Posts Tagged ‘RSS’

DEFEAT OF AN IDEA – HAS THE BJP LOST OUT TO HINDUISM – BY ASHISH NANDY AND SHOMA CHAUDHRY – TEHELKA

June 21, 2009





HAS THE BJP LOST OUT TO HINDUISM?

ASHISH NANDY INTERPRETS THE SUDDEN DECLINE OF THE RIGHT WING

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Sunday, 21 June 2009
 
 
From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 25, Dated Jun 27, 2009
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opinion

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Hindutva is embarrassed by Hinduness. A new generation of confident Indians has started to move beyond its logic of fear and hate. Will the BJP be able to seize this moment for creative reinvention?

ASHIS NANDY with SHOMA CHAUDHURY

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Save the Nation Youth being trained at a RSS shakha 
Photos: AP

THE CASCADING crisis within the BJP since May 16 and their confused debate about the role Hindutva has played in their electoral defeat tells a fascinating story. It would be premature to read any of this as a signal of either the disintegration of the party or Hindutva, but one could safely say the idea of Hindutva has been defeated by India for the moment. Put on a backburner and challenged to reinvent itself.

The BJP’s dependence on Hindutva as its defining characteristic was bound to become problematic for it. Data shows that less than 10 percent of Indians have ever voted for the BJP on ideological grounds. The Hindutva project was constructed on tapping into and fostering fear and a siege mentality within Hindus: a sense of being a minority in a country in which they are clearly a numerical majority. In itself, this was not a bad thing. You need a political party to ‘summit’ these emotions so you can manage them. The Republican Party in America, for instance, also encourages and allies with Christian fundamentalists. They know a small marginal part of the vote comes from there — small, but a crucial vote percentage. So they woo them pre-election. Post election, though, there could be indirect rewards but no official rewards are handed out to them. The BJP did not understand this art of political management. They did not learn how to treat Hindutva groups as merely a sect within them; they believed their entire existence depended on the ideology.

This whole ideological stand — making Hindutva their central official line – was a myopic mistake. (The RSS of course has never been in politics so their understanding of politics is even worse.) The Indian genius is to manage contradictions. Most people forget, the Congress Party, the original party of the freedom movement, allowed many of its members to simultaneously belong to both the Congress and the Hindu Maha Sabha or other Hindu nationalist formations. This was very prevalent in Bengal because a huge proportion of Bengali freedom fighters came from a background of Hindu nationalism. Tagore himself was a member of both the Congress and the Muslim League. It is because these political impulses were accommodated within the Congress as factions that they were easier to negotiate in the early years. The BJP’s dilemma is that it thought its existence was predicated on Hindutva: now that they have lost drastically, they think Hindutva has become a liability and should be jettisoned. But the fact is, the relationship between the BJP and Hindutva will only become more clandestine. The debate they are trying to have within the party is actually nothing more than a power struggle wearing the garb of ideological challenge.

Gandhi was no romantic. He knew that India could have its own version of a nation state

In itself, this power struggle is a healthy thing. Contrary to all the speculation around them, the BJP is not necessarily slated to disintegrate like the Janata Party. The Janata party was a coalition of factions; the BJP has merely become a party with factions. With Atal Behari Vajpayee and LK Advani past their time, all the top posts are vacant. If the BJP wants to survive and do reasonably well, they should “do a Congress”: they should find a Narasimha Rao or Manmohan Singh to lead them. All their current and prominent leaders are too high-pitched.

The BJP may be short-sighted in analysing its defeat dominantly through the Hindutva lens, but its electoral defeat does point to a kind of defeat of Hindutva itself. At the core of the Hindutva project is a war between Hindusim and Hindutva that is around 150 years old. It began in the middle of the 19th century, when ideas of Hindtuva began to take shape with the Hindu reform movements. In a sense, the defeat of Hindutva today is also a defeat of the West because the Hindutva project was one of the last remnants of the colonial West in Indian consciousness.

TODAY, BOTH detractors and defenders of Hindutva are confused about what it stands for. The truth may not be palatable to many, but Hindutva grew out of an admiration of the western European nation state and our attempt to have an indigenous form of it. When Veer Savarkar, the Hindutva fountainhead, insisted that Hindus must not read the Vedas and Upanishads but read science and technology and western political theory, this is what he had in mind. He was looking for a way to transform a chaotic, diverse, anarchic society into an organising principle for a masculine, western-style nation state, something akin to Bismarck’s Germany.

To achieve this, the Hindutva project required Indians to repudiate their Indianness, and Hindus to repudiate their Hinduness. That was part of the war. It required a chaotic, diverse society to homogenise itself into something that could be more globally acceptable and to live according to European norms. Again, public memory is short. Few people remember that Savarkar was very secular in his personal life – in the western sense. He refused to have his funeral rights according to Hindu custom; he wanted his body taken for cremation in a mechanised vehicle rather than the shoulders of relatives. He also refused to give his wife a Hindu funeral though women members of the Hindu Mahasabha sat in front of his house on a dharna.

Reformers were trying to produce tamed versions of religion able to sustain pan-Indian nationalism

Savarkar’s main criticism of Gandhi, in fact, was that he was unscientific, irrational and illiterate in modern political theory. He was wrong about that. Gandhi did understand political theory, but it had deeper roots, taken not only from Indian society but from the dissenting West. Gandhi did not believe in the modern nation state or in conventional ideas of nationality, nation and nationalism. He went on record to say that armed nationalism is no different from imperialism. At that point in our history, he seemed a romantic fuddy duddy. The fact is, he was way ahead of his time. He understood that India was particularly well-equipped to craft its own version of a modern nation state. It was under no obligation to follow European textbook definitions of the nation state. The irony is that today many western nations are moving away from the old model and becoming more flexible: 14 countries in Europe do not maintain any armies and have opened their borders to become the European Union. On the other hand, because of our colonial past, India and China are two of the purest forms of 19th century nation states you can find in the world today. Tagore’s friend, Brahmobandhab Upadhyay, a Catholic who called himself a ‘Hindu Christian’. Vivekananda himself said the ideal Indian would be one who had a Hindu mind and a Muslim body. But very early in his intellectual journey, Savarkar decided mere geography was too insipid a basis for nationality and began to advocate a more strident Hindu nationalism. The distasteful, clenched-teeth hatred of Muslims and other minorities associated with Hindutva took root then.

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Club members Ganesh puja in Mumbai
Photos: SHAILENDRA PANDEY
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Spine straight The Hindutva project wanted to cast Hindus in Islamic and Protestant Christian mould
Photos: AP
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Multiple ledgers Two urchins celebrate Diwali 
Photos: AP

After its defeat this election, the BJP feels its middleclass base has moved away from it because it is disenchanted with Hindutva. This, perhaps, is not entirely true. The Indian middle-class has a natural affinity with the less strident aspects of Hindutva. Primarily, this is because the RSS and BJP had very strong links with the Hindu reform movements, particularly the Arya Samaj. Both Munje and Hedgewar, though, were also inspired by Ramakrishna. The project was very clear. There was a seamless continuity between these reform movements and European concepts of a nation state. This continuity began to transform Hinduism and partly led to a form of religion compatible with a modern nation state – in the same way that Protestant Christians in Europe had become more comfortable with the nation state, industrial capitalism and secularism. In many ways, all Indian religious reformers were trying to produce house-broken, tamed versions of religion which could sustain a pan- Indian consciousness and pan-Indian nationalism. All these reformers had internalised aspects of masculine Protestant Christianity. Angarik Dharmapal’s Maha Bodhi society in Calcutta, in fact, produced a kind of Protestant Buddhism which the Sri Lankans find very convenient for their majoritarian state. Hindu society was even more diverse and cruel. Anyone wedded to the conventional idea of a nation state naturally found it too chaotic, unmanageable and subversive. The idea of Hindutva was supposed to be something Hindus could hold on to and yet remain good citizens of a modern nation.

The middle-class — which is the most privileged and therefore naturally most invested in the conventional notion of the nation state — is therefore also a natural constituency for Hindutva and its version of Hindusim. In Savarkar’s fearsome novel Kala Pani, the only futuristic novel produced by a Hindutva ideologue, he paints a (for him utopian) vision of a future India that will be a totally homogenous society. People would marry across caste and sect and language and become good, pan-Indian citizens — almost like the over-insipid, boring, lowest common denominator Indians one sees nowadays in India’s metropolises. Indians with no difference in language or custom: everyone speaking in the same accents, everyone having the same choice in music, cinema, clothes. Absolutely homogenised — almost like uniform clones.

SAVARKAR WAS prescient because this, in fact, is almost a mirror image of contemporary urban middle class Indians. A class that has access to a globalised economy, speaks English as its primary language, and is shaped by a uniform media. What resonance does this new-generation Malayali or Bengali or Tamilian brought up in Delhi have with the vernacular Hindusim of his grandparents, or even parents? Do all those myriad gods and goddesses with strange names, family priests, ishta dev and ishta devis make any sense to them? What is emerging instead is a pan-Indian Hinduism that allows you to dip into a bit of Onam and a bit of Diwali and a bit of Durga puja, and not be too deeply invested in any of it. Contrary to the ‘milleniaold’ milleniaold’ tradition Hindutva ideologues claim they are a part of, this new kind of Hinduism is a very new faith. It is no more than 150 years old. It was born in the 19th century and is directly inspired by Protestant Christianity in the wake of the Arya Samaj. And this faith is also a kind of lack of faith. You can carry it with you wherever you go. It is a kind of laptop Hinduism.

The Hindutva project in India is destined not to ever occupy centre space though, because it is challenged by Hinduism. When one talks of this Hinduism which is 4,000 years old, we have in mind a religion or tradition – a sentiment — that might be shrinking everyday but still moves a majority in India. It is this concept of faith — diverse, local, intimate and highly ritual — that most Indians live with. Apart from economic reasons and the crunch on jobs and infrastructure, one of the reasons why the Shiv Sena could garner so much support for their opposition to the influx of Biharis in Mumbai was the proliferation of chhat puja. The Mumbai-wallahs felt threatened, there was a sense of ‘itni chhatt puja kahan se aa gayi’? The Biharis would have had less of a hostile backlash if they had participated in the Ganesh pujas instead. Interestingly, there are many more Durga pujas in Mumbai and Delhi than in Kolkata, but there is no hostility against this because it has graduated into an all- India phenomenon. Chhathasn’t — yet.

