Commentators, scholars and social activists have reacted in shock and horror after a convict belonging to Hindutva body in the 2007 Ajmer dargah blast case, was given a hero’s welcome in Gujarat after he was released on bail.
The blast at the dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer in Holy month of Ramadan in 2007, had left three pilgrims dead and 15 others injured.
Convict Bhavesh Patel arrived in Bharuch on Sunday to be treated like a hero and among those, who were according him the hero’s welcome were local police officials and members of the VHP, RSS and BJP. This was after a local court in Rajasthan had awarded him life in jail for his involvement in Ajmer dargah blast.
The dreaded terrorist, according to his relatives, had become a baba while serving jail term in Rajasthan. He now has a new name in Swami Muktanand.
“VHP, RSS and BJP members along with hundreds of people welcomed him as he walked towards his residence at Hathikhana Bazar from nearby Swaminarayan temple, where he went to offer prayers after his arrival here,” Viral Desai, spokesperson of south Gujarat unit of the VHP, was quoted by PTI.
Patel receiving hero’s welcome evoked angry reactions on social media. Music director Vishal Dadlani wrote, “Some people openly celebrate terrorists now. This has never happened before in my lifetime. This is not my country. Shame on all of them, …and on us, for letting them exist and giving them the power to do this sorta thing.”
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi wrote, “KWAJA Mera KWAJA, – NewIndia Sad that Convicts have become hero’s Out on bail, Ajmer blast convict Bhavesh Patel returns home to hero welcome in Bharuch.” Twitter user Nikhil wrote, “Elsewhere in the world, terrorists hide in caves or hide from drone strikes. In India CONVICTED Hindu terrorists easily get bail & are received by ruling party leaders & given a hero’s welcome by public. Worst part is most of Indians think all this is ok.”
In March 2017, a trial court had sentenced Patel, the face of Hindutva terrorism in India, and co-accused in the case, Devendra Gupta, to life imprisonment.