* Magazine interviewed man facing trial for anti-Muslim
* Quoted him saying attacks sanctioned by Hindu nationalist
* Protesters say is pre-election slur against BJP party
NEW DELHI, Feb 7 Protesters burned copies of
Indian magazine on Friday in protest at an article that linked a
string of deadly attacks on Muslims to a Hindu nationalist
leader close to India's main opposition party.
The Caravan, a monthly that covers politics and culture,
published the article in its February edition based on
interviews with Swami Aseemanand from the jail where he is
awaiting trial for militant attacks around India that killed
more than 100 people between 2006 and 2008.
In the interviews, Aseemanand said the attacks were
sanctioned by Mohan Bhagwat, who leads Rashtriya Swayamsevak
Sangh (RSS), India's largest Hindu nationalist organization,
which has close ties to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Opinion polls show the BJP has a chance of forming India's
next government after elections due by May. Most BJP leaders
have been members of the RSS - considered the ideological
incubator for Hindu nationalism.
The RSS has denied the allegations against Bhagwat and said
the interviews were fake. Since the magazine's publication,
Aseemanand has denied making the comments.
Hindu hardliners protesting outside The Caravan's offices
accused the magazine of working with the Congress party
"We're protesting against Caravan because it's hand-in-hand
with Congress," said Vishnu Gupta, president of a group called
Hindu Sena, or Hindu Army.
Vinod K. Jose, executive editor of The Caravan said that
instead of criticizing the magazine, the BJP and the protesters
should call for an investigation of Aseemanand's allegations.
"They are trying to attack the messenger," he said.
(Reporting by Sruthi Gottipati; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel;
Editing by Robin Pomeroy)