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Christians, Muslims doubt Hindu militant’s confession

Indian minorities question motives behind Swami Aseemanand’s change of heart reporter, Ahmedabad

January 25, 2011

Christian and Muslims in Gujarat remain unconvinced over a militant Hindu’s apparent change of heart. Swami Aseemanand, who masterminded anti-Christian violence in the tribal-dominated Dangs district in the late 1990s, recently confessed to being responsible for a series of bomb attacks in several parts of India. Police arrested the Hindu leader a few months ago in connection with explosions in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, Ajmer in Rajasthan and the Malegaon-Samjhauta Express, a train service linking India and Pakistan. After the blasts, security agencies arrested several Muslim youths. Aseemanand (limitless bliss) repeated his confession to his family and said the Muslims were innocent. He reportedly offered his confession to a magistrate after seeing Abdul Kaleem, one of the Muslim youths in a Hyderabad jail. Church people working tribal-dominated areas in southern Gujarat sounded skeptical. “It would be good if Aseemanand’s confessions are really genuine. We don’t know under what circumstances he confessed,” said Father C. M. Raphael, who works in the Dangs district. Jesuit Father Stanny Jabamalai, another missioner, said he was “a bit wary” of Aseemanand’s “sudden” change of heart. He spread terror among tribal people by “openly violating” the law, he added. “Conversion comes from God. But there appears to be some hidden agenda here,” he told Hindu militants are known for double standards and the confession could be to garner public sympathy and a reduced sentence, he added. Hanif Lakdwawala, a Muslim activist, says he would wait and see whether Swami Aseemanand sticks to his confession during trial.   Related reports Tension Builds Among Gujarat´s Tribal Christians Near Christmas Religious Fair Calls For Conversion Of Christians, Muslims To Hinduism   ID13006.1638
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