The ‘millenia-old’ tradition Hindutva ideologues claim is actually a very new faith

It would be a mistake to conflate the occasional eruption of these hostilities with a belief that the idea of India’s plural traditions is a romantic myth. Religious groupings and sects — within Hinduism, and even between different religions — have always participated in each other’s local festivals, but they were not homogenised into an anodyne laptop religion. India was not an imitation of the Enlightenment model, in which you are deemed cosmopolitan only when you feel the other person to be completely equal. In traditional Indian societies, you are equal only in the sense that you have the right to think the other community is inferior to you, and the other person has a right to think you are inferior to them — even though neither of you might say so openly. In a homogenised, individualised society, the former is seen as cosmopolitanism. In a communitybased society, it is the latter cosmopolitanism that works.

In this continuing war between traditional, chaotic, diverse Hinduism and ordering, homogenising Hindutva, the BJP’s electoral defeat is a sign that Hindusim (which is by far the stronger force in electoral numbers) has defeated Hindutva. Hindutva expects Indians to live according to European norms of nationhood. But we are Indians: we are incorrigible, cussed, we have learnt to live with contradictions for centuries, we have learnt to live with chaos and ill-defined, half-baked ideas. We also want to keep options open for the next generation. These are the attributes that have ensured our survival when so many other major civilisations have failed. These are attributes that the BJP has to find ways to accommodate and respond to.

(I once interviewed Madanlal Pahwa — one of the Hindu militants who was among Gandhi’s assasins — in his old age. Ultimately, his most memorable years were of his childhood spent in a district in Pakistan’s West Punjab, which had Baba Farid’s mazar. There was a religious fair he would go to where qawwalis were sung. He called himself a kattar Hindu but that’s what his most nostalgic memories were about. This tells you something. We Indians are accustomed to living with multiple ledgers. He was a Hindutva wallah and all his language came from there, but his memories came from elsewhere.)

None of these arguments add up to an assertion that Hindutva will die out. What is true, though, is that, unless it metamorphoses, it will never enjoy the same vigour it did in past decades because it is inherently uncomfortable and embarrassed by Indianness and traditional Hinduism. For a generation newly emergent from colonial dominance, there was a fascination and sense of respectful subordination to things Western. But with this new post-independent, post-colonial generation, things are different. Indians have gone back to their own rhythms now, so even for the middle-classes, Manmohan Singh’s ‘West’ — with its idea that anyone can be a Tata or Ambani — is more attractive to many than Savarkar’s ‘West’. The aspiration for a global, material identity has overtaken cultural identity.

There is much Advani has to answer for, but he is quite a tragic figure. No one has read hm right

GIVEN BOTH the perceived and electoral defeat of Hindutva, it will be interesting to see what future route the BJP charts for itself. In many ways, Advani is a tragic figure. It is possible that no one has yet been able to read him correctly. Unlike Vajpayee, Advani had lived in a Hindu minority state and went to a Christian missionary convent. Having lived in a Muslimmajority state, Muslims were not unknown to him, and, perhaps, he did not feel the intrinsic discomfort expected of him. He was a part of the RSS – and probably believed in it — but there is a strong possibility that he also recognised in some ways that Hindutva was a political instrument rather than an all-encompassing ideology.

There is much Advani has to answer for. He is culpable for the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and cannot escape history’s judgement by saying he was talking of Ram as a cultural icon and not a religious figure. He knew he was creating an explosive communal situation. But his party’s reaction to his statement on Jinnah makes him tragic. There was nothing new he said about Jinnah – it is an indication of where our political culture has reached that no one seemed to understand this. Strangely enough, despite a tremendous difference in personality, like Savarkar, Jinnah was a person who thought entirely in Western liberal terms. Their ideological bouquet were almost exactly the same. Advani was only recognising that when he called Jinnah secular. Pakistan’s first law minister was a Hindu, its first national anthem was also written by a Hindu, upon Jinnah’s invitation. Both men shared the idea that nationality is crucial in a nation state and a certain amount of violence and bloodshed is normal in the jostling for dominance. In fact, Jinnah was less accepting of this notion of violence than Savarkar.

Advani tried to cast himself as a statesman in the Vajpayee mould, but could not repudiate his past. At the same time, he could not project himself as an ideologue that could be cast in a heroic mould as, say, Narendra Modi seems to have become for the Gujarati people. He did wear different masks at different times in his career to take political advantage, but it is possible he personally remained somewhat distanced from all of them.

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Shadow play LK Advani ; perhaps the BJP now needs a leader who can lower the temperature of the party
Photos: SHAILENDRA PANDEY
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Soul competition Middle-class Hindus today have a kind of laptop religion, easy to carry around
Photos: REUTERS

But this only intensifies the riddles for the BJP because it is quite possible that Narendra Modi too has passed his zenith. This election has indicated a decline in his popularity. The problem is, he did not leave any escape routes for himself, not even a cosmetic apology or expression of regret for the events in Gujarat 2002. This is likely to haunt his entire career. So the search for the correct leader has become the BJP’s biggest challenge – a leader who can lower the divisiveness and high temperature the party has become associated with.

But other questions remain for the party. If the BJP abandons Hindutva, what shape can its right of centre politics take? Its economic program cannot stretch too right of center because a majority of Indians live outside the spoils of the neo-liberal economic system. If only for electoral gains, they have to be accommodated.

What this means is that the BJP could be headed for a different kind of ideology, in which Hindutva will play a part, but there will be other competing concepts. There is no reason why Hindutva itself cannot take on a more benign form. Tagore, for instance, makes extremely powerful arguments for Hindutva in his novel Gora. This was a response to both Kipling’s Kim and Savarkar, and almost anticipated Gandhi in some ways. But even if the BJP and RSS’ think tanks are unable to come up with such innovations, it is quite certain that the party will retain some links with the ideology, and even if it is not part of its functioning ideology, it will be a party more tolerant of Hindutva groups.

VAJPAYEE, FOR instance, held Hindutva as a kind of vague, emotional frame. There’s no problem with that; in fact, it’s probably necessary in the Indian context. As Nawaz Sharif told Vajpayee, as part of the Muslim League and BJP, they were best positioned to break fresh ground in Indo-Pak relations as neither of their constituencies could accuse them of being wishywashy liberals. Above everything else though, like the Maoists who were encouraged to come overground and become part of the democratic process, the Hindu right wing must be politically accommodated. They cannot be annihilated or wished away, just as the Naxals could not be wished away. (Charu Mazumdar’s group in Bengal was wiped out with police action, but in barely 30 years Naxalism has come back again with greater force. These are idealistic people. It is a pity they have opted for the gun, but the problems they represent are real. Sitting in urban citadels, one might imagine that one can solve these problems over a 100 years and wait for some “trickle down” effect, but if millions of people are condemned to die in the meantime, one cannot expect everyone to remain unmoved.) In the same way, there are rump groups who are rabid enough to believe they should break down the Babri Masjid. They cannot just be wished away. They have to be politically accommodated and tamed.

The Mughal empire has some lessons that could be of great significance to contemporary India. The empire was so successful that the British left the Mughal system intact for 100 years. Even the Delhi Durbar of 1911 followed all conventions of a Mughal court. It allowed different levels of allegiance to the centre. The Jaipur Maharaja, for instance, was closer to Mughal Delhi than a sultan in Bengal: this meant he had more power and influence, nothing more.

The BJP has been demanding Article 370 should be abolished and the Uniform Civil Code brought in to India. These are legitimate demands in a European-style modern nation state. But why must we follow that route? Instead of hedging on Article 370, one should use it more effectively – go the whole hog with it. Why didn’t we give Article 370 to Sikkim instead of gobbling it up? Why didn’t we give it to Nagaland, rather than go in for 30 years of bloodshed which has made a whole generation bitter? If there is a worry that it is a border state, why not innovate and come up with Article 370 (a) – which defines more and less rights, with a clause put in for renegotiation at a later date? This would have increased the maneuverability of the Indian state immensely.

Savarkar’s novel Kala Pani covets exactly what the middle-class is today: insipid, boring, uniform

As Gandhi intuited, we are uniquely well-equipped to design our own version of a nation state. By pure default, we have gone in for some innovations — Indian secularism is one example. Both secularists and communalists complain about its compromises. But we will last as a society only as long as we compromise. The moment we try to harden it into something too defined, things collapse.

The current upheaval could be a creative moment both for the BJP and the RSS. Unlike the RSS heads that have gone before him, Mohanrao Bhagwat is not a very conspicuous ideologue. Nobody expects anything out of him. Because of this, he has the opportunity to be truly creative. But westernised Brahmins and modernity can be a lethal combination. It cuts you off from your native Indian genius. So will they be able to spot the moment?

 
From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 25, Dated Jun 27, 2009

A running thread of deep saffron – By Christophe Jaffrelot – The Indian Express

January 29, 2009

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/a-running-thread-of-deep-saffron/416409/

 

A running thread of deep saffron

 

Christophe Jaffrelot

Posted: Jan 29, 2009 at 1107 hrs IST

The people behind the Malegaon terrorist attack fell into three categories — Sangh parivar cadres, army men and old Savarkarites. The first person to be arrested by the police, Pragya Singh, was a sadhvi and former ABVP leader. A second group of the accused comprised army men, retired or not, related to the Bhonsle Military School (BMS). Major Ramesh Upadhyay, a former defence services officer was arrested first, but the key figure was Lt Col Prasad Purohit, who had approached Upadhyay when he was posted at Nasik as liaison officer. Purohit and Upadhyay imparted military training to young activists — including bomb making — and were instrumental in getting arms and explosives. 

Most of the training camps took place in the BMS, which had been directed by Rtd Major P.B. Kulkarni between 1973 and 1988, andwho had been associated with the RSS since 1935. In fact, the Bajrang Dal organised training camps in the BMS (Nagpur) as early as 2001. The five accused mentioned above were all members of Abhinav Bharat, a Pune-based movement initiated by Purohit in June 2006, whose working president was Ramesh Upadhyaya but whose president was none other than Himani Savarkar, V.D. Savarkar’s daughter in law, who also headed the Hindu Mahasabha.  

