Posts Tagged ‘Hindu Terrorism’

Time for some meditation By Jyotirmaya Sharma – Hindustan Times

November 24, 2008

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?sectionName=HomePage&id=1a9975a3-6c03-4f3e-8deb-ba0d2134b149&&Headline=Time+for+some+meditation

 

Jyotirmaya Sharma
November 23, 2008
First Published: 19:47 IST(23/11/2008)
Last Updated: 23:35 IST(23/11/2008)

An amusing spectacle is unfolding on most news channels these days: the top leadership of the BJP strenuously arguing that it is wrong to speak about ‘Hindu’ terrorism. These are the same people who demolished the Babri mosque, coining the slogan Garv se kaho hum Hindu hain (Say it with pride that we are Hindus). They are the same people who encourage and incite lumpens to attack M.F. Husain’s exhibitions in the name of preserving ‘Hindu’ culture. The same who glorified and justified the wilful killing of thousands of Muslims in a premeditated, planned and systematic fashion after the Godhra tragedy in the name of ‘Hindu’ pratishodh (reaction, retaliation). Among them are also people who have invented the most hateful, diabolical and misleading formulation in recent times, arguing that ‘all Muslims may not be terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims’. Among these very people are individuals who have flouted every norm and tenet, every single article of faith of the Indian Constitution in the name of preserving Hindu asmita (sense of self). Among them are also people who certify Jinnah’s secular credentials, but brand anyone talking about coexistence, civility and debate as pseudo-secularists.

Having said this, I agree with them that there is no ‘Hindu terrorism’, just as there is no ‘Islamic/Muslim terrorism’. But there is something called Sangh parivar terrorism, just as there is al-Qaeda terrorism. Neither Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur nor Osama bin Laden represent their respective faiths, nor do their organisations represent the people who they claim to represent. To push aside misplaced legalism, just as the charges against the sadhvi are yet to be proved in a court of law, even Osama bin Laden has not yet been indicted by a court of law anywhere in the world. The only difference between Osama and Pragya is that the former is unlikely to contest an election in the future and become a member of an elected body. In the case of Pragya Thakur, given the way in which criminal investigations are conducted, there is a strong possibility of her becoming a people’s representative, as she would only be following a ‘great’ tradition. Just as Osama hides in the impregnable mountains of Afghanistan, the likes of Pragya will hide behind the fig leaf of the democratic ‘will of the people’. This is why very few people in the country speak about political, electoral and administrative reforms, and the Indian polity has been penetrated by criminal elements of both communal and secular hues. If a hundred people tell a lie and another hundred believe in it, it does not become the truth — this classical formulation has been conclusively reversed in our country.

The predicament of the Sangh parivar is akin to having a tub bath, where one only floats in one’s own dirt and filth. From the 19th century onwards, apologists of Hindu nationalism have sought to portray Hinduism as a unified, seamless and monochromatic faith. The mess that is Hindutva is a result of this ideological confusion and intellectual laziness. While it argued, on the one hand, that Hinduism was a tolerant, peaceful, inward-looking, all-embracing faith; on the other hand, there was a call to all Hindus to regain their Kshatriyahood and resort to the virtues of biceps and the Bhagvad Gita.

Every proponent of Hindu nationalism encouraged and promoted the idea of retaliatory violence, be it Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo or V. Savarkar, in the name of preserving righteousness and a fictional unbroken, centuries-old Hindu tradition. All of them were ensnared by 19th century definitions of religion and attempted to mould their own faith, as they understood it, in ways that were alien to the diverse strands of ‘Hinduism’.

Without exception, all Hindu nationalists from the 19th century onwards argued that religion was the core of Hindu nationalism, and moreover, that it was the only core of nationalism. They further argued that if the former was true, then, nationalism was the only religion. It is this formulation that allows the likes of Vajpayee and Advani to argue, to this day, that Hindutva stands for idealism whereas nationalism is their ideology. They say so in the belief that this linguistic and rhetorical contortion will go unnoticed, and it often does. It also manifests in contemporary times as Indian middle-class aspirations of envisioning India as an economic and military superpower. Very little time and energy are expended in discussing the constellation of values that will constitute the heart of this putative superpower. Like their 19th century predecessors, the Hindutva votaries are satisfied as long as they can vanquish their real and imagined enemies, at home and abroad, and impose their national socialist understanding of the idea of will to power.

