1. According to the newspaper reports (Navbharat Mahanagar of June 5, 2006), Mr. R. R. Patil stated that the government had information about the attack before three months (elsewhere it was reported as 7 months—see the report) Mr. Nitin Gadkari, a prominent BJP leader from Nagpur was asked to cooperate with police security. Another BJP leader Mr. Eknath Khadse, had stated three weeks ago that there was necessity to increase protection to Sangh headquarters. The Director General Police had paid 2-3 visits in this connection.
The security to the RSS headquarters is not a new thing. It is of permanent nature continuing since last 17 years. Before this incident, the police protection around the RSS headquarters was instituted with three layered police cordon. As reported in Lokmat of June 3, it comprised 2 PSIs, 8 Dy. PSIs, 84 policemen (18 plainclothesmen and the balance in uniform), 2 platoons of the state reserve police each comprising 30 jawans. The security to the Sarsanghchalak Mr. Sudarshan included 1 PSI, 3 Dy. PSIs, 41 policemen. After the incident the security squad is strengthened with 5 more policemen.
Although the headquarter is located in a very congested old city part with only small lanes to approach it, which makes it difficult for any large scale terrorist attack, there were metallic barricades erected everywhere blocking the vehicular traffic towards it from all the sides with police posse guarding them. At the headquarter building there were armed sentries at the gate with sand bags shield. Inside there were another posse of armed guards. The geographical incongeniality and such a heavy security will deter any terrorist (leave apart the specially trained ones) to venture their devilish act. Given the importance of the RSS headquarter; any attack on it could only benefit the majority communalism without any possible gain to the terrorists.
2. The idea of terrorists using a 20 year old Ambassador car with red beacon for the operation in the wee hours prima facie appears weird, implausible and beyond foolishness. The VIP car roaming on odd roads at the wee hours of night will attract attention of anyone leave apart the police. They are vulnerable because the police either know them or can easily ascertain their identity. No organized terrorist act will commit such an incredible blunder.
3. This incident fits well in the pattern formed by a few previous incidents like an incident of alleged attempt on Modi in Ahmedabad (referred to above) wherein three terrorists including a college student –Ishrat Jahan from a poor Muslim family in Mumbra were killed. The incident occurred in the wee hours when there is hardly any possibility of any eye witness other than the police. In the encounter the terrorists open fire first but get killed without causing even a scratch to the police. The police possess intelligence information but still end up in fight to finish with the terrorists. They always recover diary on their person with all information of their plan, telephone numbers, some bills, etc. It defies imagination of normal mortals to see the terrorists on suicide mission easily passing their identities and plans to the police. The Fact Finding report into the incident at Ahmedabad by Civil Rights organizations had totally rubbished the police story.
4. Terrorist suicide attack will normally aim at inflicting maximum damage to the enemy in exchange to their own lives. The Sangh headquarter surprisingly did not have even its usual occupants, all the important leaders being away. It is not palatable that the execution of such an act will be indulged without certain basic information as this. From this viewpoint the Dr. Hedgewar Smruti Bhavan in Reshambag would perhaps have been a preferred target as it had a congregation of 1200 RSS cadre from all over the country undergoing training.
5. As some of the papers opined, it is utterly incredible that the terrorist would not have even the basic information on roads to reach their target. Police version stressed that the car took two rounds or it seemed to fumble at two turns, which thickened their suspicion.
6. Among the things recovered from the car were the wet underwears and a soap to emphasize the occupants’ Muslim identity. It is believed that the Muslims would take bath before reaching Allah. Assuming that to be true with the terrorists, it is implausible that they would carry their wet underwears and even soap with them. In fact both acts are a contradiction: if they expect to reach martyrdom then all worldly things must be useless to them and if they do not there is no need of taking bath itself. It appears to be concoction of a low level intelligence.
7.When the police had prior information about possible attack on the RSS headquarter and the police were prepared, as stated by the Commissioner of Police to handle it, why did the police party allow the attackers to go close to the RSS HQ? Even after suspecting foul (indeed there was enough evidence of that at the first sight of the red beacon car roaming in the wee hours), why did the police not intercept it at any of the turns after it took turn towards Badkas Chowk? The Police vehicles after all were far superior to the 20 year old Ambassador!
8.We heard from the eye witnesses that the police had a rehearsal of the encounter a fortnight ago on the same spot and hence they continued to think it was another until after the end when they saw actual dead bodies being taken away by the police. Even police corroborated the version of people that they had a drill at the spot earlier. The strange coincidence of the drill and actual happening at the same spot distanced in time just by a fortnight is indeed strange!
9.Despite there being few sources of information, there are many versions of this small incident as discussed above. They mutually conflict and make the entire story hazy.
10.There is a version of how the car approached the ill fated spot. One version says that the car knocked down the barricade and crossed it but stopped at the spot. Another version says that the car stopped at the barricade, its inmates were challenged by police and the firing ensued. According to this version the firing began before crossing the barricade but actually it did on the other side. How the car went past the barricade is the mystery. The version of knocking down the barricade and car passing over it is not plausible because the fallen barricade would make a wedge of more than 5 inches height at the end of which the base support would turn into spike of same height. This may be realized from the photographs – Annexures 10 and 11 that show the clear picture of the barricade. It is not possible for a car to negotiate this hurdle from a small distance. How did then the car go past the barricade?