The people, the places and the modus operandi are revealing of the continuity that underlines the Hindu tradition of terror, harking back to V.D. Savarkar. The young, revolutionary Savarkar had created the first Abhinav Bharat Society in 1905. The movement drew its name and its inspiration from Mazzini’s ‘Young Italy’, but was also influenced by Frost Thomas’s Secret Societies of the European Revolution, a book dealing mostly with the Russian nihilists. The movement was dissolved in 1952, but ten years back, just before finishing his term as Hindu Mahasabha president, Savarkar had created the Hindu Rashtra Dal, another militia whose mission was to impart military training to the Hindus in order to fight the Muslims, Gandhi’s followers and the Mahatma himself. This movement cashed in on the work of the same institution — the Bhonsle Military School, started in 1935 by B.S. Moonje, another Nagpur-based Savarkarite, after a European tour which had exposed him to Mussolini’s Balilla movement.

Like the Abhinav Bharat of today, the Hindu Rashtra Dal attracted Hindutva-minded Maharashtrian Brahmins — especially from Poona — who found the RSS insufficiently active. Some of them also had connections to the British Army.

Nathuram Godse and N.D. Apte, the two main architects of Gandhi’s assassination, are cases in point. Godse thought that RSS strategy contented itself with “organisation for the sake of organisation”. The Hindu Rashtra Dal, by contrast, organised training camps where volunteers learnt how to manufacture bombs and use guns from bicycles and cars. The key instructor was N.D. Apte who had served the army as Assistant Technical Recruiting Officer. In this capacity, he could use the War Service Exhibitions — which were intended to attract young Indians to the army — to initiate Hindu Rashtra Dal members into the art of modern arms.

The Hindu Rashtra Dal’s terrorist agenda culminated in the assassination of Gandhi, who had already been a Savarkarite target before — in 1934, they threw a bomb in Poona Municipal Town Hall where Gandhi was making a speech against untouchability.  

While today’s Abhinav Bharat belongs to an old tradition harking back to Savarkar and even Tilak, the new element here lies in the implication of one serving officer of the Indian army. Certainly, any institution can have a black sheep. But was he that isolated? He has already named other officers who would have been his more or less passive accomplices and his colleague, Upadhyay, who once headed the Mumbai unit of the BJP’s ex-servicemen cell. The BJP, indeed, inducted ex-army men in large numbers since the 1990s. After the BJP came to power in 1998, two dozens ex-servicemen more joined the party. This inflow of ex-army men may reflect the increasingly communal atmosphere of the institution. In December 2003, a survey by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies for Tehelka, one of the first among army men — and probably the most comprehensive — showed that 19 per cent of the soldiers interviewed felt that the army practised some religious discrimination — and 24 per cent of the Muslims among them shared this view. 

Instead of distancing itself from the Hindu terrorists, as it had done in the 1940s, this time the Sangh Parivar has decided to support the Malegaon accused. Bajrang Dal chief Prakash Sharma declared that “policy makers should be worried if the Hindus were taking to arms because of the government’s skewed approach to war on terror” and admitted that the Bajrang Dal was running training camps too “to boost their morale [the Bajrang Dal’s members]. The country wouldn’t get its Abhinav Bindras if there were no armed training for the youth”.

In a way, the RSS, with the Bajrang Dal, has created a buffer organisation to handle the dirty work that the Sangh was earlier obliged to do itself — work similar to that of the Savarkarite organisations, whether they are called Hindu Rashtra Dal or Abhinav Bharat. 

     

The writer is a political scientist and South Asia specialist at CERI, Paris

Mumbai Carnage: The final Nail in Mumbai Police’s Coffin – By Amaresh Misra

December 24, 2008


Monday, December 22, 2008

Mumbai Carnage: The final Nail in Mumbai Police’s Coffin

By Amaresh Misra

It is 11.41 PM in India on 22nd December 2008 in India. Barely an hour ago, the Mumbai Police have come out with a statement, on the last day of the Indian Parliament, after AR Antulay, the Indian minority affairs minister was getting increasing support from all secular, Left and even BJP backed parties for his questioning of circumstances surrounding Hemant Karkare’s death and demand for a probe into the same.
The Police statement sounds like a Post Mortem report—but it not one, we are told—it is a statement on the kind of bullets Karkare received on his body. The statement says “four bullets were found on Hemant Karkare’s body; none of the four bullets found on Karkare’s body were from a Police weapon; Karkare was shot by terrorists and his death has nothing to do with the Malegaon blast investigations”.
I leave it to readers to draw their conclusions on the cruel joke which the Mumbai Police and the establishment behind it is playing with Indian, Muslim, Hindu and Marathi sentiments. Have you ever heard of a Police statement which explains that `none of the bullets found on Karkare’s body came from a Police weapon?’ And that his death had nothing to do with Malegaon investigations?
This is not a statement. It is a foolish defense—an epic slip of the official whip—of an indefensible truth—that Karkare was indeed killed by a Police weapon and that his death was a direct result of Malegaon Blast investigations.
The establishment—not just the RSS minded forces but also the pro-US, pro-Israel lobby in Congress and other `secular’ parties—seems frightened, especially by the stand taken by Muhammad Salim, the CPI-M MP, who along with Sandeep Dixit of the Congress, gave one of the best speeches in the Parliament when the debate on the Mumbai carnage began. Muhammad Salim is the young, modern face of the Indian Muslim and his coming out in Antulay’s favor was `dangerous’.
I am not drawing this conclusion—it is emerging from reading the Police version backwards, from the perspective of Edgar Allen Poe, Dashiell Hammett and Ibn-e-Safi. Common sense has deserted the Mumbai Police. This if any is God’s justice and nature’s revenge on killers and rapists like Rakesh Maria, the Joint Commissioner of Mumbai Police, and surprisingly and shockingly the chief investigator in the Mumbai carnage.
By issuing this statement when only a day is left for Parliament’s winter session, when both Antulay and this author were getting increasing support from ordinary Hindus and Muslims for their `conspiracy theories’, the Mumbai Police has admitted its guilt. If the Indian judicial system fails to punish the Mumbai or whichever Police killed Karkare, then God’s and people’s justice will take over.
The Police statement fails to address the basic questions: who sent Karkare, Salaskar and Kaamte to Cama hospital to get killed? Where is Karkare’s mobile phone? Who is the person he was talking to when his last footage was shown on TV? Why have Karkare’s calls not been traced through the satellite system? Karkare was given Z security—where was the Z security when Karkare went into the field? How can an ATS chief enter into a battle with terrorists without at least a dozen members of his 400 strong ATS team, equipped with semi-automatic weapons? Where was the Mumbai ATS team? There are three versions of the chain of events leading to Karkare’s death—which version is true which false?
Karkare was unveiling the uncomfortable truth that terror has a different side to it; according to Karkare’s investigations into the Malegaon blasts, terrorists did not come merely in the shape of `Muslim’ skull caps or beards or Pathan suits. They could also don the tika and pseudo-Hindu, anti-national, anti-Sanatani, anti-secular saffron robes.
For the first time since Independence, Karkare was not just taking the ever alive RSS backed Hindutva terrorism head on; he was wittingly or unwittingly challenging American and Israeli backed Islamophobia. Karkare was challenging directly CIA and Mossad—people who do not take this seriously, whether or not they believe in any `theory’, are simply dumb.
Imagine the repercussions had Karkare been allowed to go ahead with the full probe on Malegaon investigations. Imagine Praveen Togadia behind bars; imagine Narendra Modi behind bars; imagine even Sudarshan and LK Advani behind bars—above all imagine the nightmare of New York Times, Washington Post, Time magazine, Newsweek, The Economist and all pseudo-liberal newspapers who have gone along and played the American-Israeli game of demonizing Islam and creating the image of the `Islamic terrorist’, only and only because, after the demise of the Soviet Union, Islam is the only ideology left in the world possessing a concept of jihad or dharmayuddhya, i.e. a fight against injustice, and the only barrier in the way of the American-Israeli loot of Asian resources.
Imagine the discomfiture of even the Guardian newspaper for which Arundhati Roy’s generalized, superficially anti-American but pro-western-liberal-Imperialist stance, of a pseudo-girlish `oh-my-God’ kind of horror at dirty Indian realities—realities created by the west, but which the West prefers to look condescendingly at, an attitude Arundhati Roy never questions—is the most comfortable kind of third world liberalism that they can live with.
As the Government of India prepares for war with Pakistan at American-Israeli behest, a small happening, Hemant Karkare’s Post Mortem non-report/report, Mumbai Police’s `forced confession’, is standing in its way.
The battle for India’s souls has just begun—tomorrow do not believe a word of what headlines of leading Indian newspapers will scream. They are dead serious about their lies and half-truths—and they know it.
Just 500 meters away from Nariman House, there is a station of the Grenadier Battalion; it was ready to go into action at 11 PM on 26th November; timely action by this force could have saved hundreds of lives—but this battalion and other army units were not pressed into action till 5or 6 AM after the NSG arrived. Why this deliberate callousness? Who is responsible for these orders? Shouldn’t he or she, or hees and shees, be publicly hanged?
Mumbai Police is one of the strongest bastion, of RSS-underworld-Mossad-US alliance, which uses the ISI and a part of RAW as tools. Sonia Gandhi must realize this before it is too late. These forces killed her husband and her mother-in-law. They will not spare anyone. The CPI-M should also realize that as the Congress fails the historic duty of saving India from disintegration, chaos and fascist/colonial takeover rests on its shoulders. Let all Left, secular and patriotic forces see in the Mumbai carnage the first direct assault Mossad-CIA backed ISI, underworld and Hindutva agents on India’s sovereignty.
For those who do not believe that RSS can use Dawood (now a CIA asset) or Vice versa or that ISI can use RSS or Vice versa, what about Indranesh, an accused in the Malegaon Blast investigations taking Rs 3 Crores from the ISI, something mentioned by Karkare in the Malegaon file?