No nation is either entirely tolerant or wholly wedded to violence. Any civilisation is a composite of the pure and the tainted, and from the struggle between the two emerge values that are sublime, civilised and truly human. This struggle is neither a given, nor is it a zero-sum game, and it impels human beings to make choices. Choosing peace, tolerance, civility and truth is not a sign of weakness as the apologists of violence and retribution will make people believe, but a way of sublimating the beast within us. Buddha, Mahavir and Gandhi were not weak men. Why, then, are their spiritual children afraid to take this crucial leap? I posed this question to a Japanese writer, who also writes on questions of identity and nationalism. He paused for a moment and said: ‘They did not have the burden of contesting and winning elections.’

(Jyotirmaya Sharma is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Hyderabad)G

Our terror, their terror – By Vir Sanghvi – Hindustan Times

November 23, 2008

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print.aspx?Id=127e1ae8-03bb-4bd3-ab47-9fe29fb3980f

Our terror, their terror

Counterpoint | Vir Sanghvi

Hindustan Times (Nov. 22, 2008)

Shortly before LK Advani spoke at the HT Summit on Friday, I was
chatting to Ajit Doval.  Though he is not yet a household name, Doval
is a former director of the Intelligence Bureau who was close to
Advani when the latter was Home Minister and he will probably be
National Security Advisor if the BJP comes to power.

As Advani has – by his own admission – been reluctant to say very much
about the allegations of terrorism against various militant Hindus, I
asked Doval how he viewed the arrests and the claims made by the Anti
Terror Squad (ATS).

Doval’s response was that the term ‘Hindu terror’ worried him. There
were, he said, two dimensions to any battle against terror. The first
was law and order. You should treat all terrorists as murderers
regardless of their religions, ethnic origins or whatever.

But the second one had to do with their cause. You always avoided, he
said, any nomenclature that helped terrorists broaden their
constituencies. So, in the 1980s, you never ever used the phrase ‘Sikh
terrorists’ no matter how many bombs exploded. And in the 21st
century, care was taken to refer to ‘Jehadi terrorists’. If you said
‘Muslim terrorists’, you suggested, however subliminally, that the
terrorists represented all Muslims – which of course, they do not.

It was a perceptive point and one that Advani also made in his speech
at the Summit. Though he refused to be drawn further on the subject –
despite an excellent question from an IBN7 correspondent – Advani said
that he was unhappy with the phrase ‘Hindu terrorists’.

I have no real problem with Advani and Doval’s position. The bombers
do not represent Hindus, and yes, there is a danger that Hindus may
subliminally feel that the terrorism was conducted on their behalf if
we refer to those accused of the killings as Hindu terrorists.

But listening to Doval, I got to thinking about the extent to which
the allegations of ‘Hindu terror’ have changed all the rules.

I have always been suspicious of the claims advanced by various police
forces about their successes in the fight against terror. One simple
fact should illustrate why I believe my skepticism is well-founded:
the police keep changing their minds about who is behind the blasts –
and yet, each time they claim to have cracked a case, they advance
these claims with an air of certitude.

Take the Samjhauta Express bombing. When it took place, we were
assured with great authority that the bombers were jehadis, acting
under instructions from Pakistani terror outfits. Now, we are being
told that they were the Hindus who the ATS has in custody.

To go from blaming Pakistani jehadis to pinning the blasts on militant
Hindus is a 180-degree about-turn. Yet our security services show no
embarrassment about the complete shift in stance.

Or, take the example of the last spate of bombings. Four different
police forces have arrested four different ‘masterminds’. Men who were
described as being in the Osama bin Laden league are suddenly not
talked about at all.

All this is indisputable. And if you enter the more controversial area
of encounters, the police come off even worse. Nobody seriously
disputes that many of the people killed in so-called encounters have
actually been shot in custody. The dispute is over whether they were
ever terrorists to begin with. Once a suspect is dead, the police
don’t have to bother with evidence. They make whatever claims they
like and when you challenge these, they resort to the obviously bogus
explanation: “If he was not a terrorist, then why was he firing at the
police?”(Which, of course, he wasn’t….)