11.Unfortunately the mystery does not end there. If the car was past the barricade, why did it stop at the spot? Some version would explain it by saying it simply failed. Another version would say that the Police party reached there and the terrorists had to stop and begin firing. Indeed there are conflicting versions? Pray, what is the truth?
12.How exactly did the firing begin, is the crucial question, which remains unanswered. There is a version that policeman at the barricade (The police official who spoke with us at the spot said that there was no police at the barricade at that moment. They could be moving around.) or another saying that a policeman from the Qualis interrogated the inmates of the car about their identity and firing began. In either case, the policeman involved would not escape the volley of bullets from the AK-M assault rifle of the terrorist which sprays nearly 10 rounds per second. Once caught in the narrow lane in such a precipitous situation, terrorists would not wait for another act to follow. Any version around this moment sounds artificial.
13.In context of this confusion, we find the testimony of the eye witness – Nitin Daudkhani and his parents far more plausible than anything that is in vogue. This testimony must be respected because it is direct witness to the incident. According to this testimony, the barricades fell with a thud (which woke Daudkhanis up); some people shifted them aside and drove the car past it and stopped. The driver got down and ran behind to disappear from Daudkhanis’ sight. Immediately, volley of bullets follows from behind and lasts for about 15 minutes with some pause in between. There was no firing from the car. During that two dead bodies fall down from the two doors. This testimony at least removes the doubt as to how the car went past the barricade.
14.While the eye witness of Daudkhanis plausibly explains the sequence far better than any version of the press or police, it throws up some more questions. Why did the car stop at that spot? Answer may be because of the dense firing from behind. Why was there no firing from the car? Either the men were killed or immobilized in the first burst of fire from the police. What happened to the driver? He may have been dropped dead. The logical sequence of these questions might lead to far reaching possibilities but dwelling into them would be utterly speculative in absence of some lead information.
15.Daudkhanis’ testimony conflicts with the official version on nearly all counts. The question however arises what is the motivation of people to create variant version and sell it to the public? That question could only be tackled by the resourceful agencies like state in the interest of our people.
16.Why did the Maruti omni van parked in the Daudkhani’s courtyard not have any bullet mark? No answer to this question would be plausible within the perspectives of the official version. The car can only escape the bullet mark in the event of orderly or controlled firing. How the firing could be orderly or controlled is the question not within power of the fact Finding Committee to answer.
17.Many points in the official version evoke logical questions. For instance when it says that the patrolling police that chased the ambassador at one point presumed the car might have gone towards Ayachit Mandir. The police stopped the chase for a while. However when the police jeep came back to the same place during their routine patrol, they noticed the same car in a small alley between Lakdi pul and Gajanan Mandir towards the eastern gate of the RSS Head Quarters. As the point where the police missed the Ambassador car and the place where they saw them again are the same small alley, do the police mean to say that the attackers were waiting over there until then?
18.The most versions fraught with contradictions as they are unnecessarily appear to dramatize the incident in view of the fact that the entire area is less than 4 sq km. In process they throw up many questions, which would be very difficult to answer.
19.It was reported that the police recovered from the terrorists’ vehicle a sealed case containing 12 hand grenades. The terrorists coming on a deadly mission carrying their munitions in sealed cases defies logic. If true, the logic will only lead to indicate that they were on the way to supply these cases to some one. Who could this ‘some one’ be?
20.About the car itself: The police version says that the car was being used between Jammu and Srinagar (some say Katara based on some document they found in the car). Will some one drive a 20 years old car over 3000 km to reach Nagpur? According to Police they have not traveled straight to Nagpur and had been to Patna to buy their shoes. It will only add to the distance traveled by the car and make the theory more implausible.
21.If the terrorists were so smart as to procure and use the PSI uniform in a red beacon car, they obviously would have known how such cars are used. Such a car could not have all PSIs as its normal occupants. By having all the PSIs as occupants of the car, they would render it more vulnerable to the police. Would any organized terrorist commit such a blunder while there being easier and cheaper option available of having some plain clothes man passing as VIP?
22.As observed before, it is amusing to find wet underwears and soaked bathing soap in the car. If true, it can only be surmised that that they were not on the suicidal mission as projected. Besides soaps and underwear, the Police are reported to have recovered bags containing clothes and incriminating literature. One wonders, whether these people were on a suicidal mission or were tourists carrying everything on their backs. No sane person would accept it as a normal occurrence.
23.The Police Commissioner in his first address itself declared them as ‘Islamic’ terrorists and Pak based ‘fidayeens’. The fact remains that their identities are still not established. Although the papers have carried their names and places in Pakistan, the Nagpur police have yet not confirmed them. If so, on what basis the CP declared them Islamic terrorists and Pakistani fidayeens? Did he not know the communal connotations associated with these terms and the possible consequences, particularly when the targeted object was none other than the RSS headquarters? As a matter of fact, these declarations had led to some communal elements putting up banners with provocative communal overtone at several places in Nagpur, which would have resulted in communal conflagration. A photograph of one of such banners is attached as Annexure 12. It was reportedly arrested by a well known social activist and President, Vidarbha Jan Andolan- Mr. Kishor Tiwari filing a criminal writ petition (No. 754/2005) and getting the High Court to order for their immediate removal by the Police.