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CIA, MOSSAD HAND BEHIND SANGH PARIVAR’S EXTREMISTS! – Rashtriya Sahara, Urdu Daily, Mumbai

November 26, 2008

ViaMedia.MumbaiNews

http://www.viamedianews.com

FRONT-PAGE AND EDIT PAGE NEWS AND ANALYSIS FROM MUMBAI’S URDU NEWSPAPERS TRANSLATION FROM URDU FREE SERVICE FOR WORLD MEDIA

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rashtriya Sahara, Urdu Daily, Mumbai

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Front Page News

CIA, MOSSAD HAND BEHIND SANGH PARIVAR’S EXTREMISTS!

Central Intelligence Agencies vigilant investigating in the aftermath of Malegaon blast; Enquiry being held into the February 2007 visit of prominent Israeli religious delegation and meetings with Hindutvadi Sadhu, Sanths and political leaders; Mossad infiltration a cause of deep concern for Intelligence officials

New Delhi, November 25: (Agencies) – According to an exposé in a national daily published from Madhya Pradesh and several other cities, in the aftermath of the arrests of Sadhu, Sadhvi, and other extremist Hindutvadis as involved in the Malegaon bomb blast, Intelligence agencies are now concentrating on foreign connections of the radical Hindutvadis.

In an special report published by the national daily, it has exposed this sensational news that in central intelligence agencies are to be believed, extremist Hindutvadis have got support and motivation from Israeli secret agency, Mossad’s operations against the Arab and Muslim countries in the past.

The newspaper writes that relations between Mossad and CIA are world known. Report mentions that intelligence agencies are worried about the infiltration of Mossad and CIA in the country. According to undisclosed sources, Indian intelligence agencies are now examining the full details of the visit of Israel’s religious leaders to India and their meetings with Sadhu, Sanths. Intelligence agencies are investigating all those Hindu and Muslim leaders that the Israeli religious delegation had met.

According to the newspaper, it was during the rule of BJP’s Atul Behari Vajpayee; a beginning was made for the visits of Hindutvadis, and especially Sadhus and dharam gurus of the Sangh Parivar to Israel. These visits have been on the increase. It was during Vajpayee’s time, that the visits to Israel and consequently the relations and contacts of Sangh Parivar Dharam gurus and Hindutva leaders with Israel increased manifold.

According to the newspaper, for last ten years, the central intelligence agencies have been closely studying and analyzing the growing strength of Hindutvadi and Sangh Parivar organisations and the increasing violence through these organisations against Muslims, Christians, and minorities in Gujarat, Orissa, Karnataka and other states. Intelligence agencies have disclosed that the visits of Jews and Israeli rabbis was not very frequent in the past, but it has increased to worrisome proportions, during last few years. Of all, the most studied is the February 2007 visit to Delhi of the delegation of Israeli Jewish religious leaders. The delegation was headed by Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Yonah Metzger.

In this delegation, Jewish religious leaders from Israel as well as others rabbis from Belgium and Spain too were included. In India, the Israel Jewish religious delegation met important Hindutva leaders, which included especially the RSS Chief K. S. Sudharshan, President of VHP, Ashok Singhal, VHP leader Vishnu Hari Dalmia.

After the meeting of the Sadhu Sanths and Jewish leaders, both delegations had issued a common manifesto.

In this meeting, Jewish Rabbis expressed grave concern over the details of the terrorist attacks allegedly carried out by Muslims, as narrated by Hindu dharam gurus. Secret Service sources disclosed that at the invitation of Israeli Jewish religious leaders, a delegation of Hindutva leaders had visited Israel this year. In this, some leaders of Sangh Parivar too were included.

The national daily, published from Madhya Pradesh and other places, in its report has exposed that the officials of the national intelligence agencies have categorically stated that American secret service agency, CIA together with Israel’s secret organisation Mossad, has carried out several secret operation all over Asia.

And now that the bomb blast of Malegaon and Modasa had involved the names of the fake Shankaracharya Amaranand alias Dayanand Pande, Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, enquiries and investigation of relations between Jewish and Hindutva religious leaders from Israel and India are being severely felt and is being analyzed. This was disclosed by the newspaper report.

(Translation from Urdu)

Rashtriya Sahara, Urdu Daily, Mumbai

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Front Page News

Why investigation of Israeli connection of Hindutvadis?

New Delhi, November 25: The way ATS has arrested Hindutva extremists belonging to Sangh Parivar, in connection with Malegaon bomb blast, facts have emerged of international networking and support to Hindutva radicals. This has alarmed national intelligence community. India’s internal and external intelligence agencies and RAW have got busy trying to figure out if there is some big international conspiracy is being hatched behind the activities of hardline extremists of Sangh Parivar. According to secret sources, back in February 2007, an Israeli delegation headed by Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Yonah Metzger, and accompanied by several high ranking Jewish religious leaders, had visited India. This Jewish Religious delegation held meetings with many Sadhus, Sanths and Dharam gurus. The delegation also met some Muslim leaders. Now intelligence agencies have started investigations of the meetings of the Israeli delegation and local Sadhus, Sanths and dharam gurus. It is mentioned that the delegation of Israeli Jewish religious leaders has met leaders and dharam gurus from RSS, Sangh Parivar, VHP and BJP. Lal Krishna Advani had arranged a dinner for the visiting Israeli Jewish religious leaders’ delegation and others included in the delegation, at his own residence. According to high official, though the meeting of Sangh Parivar’s leaders to Israeli delegation is not of undue importance, but the way America’s secret service, CIA and Israel’s secret agency, Mossad, are infiltrating in Central Asian and South Asian countries, it is giving strength to the suspicions that in such delegations, members of foreign intelligence get included and through interaction and infiltration, secret operations are carried out. Those organisations that organise and support such visits and meetings, may or may not be aware of the secret mission of foreign agencies, the truth can come out only on investigations. For this reason, the national agencies are now concentrating on investigation of Sangh Parivar and its connections with Israeli lobby and Mossad.

(Translated from Urdu)

Togadia funded Abhinav Bharat, Sadhvi said ‘my people’ set off Malegaon bomb: Purohit to CBI – INDIAN EXPRESS

November 24, 2008

http://www.indianexpress.com/story_print.php?storyid=389786

Togadia funded Abhinav Bharat, Sadhvi said ‘my people’ set off Malegaon bomb: Purohit to CBI

Shishir Gupta

Posted online: Nov 24, 2008 at 0131 hrs

New Delhi, November 23 : Arrested Army officer Lt Col Prasad Purohit has told the CBI that VHP general secretary Pravin Togadia was involved in the formation and funding of Abhinav Bharat, the radical Hindu group at the centre of investigations into the September 29 Malegaon blast.
The officer has also said that Swami Aseemanand of Dangs had told him that Sunil Joshi — the man to whom Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur sold her motorcycle that was used in the Malegaon blast— was also involved in the Ajmer Sharif shrine bombing of October 11, 2007.

Sunil Joshi, whom Swami Aseemanand described to Purohit as “apna banda” (our man), was murdered in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh in the last week of December, 2007. The swami, originally Jatin Chatterjee of Bengal, is on the run.

The CBI interrogated Purohit in connection with its investigations into the May 18, 2007 blast at Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid.

Purohit is understood to have told interrogators the name of a serving Colonel of the Army, his neighbour in Panchmarhi, who attended key meetings of Abhinav Bharat, including one allegedly hosted by the senior New Delhi endocrinologist R P Singh in Faridabad in January this year.

The Army has denied that any of its officers besides Purohit is under the scanner in the Malegaon probe. Dr Singh has denied involvement in the blast conspiracy.

The CBI report records competing claims made by Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya on the Malegaon blast. Purohit claimed to have met Pragya on October 5, 2008 to tell her that “our people” had carried out the killings in Orissa, burnt down two churches in Karnataka, and also carried out the Malegaon blast. To which, says the CBI report, the Sadhvi retorted: how could Purohit claim that Abhinav Bharat had been responsible for the Malegaon blast, when it was actually her people who had carried out the attack?

Purohit told interrogators that one Prashant Hartalkar, who he identified as the VHP’s Maharashtra chief, had called him on the phone to say that Pravin Togadia wanted him to find out who was investigating the Nanded blast case. In April 2006, an explosion in the home of an alleged RSS worker in Nanded, Maharashtra, killed two men who were suspected to have been putting together a bomb.

The CBI report details plans by Abhinav Bharat to try and ultimately replace the RSS and VHP as the standard-bearer of the ‘Hindu cause’. Purohit claimed to have told VHP leader Eknath Rao Shete that “the RSS needs to change its dress code to attract the youth of the country”.

Purohit also gave details of the conspiracy to eliminate RSS leader Indresh Kumar for ‘getting Hindus killed in Nepal’. He admitted he had, at the behest of Dayanand Pandey (alias Sudhakar Dwivedi alias Mahant Amritanand) and the Pune-based veteran RSS leader Shyam Apte, given a weapon to one Alok, a colleague of the Kolkata-based radical Hindu activist Tapan Ghosh, on April 11-12, 2008 in Bhopal. Next month, he had sent 12 rounds of ammunition to Alok, meant to be used to kill Indresh.

Purohit told the CBI Pandey had asked him to get RDX or some other explosive as “Guru Agya”. But it is not clear if he actually got the explosives.

Pandey also made Purohit contact Dr R P Singh over the telephone in August 2007. The report quotes Singh as having told Purohit that Indresh had “sold off Hindus in Nepal”, a job for which he (Indresh) had been given Rs 3 crore by the ISI. Purohit conveyed this to Togadia, who said that he already knew about this.

Purohit’s interrogation report includes several other details:

• Purohit first met Togadia in February 2006 in Nashik at the home of the local VHP unit head Vinayak. In December that year, he met Togadia in Mumbai and apprised him of the Abhinav Bharat concept. In March-April 2007, Togadia told Purohit over the phone the names of donors to the trust. In August-September, 2007, Togadia gave him Rs 2 lakh, which were subsequently passed on to Abhinav Bharat’s Samir Kulkarni. On August 2, 2008, Togadia severely reprimanded Purohit for breaking up the VHP’s Madhya Pradesh unit.

• On February 2, 2008, Shyam Apte gave Rs 2 lakh to Purohit, and orders to kill Indresh. Purohit passed on the money to another activist, Rakesh Dhawade, who gave him the weapon for Rs 50,000. This weapon was given to Alok. Dhawade, Purohit said, claimed to have trained the RSS cadres who died in the Nanded blast. Purohit had given Dhawade Rs 3.2 lakh the month before, to buy another four weapons.