There’s more. None of us doubts that torture is routinely used to
extract information from suspects. And, by and large, this practice
has widespread public support.

Consequently, when any of the suspects or their lawyers or human
rights organisations protest about torture, we pay no attention. Of
course, the police are going to use third degree methods, we say. It’s
a question of saving lives.

Such is the attitude of many of India’s politicians – and especially
those in the BJP – that to raise even the most obvious questions about
claims advanced by the police, is to act in an ‘anti-national manner’.
How dare we demoralise our security forces, we are told.

I know this from personal experience. Every time I have raised
questions about encounter-killings or excessive claims made by police
forces, I have been roundly condemned.

The most notorious instance was the famous Ansal Plaza encounter where
the police took two suspects to the parking lot of a shopping mall and
shot them. Then they announced that they had foiled a terrorist
strike. Advani was Home Minister (and Doval was number two in IB) and
he congratulated the police and associated himself with that ‘triumph
in the war against terror’.

When the HT queried the police version, even those BJP leaders who
should have known better called us anti-national and questioned my
patriotism.

We do not know yet whether the recent Batla House encounter was
conducted in the way the police claim it was. But given that there
were legitimate questions to be raised, and given that the police have
a record of lying, it was entirely understandable for people to ask
for explanations. But even then, those who raised questions were
called unpatriotic.

I was reminded of all this while listening to Advani and Doval because
the Sangh Parivar has now conducted a 180 degree about-turn on the
police version of terrorist arrests. Worse still, the BJP now says
that the Anti Terror Squad frames innocent suspects.

To recognise how astonishing the BJP’s about-turn is, think of it this
way. Suppose those accused of terrorism were not Hindus but Muslims.
Suppose it wasn’t a sadhvi but an imam.

How would the BJP have reacted?

First, it would have emphasised the ‘jehadi conspiracy against India’
angle to make Hindus insecure. Then, it would have condemned those of
us who questioned the arrests as traitors.

Assume now that Muslim organisations had banded together to attack the
police in the way that the Sangh Parivar and assorted sadhvis and
sants recently did. We would have been told how shameful it was that
Muslim leaders had ‘communalised’ the situation. The BJP would have
suggested that the Muslim leadership actually approved of the
terrorism. And it would have been said that the spectacle of mullahs
and politicians coming together to question the institutions of a
secular state demonstrated that Muslims had no real loyalty to India.

And yet, the way in which the BJP has responded to the arrests goes
far, far beyond anything that Muslim organisations have done or said.

If it was anti-national to question the Ansal Plaza encounter, then,
by that same yardstick, Rajnath Singh is a traitor for running down
our anti-terrorist squads.

Even Advani, who clearly recognises that there is a double-standard
involved, has written to the Prime Minister complaining about the
torture of one of the suspects. But if a Muslim politician had
demanded that the Delhi police do not torture a Muslim blast suspect,
the BJP would have vilified him.

It is not my case that the Hindus accused of violence are guilty –
they are innocent until the police can prove otherwise in a court of
law. But the BJP cannot take the line that when the cops arrest
so-called Muslim terrorists, they are never to be challenged.

It’s only when they arrest Hindus that we can accuse them of framing
the suspects!

That shameful double-standard exposes the hypocrisy and prejudice at
the root of the BJP’s approach to terror. The party is not really on
the side of the police at all. All that sanctimonious nonsense about
how it is ‘unpatriotic to question our brave security forces’ is
quickly forgotten the moment Hindus are arrested.

We can now see what the BJP’s message to the police really is: arrest
all the Muslims you want; we will back you unthinkingly. But if you
dare arrest a Hindu for terrorist violence, we will attack you from
the highest platforms.

So yes, Advani and Doval are right. We should not use the phrase
‘Hindu terrorists’. But that’s because we shouldn’t communalise
terror. Not because no Hindus are terrorists. Or because all Muslims
are.

