Sunil Joshi, eccentric of Dewas, man with a temper & lots of clout

Sunil Joshi, the murdered RSS pracharak whose name has come up in connection with the alleged Hindu terror network, was known to everyone locally as a man with a temper and lots of clout. He made some enemies but he had friends too, evident from the numbers who took to the streets after he was murdered on December 29, 2007.

Joshi, who died in his late 30s, drove a Bolero, ran a fledgling courier shop in Indore and even lent money to his aides. He had so much clout that he had a say in appointments to local government bodies.

Joshi had fled to Gujarat after the 2003 murders of Congress leader Pyare Singh Ninama and his son but returned to MP after the Congress was unseated by the BJP late in 2003. From then, he went about his work without problems. The only thing that had changed was that he now had a flowing beard.

Joshi had four close aides, who have disappeared since his death, and they were frequently seen at local shops and even found odd jobs. He had a one-room house in Chuna Khadan at the end of a lane opening to a highway; he allegedly used it to shelter a suspect in the Best Bakery blast.

The day he was murdered, he was to about to start dinner when he was called on the phone, allegedly by his aides. Because his two-wheeler had a puncture, he walked to Chuna Khadan and was killed.

Joshi's niece Chanchal, 19, misses her uncle and the clout her family wielded. "I saw him in a local BJP leader's home few days before his murder," said one of Joshi's friends, who studied with him in Saraswati Shishu Mandir in Jawahar Chowk till the early 1980s.

"He was eccentric and hyperactive. He started attending an RSS shakha when he was in the fifth standard," the friend said. He recalled how stunned he had been at a paan shop when he saw Joshi for the first time since their schooldays. "It took me a while because of the beard but I recognised him. I later met him at a BJP leader's house and he was working without problems."

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