• The same month, Purohit met Sandip Dange and Ramji Kalsangra with Samir Kulkarni. Ramji and the Purohit exchanged numbers, and decided to keep Kulkarni out of the operation.

• On April 11-12, 2008, Purohit spoke to Sadhvi Pragya at the instance of Aseemanand in Bhopal. The Sadhvi told the officer that Indresh was like a father to her. In June 2008, she told Purohit that she did not want to work with him. He met her five days after the Malegoan blast.

• Apte and Pandey insisted on killing Indresh. Dange called up Purohit repeatedly for arms-training. In July 2008, all those who had come for arms to Abhinav Bharat scattered, including Tapan Ghosh.

• On August 3, 2008, Pandey directed Purohit to get RDX for Ramji at a meeting in Mahakaal Dharamsala. Towards the end of the month, one Pravin Patil came to Panchmarhi to state that he had gained knowledge of explosives through Internet research.

• On Oct 23, 2008, Purohit was interrogated by Col Srivastava of the Army about the Malegaon blast. The Colonel got him to talk to Dr R P Singh.

Malegaon Blast: Crime Trail of Terror – By Mustafa Khan

November 19, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

Malegaon Blast: Crime Trail of Terror

By Mustafa Khan

As investigations into recent bomb blasts are still underway and it is difficult to prove what we write howsoever we may try to be objective there is still the emergent need for introspection that cannot be denied to journalism. Whatever you read between the lines may open up a new vista which may have till now been choked up by the ‘dumping of toxic feelings” by leaders and religious biased groups.  Much of the coverage on Malegaon is bound to generate heat in debates and discussions where cool-headed analysis in the national interest is required.

The evolving scenario makes one wonder as to what has been happening when we were ‘sleeping’. Therefore we walk a tight rope in dealing with bomb blasts and the cases of Sonal Shah, now on the advisory committee of President elect Barack Obama.

It is reported in a Marathi daily of Malegaon that Sadhvi Pragyasingh has confessed that foreign fund was used in the bomb blast in Malegaon. This contrasts with what has been reported that Lt Col Purohit had misappropriated military intelligence fund.  Both the sources of funding are serious and dangerous for the country. They involve fraud nationally and internationally that goes against the grain of the army that has had world opinion on its sides till recently as far as discipline is concerned. Therefore the necessity of each one accused in terrorism facing scrutiny at all levels and from all angles.

Purohit had taken Rs 20,000 from Mr. Shirish Yeshwant Date who had family acquaintance with him for getting him licence for arms.  Purohit supplied false information by giving bogus documents stating that Date lived in the defence colony of Deolali, Nasik. This fraudulent means of getting money is debauchery.

Mystery surrounds the arrest of Sudhakar Chaturvedi who was arrested from Dadar railway station on November 4 with a country-made revolver and a fake army identity card. If Purohit could give fake residence certificate that Date lived in defence colony of Deolali he could provide fake army identity card as well. It is reported that he not only knew the Malegaon conspiracy but was very much present in Malegaon itself.

BJP is the only political party that boasts a separate retired army personnel cell. One such retiree is the chief minister of Uttarakhand B C Khanduria retired Major General.  Another retired officer and BJP member, Sabyasachi Bagchi proudly says that RSS develops the character of the young people. It is this character building that makes them good soldier. If this were so why has the training of RSS gone haywire in the case of Purohit? Of greater concern is the interference of the party and its ideology in the armed forces through this association. SS Raikar of Bhonsala military school is also a retired person from the army. He allowed the school premises for terror, hatching conspiracy as well as arms training and providing accommodation.

The former governor of Jammu and Kashmir SK Sinha has allegedly allowed Dayanand Pandey to stay in the official residence.

Why have these army men behaved the way they have done? A neutral source retired Lt Gen V.R. Raghavan, former director-general of military operations blames “ultra nationalism of a narrow kind” responsible for the criminality of the contaminated serving and retired army officers. Thus what Bagchi says is eyewash.

No less is the case of Sameer Kulkarni who had taken deposit money from a customer to provide him a computer. Failing to supply he issued a cheque as the customer threatened him. The cheque bounced. The police registered a case against Kulkarni.

Dayanand Pandey’s first appearance in the court on November 17 is of grave import as he broke down and begged that the court should rather hang him but not touch his laptop. What is there in the laptop that he should be so much concerned about it? A popular news channel probed the matter and believes that the Pandey must have stored nude pictures of women and great men of his acquaintance. This bonanza of pornography is bound to shame him along with all those who figure in the collection. The police again used the old technique of retrieving the deleted files for clues. Or is the suspicion real that there is similar delay here as it was in the case of Purohit’s laptop. The delay in finding the laptop was a ruse behind which lies the real intention of deleting the more serious files? Pandey had harboured criminals in his ashram in Dhand, Ahmadabad. It is also believed that Ramji Kalsangar alias Ramnarayan Singh was sheltered there. On Friday November 14 2008 Dayanand Pandey committed perjury by saying that he was not Dayanand Pandey but Amritanand Dwivedi. He has other aliases as well and that is why the Kanpur judicial magistrate Mukesh Kumar Singh on Thursday noted the multiple names adopted by Amritanand while granting transit remand to ATS as he felt certain that Dayanand Pandey, Sudhakar Dwivedi and Swami Amritanand Dev were aliases of the same person who heads the Sharada Sarvadnya Peeth in Jammu.

 

His craze to false identity is venal as he was in Gorakhpur in 2006 at the invitation of BJP MLA Shiv Pratap Shukla as Jagatguru Shankracharya. He fled when a man asked about his identity. Murkier still was his craze to meet devotees only at night when he was in Faridabad staying at Mata Mandir as self styled Jagatguru Swami Amritanand Devtirth Maharaj.

 

He also committed embezzlement as president of Sharda Peeth of Jammu where he called himself Swami Amritanand. He was thrown out of the Peeth. But he was so Machiavellian that he soon started Sharda Sarvgya Peeth of his own and called himself Swami Amritanand Dev Teerth.

A fuller list of his crimes should make the BJP and RSS and other right wing affiliates of the Sangh Parivar sit up and face the nation to clarify whether they still want identity based politics and governance. Will they still misappropriate funds raised in the US in the name of relief and divert it to buy pouches of food and wine and distribute cash for those who perpetrated the pogroms in Gujarat 2002 with connivance of the government of Narendra Modi?

Ramesh Upadhya’s stalking a woman and giving her phone number on website as a call girl and also cheating the woman through the matrimonial site by showing that he was 37 and not 57 have a damaging effect on the kind of people in the Sangh Parivar.

These disrepute people under prosecution threaten to lower the position of India in the world opinion thanks to the Sangh Parivar’s involvement. If a serving lieutenant colonel of the Indian army is supplying 60 kg of RDX for terrorism that too against visiting Pakistanis then in what way are the ISI and extreme Hindu groups different in ideology and practice. On November 15 the ATS claims that the bomb blast in Malegaon is linked to the February 7, 2007 blasts on Samjhauta Express carrying Pakistanis because RDX was used in both the incidents. But two days later it allegedly changes its stance under the goading of the Intelligence Bureau. All through the government of India has been blaming the ISI of Pakistan for all the blasts in the country and especially the Samjhauta Express blasts. As to the foreign funds used in Malegaon attack it is necessary to look at how the funds end up in India, the real end users. There are documented proofs that huge amounts of money collected in the US go into the accounts of VHP and other conglomerates of RSS. Sonal Shah and her father Ramesh have been in the core group of VHPA [America] and have been instrumental in sending fund under the name of Eklavya Vidyalaya for backward tribals. But the real use is not to ameliorate the lot of the tribal people by educating them, it is rather to convert them to Hinduism if they are animists or have taken to Christianity. In the recent anti- Christian riots in Kandhamal of Orissa and other parts of India it is this fund that played havoc as it did in 2002 against the Muslims of Gujarat. The backward community of Charras was roped in by the RSS to wreak “vengeance” on the Muslims by slaughtering them. This confession is caught on camera and no action has been taken as if that was not terrorism.

George Fernandes had asked the army chief, the Air Marshal, and the Admiral to report the Kargil war to MPs. When the three went to the place it was the party office of BJP. That is how the Sangh parivar interferes in the affairs of the armed forces, directly.

 

 

‘War On Terror’ – By Shoma Chaudhury – Tehelka Magazine, India

November 15, 2008

http://www.tehelka.com/story_main40.asp?filename=Ne221108coverstory.asp


From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 5, Issue 46, Dated Nov 22, 2008
CURRENT AFFAIRS  
cover story

‘War On Terror’

As religion becomes a fiery faultline, in an inspired move, a vast swathe of clerics seek to find the voice that reconciles rather than divides. SHOMA CHAUDHURY boards the peace train to test the mood. Photos by SHAILENDRA PANDEY

Cover Story
Mystic Men Clerics aboard the Sheikh-ul-Hind Express on the way to Hyderabad

MARSHAL EVERY stereo type of Muslims loudly proclaimed from public rallies, stereotypes drifting unquestioned in the wind, stereotypes snaking below joking asides even in liberal conversations. Muslims can’t be trusted. Muslims are pan-religionists. Muslims cheer for Pakistan. Muslims are bigots. Muslims have three wives. Muslims have too many children. Muslims are dirty. And the latest, all Muslims may not be terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.

In post-Partition India, Muslims have increasingly receded from public view and dialogue as a community of thinking, flesh-and-blood, individual citizens. For the average non-Muslim, they are little more than a homogenous, vaguely threatening spectre. Swathes of skull cap and lungi smudged across ghetto towns of middle India. A community about which we have made up our minds and have no curiosity. The “These people…” of our parents’ conversations. The imaginative (and information) vacuum into which the communal Hindu Right has poured its poison.

These are the stereotypes that tremble beneath the humorous anxiety of one’s family. “What? You are going alone on a train with 2,000 Muslim clerics to Hyderabad? One woman amidst 2,000 Muslim men?”