And one more thing: now that the entire Sangh Parivar says it is our
patriotic duty to claim that the police tell lies, frame innocent
people and fabricate cases, can all of us who were called
anti-national for merely raising a few questions get an apology
please?

It’s the least Rajnath Singh can do.

— counterpoint@hindustantimes.com

Hindu Terrorism – Editorial – Urdu Times, Urdu Daily, Mumbai

November 14, 2008

Urdu Times, Urdu Daily, Mumbai

 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

 

Editorial

 

Hindu Terrorism

 

Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) has achieved the spectacular success in opening the Pandora’s Box of Hindu terrorism. However, the same Pandora’s Box could be instantly slammed close, if and when RSS’s protégé BJP led coalition, the NDA, forms its government at the center and comes to power in various states. Some experts are of the firm opinion that whoever forms the next government at the center and in the states, the genie of Hindu Terrorism cannot be pushed back into the bottle easily. A third group of analysts hold that the whole card of Hindu Terrorism has been played to political mileage. As for the public may have come to regard Hindu Terrorism as open secret now, for the ruling political parties, governments and state security agencies it never was a secret any time ever. After Nanded, Ghatkoper and Kanpur bomb explosions, lower level police machinery was fully aware of everything that the explosion represented. Except for the Tankashi bomb blast, the pattern of all the three blast was very much the same. At administrative level, Tankashi and Kannur go to complete the picture. That is that all the explosions happened during bomb making and all those died while preparing the bombs, belonged to the same Sangh Parivar (RSS, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal. For comparative identification and grouping, we can line up Tankashi with Malegaon and Modasa. According to police and ATS in these three places, people from Sangh Parivar’s affiliates – Abhinav Bharat, Hindu Vahini, ABVP and RSS were involved who with help from some current and past (retd) Army officers had been instrumental in planning and executing the terrorist bomb blasts. On the other hand, in fact, there has never been one single incident, when a Muslim had been either found dead while making bombs or had been caught while making bombs. No material for bomb making or no ready bombs were found from any home of a Muslim, nor from any riverbed near any Muslim’s house, nor from any nearby pond or well. Besides, former Chief Minister of Digvijay Singh is on record for publicly announcing that RSS has been involved in bomb making for a long time and proof of that bomb making operations have been duly sent to the Central authorities. However, till today nrither any organisation of the Sangh Parivar has been declared as terrorist organisation, nor any restrictions were imposed nor associates of those who died in bomb-making incidents have been arrested as terrorists. In sharp contrast, those Muslims arrested in wrongly accused charge of bombings, and the organisations to which they belonged were declared as terrorist organisation without any delay whatsoever. On all these, charges were framed under the old Tada, Pota, Mcoca, Gujcoca acts and Sangh Parivar has declared as unpatriotic and treason, the very act of legally defending these accused. On the other hand, Hindu Yuva Vahini chief Yogi Adityanath had challenged Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Maharashtra‘s Home Minister R. R. Patil, that if they have courage, they should personally come and arrest him. ATS seeks to question the Yogi about those arrested, Sadhvi and her co-accused in the Malegaon and Modasa cases. Meanwhile, beside Shiv Sena, a whole army of Sanghi Hindutva intellectuals, journalists, think tanks is lined up to forcefully support the accused terrorists. They condemn the ongoing debate in media over the Hindu terrorism. In Economic Times (Wednesday, November 12, 2008), on the same lines, an article by P. R. Ramesh is published in which he writes: “Propagandists on the Left-Liberal brigade have created the perception that the threat from the Hindu groups is graver than that from the radical Islamic groups.” One thing is very clear from the attitude of the Sanghi propagandists that ‘Hindu Terrorism’ is now a fact, but now that this Pandora’s box has opened up, it is difficult to ignore it, as all sympathisers of Hindu terrorism are justifying it as ‘REVENGE ATTACKS’. The real intent of ATS and its political supporters will be revealed within the next 6 or 7 months when coming elections are over and the new governments in center as well as in states will be in the saddle. Still our firm belief is that divine ways of punishment is not necessarily with sound and fury and the world may conspire in whatever manner it chooses, Allah’s will be done.