Pragya Singhs” religious guru promises cooperation in Malegaon blast probe

November 12th, 2008 - 6:29 pm ICT by ANI  

Ambala (Haryana), Nov 12 (ANI): Swami Avdheshanand, religious guru of Pragya Singh, an accused in Malegaon blasts, has offered his cooperation in blast investigations.
Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has so far arrested nine suspects including Singh in connection with the September 29 Malegaon blast case.
Avdheshanand promised to cooperate with the investigating agencies, during a news conference on Wednesday at his Ashram in Ambala city.
“Nobody has contacted me so far, but I will offer my full cooperation in the investigations,” said Avdheshanand.
Demanding strict punishment for militants, Avdheshanand however appealed all to refrain from labeling Pragya as a militant till her offence is proven.
“We condemn terrorism. Terrorism has hampered the growth and peace around the world. The militants should be punished severely. But, since no offence has been proved on the Sadhvi so far, I would like to appeal all to refrain from labeling her a militant,” said Avdheshanand.
Pragya, one of the accused in the attack in the Muslim-dominated towns of Malegaon and Modasa in September, had taken ”diksha” or initiation ritual from Swami Avdheshanand and was thus sucked into the controversy after her arrest.
“She (Pragya) had come to me to seek diksha (ritual of initiation into the worship of some deity by a guru) during the Kumbh and had met me once or twice at some yagya in Indore,” said Avdheshanand.
The religious guru added that he had so many disciples that it becomes difficult to keep a tab on all of them after they leave his Ashram.
“Around 500,000 of my Sanyasis (seers) are there in the country and it is very difficult to keep a tab on their whereabouts,” said Avdheshanand.
The bomb blasts in Malegaon and Modasa killed five people and were blamed on a Hindu militant group.
For years, bomb attacks in India have mostly been blamed on Islamist militants. Even attacks on mosques were often blamed on Islamists seeking to spark communal tension between India’’s majority Hindus and minority Muslims.
Muslim leaders have accused authorities of conducting a witch hunt and reinforcing stereotypes about their community after dozens of Muslims were detained following a string of bomb attacks across the country this year.
In August, two suspected Hindu militant fundamentalists died while trying to build a bomb in the northern town of Kanpur. (ANI)

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