On November 6, 2008, rising in a magnificent and hopeful gesture against the image that has come to imprison their community, 2,000 Muslim clerics set off on a train decorated with zebra-stripe flags and marigold strings from Deoband to Hyderabad. The Sheikh-Ul-Hind Express — a “peace train” carrying a promising message of national integration. Four thousand other clerics were to join them there from different corners of India – Gujarat, Assam, Manipur, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Bengal, Bihar, Kerala and Maharashtra — to attend the 29th general body meeting of the Jamiat-Ulema-I-Hind at the Nizam College ground.

Cover Story
The brotherhood of man Jamiat-Ulema-I-Hind clerics at Hyderabad

The train — a metaphorical masterstroke — is only a prop in a journey that began in Deoband in February this year, when the Darul Uloom, an old and influential madrassa, ironically often touted in the wind as the intellectual fountainhead for militant Islamic groups across Asia, issued a fatwa against terrorism. This fatwa — something of a historic first — was endorsed publicly a few months later in May at a huge anti-terror rally of almost three lakh Muslims at the Ramlila Ground in Delhi. Then too, clerics from every state, representatives of Shia and Sunni sects, and Muslim organisations like the Jamiat-Ulema-I-Hind, Nadwatul Ulema Lucknow, the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, and the Muslim Personal Law Board were present. Each organisation the face of a vast hinterland of influence.

The significances are hard to miss. Sixteen years earlier, LK Advani’s rath yatra had ripped the country with pungent speeches and a call to hate. His chariot gave the ugliest face to existing faultlines. It released a narrative of exclusion that has brought the country to the brink. Now, rising from its bruised aftermath, here were people readying to sow it back. At a time when one has grown weary of hearing political and religious leaders talk a reckless language of reprisal and atavistic hate, here were these clerics — by all accounts the most conservative face of Islam in India — reaching for the higher ground, the redemptive note.

Perhaps, a potent new counter-narrative is starting to roll.

It is three in the afternoon. The Sheikhul- Hind Express has just chugged into Nizam-ud-din station. Hundreds of clerics in white kurtas and caps are waiting to get in. There is an air of palpable excitement, almost elation. The frisson of a collective welded together by a higher purpose. It might dissipate later as the group disperses to the individual struggle and dilemmas of life, but for now, it is unmistakable. For all the hustle to get in, the atmosphere in the train is marked by an ordered — almost astonishing — civility. Two thousand men, but a marked absence of male aggression. None of the bogeys suffer the slightest indiscipline.

The Sheikh-ul-Hind Express offers other revelations. In a sense, travelling on it is a journey into the belly of one’s own unsuspected prejudices. It is a reminder of how little one knows, how little one ventures into other cultures, and how easily such a blank slate can be usurped and written on.

As the train pulls out of the station, Maulana Kalimullah Khan, the founder of Hira Public School in Faizabad, a genteel man in amehendi beard, is detailed by the organisers to facilitate conversation between the indifferent Hindi of the journalist and the eloquent Urdu of the clerics. He proves to be an untiring bridge, with a smiling gift for irony.

CONVERSATIONS SWIRL through the train. Sixty years of India’s chequered history compacted into a bogey. There is animated talk of terror blasts, the arrests of Muslim youth, “appeasement”, reservations, equal opportunity, the Sachar Committee Report, discrimination, Muslim mistakes, the Hindu Right, Babri Masjid demolition, SIMI, the comparative merits of Hindu and Islamic societies, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Pakistan, Kashmir and the Koran’s position on women.

Cover Story
Peace tonic Muslim clerics decorate the Sheikh-ul-Hind Express at Nizam-ud-din station

(When conversation on that subject gets particularly heated, I say exasperatedly to my interlocutor, “what can one say if the Koran is the voice of Khuda who is male, and all the codes are written from a male point of view. All I can say for Hindus is that at least we have devis as goddesses, so the road is a little more open.” The maulanas listening in burst into laughter.)

Many of the conversations are more sombre. Maulana Kalimullah Khan describes the hostility he faced getting CBSE recognition for his school. Maulana Mahmood Madani, Rajya Sabha member, secretary of the Jamiat-Ulema-I-Hind, and a key figure behind the anti-terror initiative, talks of his humiliating attempt to start an CBSE affiliated boarding school for Muslim children in Dehradun. Given sanction at first to buy land by then Chief Minister ND Tiwari, he was later stopped from making the school by the government. The reason? They suspected he was going to start a madrassa and this would compromise the security of the Indian Military Academy (IMA) there! “And they say we are being appeased by political parties,” he laughs ruefully. “This is what happened with me, a Rajya Sabha member. You can imagine what happens with ordinary Muslims. There were 150 other institutions in the 12 kilometres that separated my land from the IMA, but only we were suspect. I told the education minister I did not need his permission to start madrassas. I could start them in Aruna–chal Pradesh on the China border sitting right here! They make such a bogey out of madrassas, but they won’t let us start any other schools either. There has been a systematic programme to keep Muslims out of the mainstream. What people don’t understand is that if such a large percentage of the population is ghettoised and kept backward, it is not just harmful for Muslims, it is harmful for the entire country,” says he.

“The communal forces accuse us of being terrorists and anti-national,” says Mohammad Rafeeque Khan, secretary of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, a fatherly man, with a vein of kindly laughter running below his voice, “but Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse of the RSS. Indira Gandhi was assassinated by Sikh bodyguards. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by the LTTE. From the Supreme Court to district court — was there ever an injunction from the Bar Council that these perpetrators will not be defended? In fact, a lawyer as reputed as Ram Jethmalani fought the case for Indira Gandhi’s assassins. Yet now the Bar Council of Gorakhpur, Benaras, Faizabad and Lucknow have ordained that Muslims caught for the Sabarmati Express carnage or Sankat Mochan temple blast will not be defended. They are just suspects, their crime has not yet been proved. That’s one scenario. The other is that the VHP, BJP and RSS have said they will open their coffers to save Sadhvi Pragya Thakur. Why this discrimination? There are only two fair routes — either don’t give legal or financial assistance to anyone accused in this category of terror crime; or else give everybody due legal assistance and deem them worthy of reasonable doubt. For Rahul Raj’s death, Ram Vilas Paswan, Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav — three men who never unite — came together to ask the Prime Minister for an investigation. But when there are other false encounters — and human rights groups and media outfits are themselves pointing in that direction — it becomes traitorous if Muslims ask for an investigation? How can these attitudes lead to progress? It can only lead to the country’s destruction. No matter how much we want the country to progress, until we unite hearts and realise that Hindus and Muslims feel the same pain, it will only slip into more anarchy.”

Other repudiations are made. Reeling out his ideological rants, in an interview to TEHELKA two weeks ago, Prakash Sharma, national convenor of the Bajrang Dal, had claimed that the Hindu Right fought Muslims because areas in which they were concentrated would lead to demands for new partitions. Maulana Rafeeque tackles this propaganda patiently: Uttarkhand. Chhattisgarh. Jharkhand. Greater Nagaland. Gorkhaland, Telengana. The LTTE’s demands. Assam’s ULFA demand. The Shiv Sena’s Marathi manoos campaign. Which of these separatist movements are led by Muslims? he asks quietly. For the space of one pulse beat that follows, the propaganda this embattled community has suffered comes home in its crushing enormity.

But through all of this, through all the vexed conversations, two things shine through. Gauged by some lenses, the genteel men on Sheikh-ul-Hind Express might seem suffocatingly conservative and unyielding on some issues: the inalienable correctness of Muslim Personal Law and a refusal to allow Muslim women to function out of purdah. But these are matters of culture to either be accepted or fought from within the community. There may also inevitably be an underlying sense of Islam’s superiority in terms of its sense of order, justice and decreed morality. But this is only a window into how a culture sees itself and what it holds dear. What shines through it all is an unveering loyalty to land and nation and a language of unequivocal respect, amiability and tolerance. Unlike the virulent rhetoric of the Hindu Right — the demonising of others, the insidious theory of “action and reaction” they use to justify their violence — the men on this peace train say no provocation, absolutely none, evokes a call for violent reprisal.

“Please do not mix these issues of justice or Muslim reservations or discrimination with our message against terror and plea for communal harmony,” Maulana Madani urges repeatedly on the plane back to Delhi from Hyderabad. “These are separate stories.”

“Even if our demands and needs are not met, we do not believe in spreading anarchy,” says Jamiat-Ulema-I-Hind president Maulana Qari Usman. “We fight for our rights and will continue to do so as legitimate citizens of this country, but only by the rule, only within the framework of the Indian Constitution.”

This is a voice of the Indian Muslim that the average non-Muslim Indian has started to forget completely. A voice that the national media does not seek out and politicians don’t woo. A voice that has been completely smothered in the war of “action and reaction”, competitive word and deed, between belligerent Muslim radical and parasitic Hindu Right. In fact, it is a voice of moderation and sanity that Indian public life has begun to forfeit altogether.

THE PHILOSOPHY of the Jamiat- Ulema-I-Hind has much to do with the fashioning of this voice. The driving force behind the fatwa against terror, the rallies and now the peace train, the Jamiat-Ulema-I-Hind is one of the leading Muslim organisations in India, mainly comprising of clerics and scholars from the Deoband alumni. With ten million primary members, who in turn run schools and madrassas in every corner of India, the Jamiat wields considerable influence. It is a part of the dangerous amnesias that have beset India that very few non-Muslim Indians would know that the Jamiat-Ulema-I-Hind, set up in 1919, sent out a powerful call to all Indian Muslims to join the freedom struggle against the British. When talk of Partition arose, it resisted the idea of Pakistan ferociously. It passed a resolution declaring that the demand for a homeland on the basis of religion was against the tenets of Islam: the Koran emphatically disallowed it. It put all its strength instead on backing the foundation of India as a secular democracy, committed to tolerance and coexistence between Muslims and those of other faiths.

Much of this ethos is on display at the Jamiat’s general assembly on November 9, 2008. Around one lakh Muslims sit in orderly rows at the Nizam College grounds in Hyderabad. Cleric after cleric takes the mike and exhorts the audience to unity and a righteous life. Swami Swaroop– anand, the Shankaracharya of Dwarka peeth, has sent a message. Among other things, he says, there can be no war between Hindus and Muslims because Hindu scriptures prophesied the coming of the Prophet 5,000 years ago and so He is perhaps more dear to Hindus than even Muslims. The crowd erupts in a joyous Allah ho Akbar! Sri Sri Ravi Shankar speaks of peace between communities. Every now and then plangent solo-voiced taranas soar up to the sky:“Hum Musalman Bharat ke wafadar hain…” (We Muslims are loyal to India). The mood is both reconciliatory and assertive. Towards the end, in an electric moment, the entire congregation rises up, lifts a finger of witness, and takes an oath of allegiance to fight against terrorism.

