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'We are training youth to fight terror'

November 10, 2008 18:21 IST

The arrests of Hindu activists and their subsequent investigation conducted in connection with the Malegaon blasts have thrown light on several aspects pertaining to their terrorism. While investigating officers reveal that they are joining the dots and are close the cracking the case, they also say there is a need to bust various training modules set up by some right-wing Hindu groups across the country.

According to investigating officers from various parts of the country, there are training camps in several parts of Maharashtra, Adilabad in Andhra Pradesh, northern Karnataka and also in parts of Gujarat.

The Shri Rama Sena in Karnataka runs one such camp and has been blamed for undertaking subversive activities such as inciting communal violence and also preparing youth to undertake retaliatory acts of terror.

Shri Rama Sena chief and founder Pramod Muthalik, who was a former leader of the Bajrang Dal, says their intention is not to carry out terror strikes in the country. He explains in an interview with's Vicky Nanjappa what the intention behind setting up such camps was and also on the latest developments regarding the Malegaon blasts case.

You have been accused of inciting communal violence with your inflammatory speeches. Also, there is an allegation that you have set up Hindu terror training camps.

Get your facts right, mister. First and foremost these are not terror training camps. We call them Anti Terror Squads. Training is imparted to youth to become more patriotic. We ensure they imbibe values such as patriotism and national feeling. Whoever calls these terror training camps are free to come and see it and they will realise the truth.

I have a photograph of your boys posing with guns...

These pictures are of ordinary training camps. These guns are not meant to harm the people. It is just a way of training people to fight against terrorism.

You mean an eye for an eye…

Did I say that? Let me make it clear that we do not believe in eye for an eye theory. We are not anti-national elements. Just because a section of some community believes in bombing places and killing people, that does not mean we too are into the same thing.

So apart from instilling patriotism as you claim, what else do you do at the camps?

We have 700 boys training under us. What is the strength of our police force? It is nothing compared to the number of terrorists that are being bred in the country. Bharat Mata is our own country and we have a sense of responsibility towards our nation. The boys in our camps are being trained to help the police. We help in collection of intelligence and spreading awareness. Tell me, is there anything wrong in that?

So have you made any progress? How have you helped?

Look at the Hubli case where so many terrorists were arrested. These arrests helped in cracking a nation-wide nexus of the Students Islamic Movement of India. It was our boys who gave information about these terrorists and on the basis of our information the police nabbed these anti-national elements.

A sadhvi (Pragya Singh Thakur) and a serving army officer (Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit) have been arrested in connection with the Malegaon blasts case. Investigations show they are involved in the case. Were they too doing what you are doing?

The Congress is losing ground in the country and the Lok Sabha polls are round the corner. This case is nothing but a ploy to appease Muslims. The sadhvi is innocent and we are proud of her. Why are they picking on the sadhvi? 

But the Bharatiya Janata Party initially disowned the sadhvi. What do you have to say about that?

The Congress was trying to bring about an association with the sadhvi on the basis of a photograph. Just because a BJP leader was seen along with the sadhvi in a picture, it does not mean that they are linked.

You call yourselves the guardians of Hindutva. But today a brand of Hindu terror or saffron terror is emerging. What do you have to say about it?

The Hindu community has to be saved at any cost. We do not believe in violence. There is nothing called saffron terror and those who say it exists will be destroyed. I will not keep quiet if someone defames the religion.