24.The alleged attack on the RSS headquarter can only be termed symbolic. It is not a public place to inflict large scale damage. In such a case the Terrorist organization that sponsored this attack would have claimed the responsibility as in many past cases. Despite wide scale publicity that the incident received, it is surprising that none has come forward to claim responsibility. Because of this, its motive and in corollary entire episode becomes questionable.
25.It is said that the three alleged terrorists fired 76 rounds and 11 police people fired 63 rounds. Considering the fact that the terrorists had three AK-Ms and the police party had at least four (there were at least four officers) AK-47s, (which fire nearly same number of rounds per second as AK-M) and 7 pistols (one each with seven policemen), the approximately balancing tally of rounds appears unconvincing. In normal course the police score in number of rounds fired would be expected to be far more than that of the terrorists because of the sheer bigger number of the former and because the slain terrorists being immobilized fairly immediately as per most versions. Even otherwise, it stands to logic that their effective strength during the period of fire would be less than three. How could their score of round still exceed that of the police?
26.The pattern of bullets on the wall around the spot has been carefully marked by circles around them. As remarked earlier the marks on the soft wall cannot be a conclusive basis to infer the points of fire. However, as supplementary evidence, a comment on them may not be out of place. Many of these marks clearly show the direction of the hit, which directly conflicts with the official version. The walls parallel to the car could not possibly have a right angle hit. However, in our perfunctory glance we could see at least two (out of six) such marks on the wall of Bharat Mahila Vidyalay. The CID official present at the site explained that such marks are possible by reflection of the bullets after hitting a hard surface. On probing further, he could not however explain how each bullet could have been reflected and hit the wall at right angle.
27.If the terrorists had fired approximately equal number (give exact number) of bullets, there would be some marks left on the walls on the side of police. There is hardly any mark of terrorist bullets to be seen on the other side, except on the Police vehicle- Tata Sumo. The other vehicle, we were told did not have any damage. In view of the fact that the terrorists had fired from their AK-M that sprays bullet at the rate of 10 per second and in desperation should indicate more straying than the police’s case. However, the evidence is contrary.
28.The blue Tata Sumo vehicle that was behind Qualis, carrying 9 police personnel, stood closer to the ambassador car and hence was expected to have more bullet hits. It had in all six bullet marks. The places at which these marks are observed causes confusion about the position in which the car was parked. If the car was hit in the front near the head lamp, it could not possibly have perpendicular hits at the left side of the car and one at the inside of the right side door. Like the bullet marks, the glass panes of this vehicle also were smashed. Moreover, it is important to know when these hits occurred. Prima facie, the bullet marks on Sumo appeared to violate the official version.
29.One bullet hole was found (in the police blue Tata Sumo vehicle) on the right side front door from inside. The point of hit was approximately below the shoulder bone of the driver. Considering the fact that sumo had full occupancy, and was caught in fire by the terrorist, as per the official version, some of the people would have been surely killed by this bullet. We found bullet marks on the same police vehicle hit from three angles on the left side of the vehicle. Three bullets were 45 degree from behind, two bullets 90 degree on the left and one bullet130 degree farther from the hit just below the front windshield.
30.The question arises, if the vehicle was not on the move during the attack, (as the bullet did not hit the driver), then how did the bullet mark appear from three angles? This question assumes significance as it was not possible for the terrorists to move to such wide range and fire from all three angles, for, they were caught in their vehicle that was trapped in a narrow alley and they were largely immobilized.
31. It is interesting to examine the photographs of the ill fated Ambassador car used by the so called terrorists. The photographs -Annexure 13, 14, and 15 clearly show the front glass of the car completely smashed, whereas the photographs – (Annexure 16 and 17) show only 5-6 bullet holes. Considering the position that the rear of the car faced the volley of police bullets, it is foxing that the rear of the car had neat bullet holes where as the front, which did not face any firing, had its entire glass smashed. Most versions, eye witnesses (including Saraf) indicate that the firing took place only from the rear side of the car. Who then fired upon the car?
32.On the site of the encounter was parked a white Maruti Omni car at the premises of Mr Jopat, the compound wall being fenced by barbed wire. As the house is the first one in the lane (in front of which raised the barricade) and the attackers are in side the lane, if the police wanted to target the attackers, they should have gone some where behind this Maruti Omni car. When there was over 140 rounds of fire, there is not a single bullet mark on the vehicle. This creates strong doubts over the nature of reported encounter.
These are mere indicative questions arose during our analysis. Obviously, there could be many more questions than these, if some one takes up an incisive analysis. Only additional information with police could easily eliminate some of them. Unfortunately, the Nagpur Police has displayed high degree of hostility and disrespect towards the committee, which could be said to be unprecedented in the history of civil rights movement in the country. The hostile reaction of the police if seen in the context itself throws up some natural questions, which we have resisted to ask.