the two men who died, Himanshu Panse, was a long-time associate and a fellow traveller in the Hindutva ecosystem. Panse was a Vishwa Hindu Parishad worker, the affidavit says.

In 1999, Shinde had, on the instructions of Indresh Kumar, a senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh functionary, “taken Himanshu and his 7 friends to Jammu…[where] they received training in modern weaponry from the Indian Army jawans”, he alleged in the affidavit.

Kumar did not respond to multiple calls and messages seeking comment.

Shinde with Indresh Kumar and the senior RSS pracharak, Late Srikhant Joshi at Srinagar’s Shankaracharya temple, circa 1998

Four years later, in 2003, he and Panse attended a “bomb-training camp held near Sinhgad in Pune”, Shinde claimed.

The “mastermind and main organiser of the camp”, Shinde alleged, was Milind Parande – who is currently the “national organiser” of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. The main instructor at the camp was a man by the name of “Mithun Chakravarty” whose real name, he would discover later, was Ravi Dev [Anand] – who now heads the Uttarakhand unit of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

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