New Delhi: While Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur will challenge Congress stalwart Digvijay Singh in Bhopal this poll season, the Opposition has once again raised the bogey of ‘saffron terror’ just as before the 2014 general elections that catapulted the saffron BJP into power.

While former Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had thundered in 2013 how the RSS and the BJP were behind the Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and Malegaon blasts, the Congress has evaded walking into the BJP’s political web this time.

But, the Opposition, including Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have failed to see that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), just as its initial report in 2009, still maintains that Lashkar-e-Taiba operative Arif Qasmani was behind the Samjhauta blast case and that the conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan.

The United States treasury too believes the same.

The “narrative summary of reasons for the listing for individuals, groups, undertakings and entities included in the Al-Qaida Sanctions List” was released by UNSC’s Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee in 2018, originally listed on June 29, 2009, explaining the reasons for placing sanctions on Qasmani. This is as per paragraph 36 of resolution 2161 (2014).

Qasmani’s listing came for “being associated with Al-Qaida, Usama bin Laden or the Taliban for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of”; “supplying, selling or transferring arms and related materiel to” or “otherwise supporting acts or activities of” Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (QDe.118) and Al-Qaida (QDe.004).”

Under the sub-head of ‘additional information’, the UNSC goes on to say:

“Arif Qasmani is the chief coordinator of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba’s (LeT) (QDe.118) dealings with other organisations and has provided significant support for LeT terrorist operations. Qasmani has worked with LeT to facilitate terrorist attacks, including the July 2006 train bombing in Mumbai, India, and the February 2007 Samjota Express bombing in Panipat, India.”

The UNSC also indicted Dawood Ibrahim. “Qasmani utilised money that he received from Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar (QDi.135), an Indian crime figure and listed terrorism supporter, to facilitate the July 2006 train bombing in Mumbai, India. Qasmani also conducted fundraising activities on behalf of LeT in late 2005.”

While Qasmani helped Al-Qaida by supplying funds and weapons “and facilitated the movement of Al-Qaida leaders in and out of Afghanistan”, Al –Qaida helped him in spreading terror in India.

“In return for Qasmani’s support, Al-Qaida provided him with operatives to support the July 2006 train bombing in Mumbai, India, and the February 2007 Samjota Express bombing in Panipat, India,” the UNSC report said.

“Qasmani also facilitated the movement of Al-Qaida personnel out of Afghanistan in 2001. In 2005, Arif Qasmani provided Taliban leaders with a means to smuggle personnel, equipment and weapons into Afghanistan,” the report added.

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