Inevitably, there are critics who will dismiss this as the new-found piousness of a community on the backfoot. Even if one supposed for a moment that this is true, one ought to remember that under siege, there are two responses possible: one can either reach for the higher ground or for reactive anger and anarchy. Clearly, a redemptive resolution has been made towards the former — stronger for having been born out of internal debate and dissent. For those who are seeking meek submission and an acceptance of second – class citizenship, the Sheikh-Ul-Hind Express might have some unpleasant surprises. This is not a capitulation of legitimate demands; it is an azaan for peace and civil dialogue. In a moment of crisis, we can turn ourselves either into something shining or sullied. This appears a hopeful call to the first.

———————————————————————


From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 5, Issue 46, Dated Nov 22, 2008
CURRENT AFFAIRS  
interview

‘Ask us, hear our explanations, present our views’

SHOMA CHAUDHURY speaks to four influential clerics about their fatwa against terrorism and the problems that vex the Muslim community

As the peace train from Deoband to Hyderabad pulls out of the station, an ordered serenity descends on the bogey. A cleric hums a tarana; others kneel at the appointed hour for namaaz. In between, there are avid conversations about religion, terror, communalism and the idea of India. Speaking to TEHELKA at different moments Maulana Qari Usman, Maulana Mahmood Madani, Maulana Rafeeque Qasmi and Maulana Shaukat Ali offer a mosaic of insights into the community

Our Views
Maulana Mahmood Madani Rajya Sabha member, general secretary, Jamiat-Ulema-I-Hind

What triggered the fatwa against terrorism earlier, and the peace train now? 
Maulana Mahmood Madani:
 There has been such intense stereotyping of Muslims by the West, and the communal forces and media in India, that it has affected not just non-Muslims but Muslims themselves. Jihad, jihad, jihad — the propaganda has slipped into people’s blood so much they have started thinking the Koran, the Prophet, and Islam are a source of terrorism, whose philosophy teaches nothing but to kill. Even ordinary Muslims have become confused — is this indeed jihad?

Our target audience, therefore, is both Muslims and India’s silent majority, who are still not 100 percent convinced that this community is what it is being made out to be. One way of fighting the propaganda was to keep highlighting the injustice and prejudice of the police and media. Many human rights groups, both Muslim and non- Muslim, are doing this. But the fact remains that terrorist incidents are also increasing and innocent lives are being lost. Don’t these victims and their families have rights too? This is why we have chosen the middle path. This peace train and the Hyderabad Resolution is just the beginning. We have to take this message to every city, district, village and mohalla.

Our biggest problem is that we have to fight on two fronts at the same time. On the one hand, we have to confront those non-Muslims who are not ready to listen or debate even reasonable issues related to Muslims. On the other, there are some Muslims who have either got misled, or are so fed up with the propaganda that they don’t want to speak out. They feel that to even oppose terrorism is to accept we are terrorists.

What impact do you think you will have on Muslim youth who are radicalised or just scared, angry and frustrated? Do your words as ulema have any meaning for them?
Maulana Rafeeque Qasmi: See, you are a follower of Hindu dharma. When this life is over, you don’t know where your soul will go. Whether you are a good man, thief, murderer or rapist, you have 84 lakh lives in which you can refashion yourself before you reach parlokh or swarglokh. In Islam, the idea is different. We tell our youth, if you harm an innocent you will have to answer to your Khuda when you die. So there is a big difference in the psychology. For a Muslim to do wilful wrong, he will have to think a million times because he is bound by his fear of Khuda in the afterlife. Hindu philosophy, of course, teaches one to be righteous, but a Hindu youth is not bound in the same way in sheer psychological terms. When Prophet Mohammad was driven out of Mecca and returned after eight years, he did not urge retaliation. I am not saying this has an invulnerable hold today, but it is a big religious deterrent. Narendra Modi sahib and Vajpayee sahib tout their action-reaction theory and excuse everything on the basis of that, but we tell our community, no matter what the provocation, the reaction has to be within the bounds of the Koran, Hadees and Indian Constitution. Your response to wrongs has to be to cleave to what is right. Yes, the Koran sanctions one to fight injustice, but killing innocents? Never. Under no circumstance. Religion is a strange thing, people can do anything to defend it but, by that logic, they will stop because their religion does not allow something. That is what makes our voice significant.

Our Views
Maulana Qari Usman President, Jamiat-Ulema- I-Hind

Maulana Qari Usman: Even if we don’t have immediate direct impact, we have made it clear to the community that anyone who commits an act of terrorism has stepped out of the boundary of the religion and community, and is no longer part of it. Having said that, I also want to say there have been many arrests but very little proof yet against Muslim youth accused of terror blasts. In fact, though the media reports every arrest, it often fails to report on all those who are acquitted, so this image of widespread guilt remains strongly in people’s minds.

Maulana Madani: There are definitely very grave wounds and a deep sense of victimisation. There is anger, desperation and utter hopelessness. We have to dispel all three, not just for the good of Muslims but the whole country. We need a holistic approach and the government, civil society and media have to jointly rectify this. How else can you confront this? You cannot turn such a big country into a police state. You need education, equal opportunity, employment and faith in non-discriminatory justice. We tell Muslims, particularly Muslim youth, you are stakeholders of this country, you are not here on sufferance. So yes, claim your rights with confidence, but remember that with rights come duties. The story of discrimination against Muslims in these 60 years is a long and bitter one. But we don’t want to open a complaint cell here, because our focus is on terrorism and communal harmony. We don’t want to mix those messages. They are separate stories. We are not saying give us justice or there will be terrorism; we are saying terrorism has no justification.

Is there talk of launching a new political party for Muslims?
Maulana Madani: Many among the ulema do feel the need for a new political party, but we opposed this now because we want to send an undiluted message of communal harmony and peace. Not just Muslims, every ordinary Indian is so fed up of politicians and political parties, we did not want people to feel this was yet another political drama in an election season. Secondly, while there may be need for a new political party, even if there were need for a specifically Muslim party, we will never agree to it. In fact, we will oppose it with all our strength. I believe, in this country, to do any work based only on Muslim identity is both against the interests of the nation and the interests of the community. It is a firm belief that whatever we do, we will do with like-minded non-Muslims, not alone. Muslims should not alienate themselves. We are stakeholders in this country, and there are enough non- Muslims who feel the same way about the country, so why shouldn’t we all come together to create a new political system? I am totally ready to back that in the future. Even in Hyderabad, when Barrister Owaiz talked of Muslim unity, I said, if you are talking about reading namaaz, then talk of Muslims only, but if you want to fight for any political or social issues, then let us make a common minimum programme with likeminded Indians.

Our Views
Maulana Shaukat Ali Treasurer, Jamiat-Ulema -I-Hind

Let me throw a laundry list of issues the Hindu Right uses to rouse emotions against Muslims: Bangladesh immigrants, Afzal Guru, allegiance to Pakistan, population, Partition, the Amarnath land transfer, reservations, SIMI’s belligerent rhetoric. To a lesser or greater degree, a lot of ordinary non-Muslims buy into the prejudices they create. 
Maulana Madani: (Laughs) Let’s see. As far as Bangladeshi immigrants go, no foreigners should be allowed to live illegally in this country.

Having said that, it should not be that you catch anyone wearing a lungi and beard and throw him out. There are fair processes. Set up a commission, summon people to show their documents, then deport them. As far as Afzal Guru goes, we believe anyone proved guilty should be punished according to the law of the land, but again, there are due processes and if this allows him a mercy petition, why should it be denied to him? Pakistan. (Laughs again) The Jamiat-ulema-i-Hind opposed Partition and the creation of Pakistan, not just on political grounds but on the ground of religion itself. It passed a resolution that demanding a homeland on the basis of religion was not allowed by Islam and went against the tenets of Islam and the Koran itself. As far as the Amarnath issue goes, the Jamiat had passed a resolution that Kashmir is an integral part of India, and we feel that while Muslim emotions should not be hurt in India, neither should Hindus’. We may not believe in idol worship, but we respect the faith of those who do. Transferring that land from the forest department to the Board did not hurt Muslim interests in any way. There was nothing to oppose. It was unnecessarily made into a political issue by all sides. As for population, it is madness to link this with religion. This is purely a social and economic issue. Conduct your own surveys, you will find that in a particular economic, social or educational bracket, Hindus and Muslims have the same number of children.

Our Views
Maulana Rafeeque Qasmi Secretary, Islamic Society, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind

Maulana Qasmi: You brought up SIMI. We have no argument with many issues they were raising but we urged them to approach this in a way that will not alienate others. We believe you have to win over people, not make divisions deeper. When they did not listen and their approach grew increasingly strident, we severed relations with them completely. Many of our concerns are similar, but they have had to face many hardships for their belligerence, and their issues have got lost in the mess.

Maulana Shaukat Ali:We are glad you are asking these questions that point to the poison that is spread across the country. Ask us, hear our explanations and present our views so that ordinary Indians understand we are not responsible for this growing divide.

It’s not our fault people don’t see each other as human beings but as Hindus and Muslims. Ask those who are engendering this — why are they bent on destroying Hindustan’s fabric? We still believe our blood is the same, so where has this poison come from? When people understand that, these questions about us will dry up.

In your understanding, why is the Hindu Right growing in strength? And what makes you keep faith with India?
Maulana Qasmi: It is not becoming stronger. In the past, when they were the Jan Sangh, they never adopted such extreme measures. No one could raise a finger against them. It is only when they formed the BJP and began to want power that they upped the ante. The person really responsible for setting our nation on this divisive, dangerous path is our Advaniji, his rath yatra and its particular mission to incite hatred and anger. That psychology has amplified and amplified till we are at this pass today, where army and dharma gurus have become part of a terror act and no one knows how to put a stop to it all. All this to secure Prime Ministership?

I don’t know how many souls have passed through India with this dream and ambition. But this country’s janta has not yet become so insane that anyone who pleases can become Prime Minister. In this country, when Ram was asked to leave, did he turn around and fight? No, he went peacefully into the jungle. That is why he is called Puroshattam Ram. Now, in his very name, in the name of this noble soul, this upright character, they are teaching people how to hate? No, this cannot last. Everything has a horizon, a natural limit, after which it recedes. Here, when politicians, media, even religious leaders have become corrupt, you can say things have reached their limit. Look at America. After two centuries of white hegemony, here comes Barack Obama. A historic moment, a time of change. Proof that everything has its limit — we just have to work towards it. India is 60 years old, our secular and democratic traditions run deep; they have taken root. They cannot be destroyed so easily.

 
From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 5, Issue 46, Dated Nov 22, 2008
 
 

The Curious/Criminal Case of Sonal Shah…and another instance of RSS involvement in Bomb Blasts in India – By Amaresh Misra and the All India Patriotic Forum (AIPF) Team

November 15, 2008

 

The Curious/Criminal Case of Sonal Shah…and another instance of RSS involvement in Bomb Blasts in India

 

By Amaresh Misra and the All India Patriotic Forum (AIPF) Team

 

 

          The euphoria over Obama’s election is still not over; yet secular Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in the US are livid over one major transgression committed by President-elect Obama’s transition team. According to news reports, Sonal Shah, a successful US based Indian-Gujarati businesswomen and founder of Indicorps—an organization active in several sectors, facilitating exchanges between Indian and US mainly software professionals—with links to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), two notorious, Hindu supremacist fascist outfits of India, has been appointed as one of the advisers to the new President-elect.

          This might have gone unnoticed were it not for the spirited defense mounted by Sonal Shah’s supporters, mostly RSS and VHP people in India. In fact the Secretary of VHPA (America) has gone on record stating that Sonal Shah was a member of the organization but that her membership has expired. Overlooked by the English media, several statements of RSS leaders have appeared in the Hindi Press. One truly bizarre assertion made by an Indore based RSS leader in the Dainik Bhaskar goes on to “extol Ms. Shah for belonging to that super breed of Hindus who have entered the haloed precincts of the US Government and who now should do all in her power to see to it that minority appeasement ends in the US too!”

          Minority appeasement in the US! Is it not true that America has elected a minority President? So the American electorate has committed the greatest sin—appeasement of minorities! And the RSS leader of Indore is hoping that minority appeasement would end through a Hindu fundamentalist working in the office of—hold your breath—a super-product of minority appeasement!

          Another gem comes from Kota, a small town in Rajasthan. Here in an issue of Rajasthan Patrika, two RSS and VHP leaders have in a joint statement hailed Sonal Shah’s appointment in Obama’s team. They have gone on to state explicitly that “no matter what—let the Indian Congress Government appease minorities. President Obama has shown determination by appointing a proud member of the VHP, the daughter of Ramesh Shah, a very senior VHP leader, in his team. After all, American NRIs have really helped the Hindu cause here by sending us money. In fact during the Ram Mandir movement, they were very generous. Then that Masjid was demolished; which was something very good. Shri Ramesh Shah was in the forefront of rejoicing after the Masjid was demolished. Now his daughter has been anointed and it is good for Hindus the world over”.

          The third `praise’ appears in Dainik Jagran, a rabid Hindi newspaper, known for stoking the fires of bloodthirsty mobs out to kill Muslims right after the December 6th Babari Masjid demolition; and known also for obliquely supporting Narendra Modi at the height of Gujarat riots. While commenting on the Sonal Shah phenomenon, RSS and VHP leaders have “condemned Muslim groups agitating against the appointment of Sonal Shah. These leaders (Muslim) are all pseudo secularists—they do not know ABC of secularism. They are being joined by pseudo-secular Hindus. The fact is that the Congress Government is arresting Hindus for the Malegaon blasts. The Government arrested Saadhvi Pragya Singh and then they are now questioning Mahant Adityanath, the great BJP leader of Gorakhpur. Sonal Shah’s appointment has sent the right message. In India, Hindus are being persecuted while in America they are being felicitated”.

          However, the same Dainik Jagran issue carries another statement by Swami Omnkaranand, a disciple of Jagadguru Swami Swarupanand, the anti-RSS Shankaracharya of Dwarika and Badrinath. While condemning Saadhvi Pragya Singh and the serving and ex-army officers accused in the Malegaon blasts, Omkaranand has branded `Hindu terrorists’ as irreligious (adharmik) non-Hindus. When asked about Sonal Shah, Swami Omkaranand said that he “did not know much about Sonal Shah—but he knew Ramesh Shah, her father”. When quizzed further, Omkaranand said that “Ramesh Shah had tried to seek an appointment with the Dwarika Shankaracharya—if I remember correctly he was accompanied by his daughter and her name was Sonal Shah. The Dwarika Shankaracharya met them—and the daughter and the father both requested the Shankaracharya to support the VHP. Then the Shankaracharya got angry—he lashed out at them and narrated an incident wherein he (the Shankaracharya) had a debate with Golwalkar, the RSS leader. The argument was about the status of Lord Ram—Golwalkar was saying that he did not consider Ram to be a God, only a Mahapurush; then the Shankaracharya replied that this is what Ravana used to say—so now in which category is Golwalkar who calls himself a true representative of Hindu interests, has gone on to stand?”

          Swami Omkaranand further elaborated that “the Shankacharya asked Ramesh and Sonal Shah to leave the room as he considers the VHP, BJP and the RSS adharmik who have killed innocent Muslims in Ayodhya and Gujarat. Then Ramesh Shah tried offering some money to the Shankaracharya upon which the situation became very ugly and the Shankaracharya Sevaks would have given a sound thrashing to Ramesh Shah if he had not escaped”.

          When did Sonal and Ramesh go to meet the Dwarika Shankaracharya? The reference to Gujarat riots reveals that it was after that event—so if Swami Omkaranand is to be believed, Sonal Shah visited Dwarika to plead for the VHP, after the infamous riots in which thousands of Muslims were massacred and murdered brutally by VHP backed mobsThis proves that Sonal Shah is lying when she says that she had never been a member of the VHP—here she is trying to plead for the VHP with her father. This also casts a long shadow of doubt on the statement issued by the Shah family that they had condemned Gujarat riots.

          The VHP-RSS-BJP seems to be a hydra headed organization with tentacles everywhere. They are supposed to have infiltrated the Indian and the US administration in a big way—the fact is that Sonal Shah has also been involved Ekal Vidyalas, the RSS run scheme of single teacher schools in tribal areas in India. The Ekal Vidayala has a full functioning unit in the US where they collect money in the name of tribal welfare and then direct it towards VHP activities in Gujarat and the rest of India. A recent UNI Press report categorically states:

 

          In the run up to the recent arrests of Saadhvi Pragya Singh and serving and ex-army officers in the Malegaon blast case, a whole lot of RSS run or affiliated organizations are under the scanner of the ATS Mumbai. There is an alleged link of several organizations based in the US. The ATS Mumbai has confidential reports on several US based organizations. They are alleged to have sent money to the RSS and VHP during the Gujarat riots. These organizations work under several heads in the US and change their identities frequently. They include `Overseas Friends of the BJP’, the Ekal Vidyalaya, the Hindu American Foundation and the IDRA and several such outfits which keep mushrooming. There is also an allegation that the RSS related groups have ganged up with Christian Right-Wing groups to destabilize the US Government.”             

         

          Despite denying her links with VHP, Sonal Shah has not denied links to Ekal Vidayalayas and other organizations. Her father continues to a leader of the Overseas Friends of the BJP. These organizations are accused to funding riots, pogroms and terror in India. What is her answer to this?

          Then there comes the article from Vijay Prashad, the head of International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford CT. Prashad mentions that “the Asian American Hotel Owner’s Association AAHOA supported Modi in Madison Square Garden with empty chairs. Ms. Sonal Shah is a supporter of and gets support from the same organization”.

          Vijay Prashad goes on to add:

 

“The BJP, the party in power during the Gujarat killings, but also a host of organizations known as the Sangh Parivar… these include groups whose U. S. affiliate drew in Sonal Shah’s parents, and to which she also gave her time and energy. This is not in the distant past. In 2004, while at the CAP, Sonal Shah gave the keynote address in Miami for the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of the USA. The Ekal Vidyalaya is an organization given over to`education’ in tribal areas of India. It is the policy of the Ekal Vidyalaya to organize tribal peoples into the “Hindu community” and to eschew the Christianity and animism that many practice. The climate created by the Ekal Vidyalaya and the VHP in the tribal areas of India led to the recent massacres of Indian Christians. Sonal Shah’s father Ramesh is in charge of the Ekal Vidyalaya in the U. S. She didn’t take the time in Miami to raise these concerns. Rather she talked about her Indicorps project, which has sent volunteers to work with groups like Ekal Vidyalaya. The language of social justice and cultural rights work well to cover over the fascism that is otherwise being promoted”.

 

          A new instance of RSS involvement in the recent Assam blasts has come to light:      

 

“ULFA on Tuesday alleged that RSS was behind the deadly October 30 blasts in Assam and ethnic violence in Bodo Territorial Administered Districts (BTAD). The blast claimed 85 lives while 55 people died in the ethnic violence in BTAD areas. In an e-mail statement, ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa further alleged that Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarmah was an agent of RSS and was blaming ULFA to cover up his involvement in the blasts. “Whether Sarmah is in Congress or AGP, he is in reality an RSS agent and to cover up his involvement is making misleading statements like ULFA and Jehadi are the same,” he said. Rajkhowa claimed the ULFA has enough evidence to prove RSS’s involvement in the October 30 blasts in four towns of Assam, including Guwahati. “A few months ago, the ULFA in its mouthpiece Freedom had mentioned about the secret directive sent by RSS to carry out blasts in different parts of the country but the state government took no steps in this direction,” he said. Moreover, the recent blasts in different parts of the country and the subsequent arrests have also proved that RSS and BJP are involved in blasts in states ruled by non-BJP governments, Rajkhowa alleged. He said that ULFA has never targeted indigenous Assamese population and has no links with jehadi or any other religious fundamentalist organization”.

 

A second instance of RSS involvement has surfaced in Kerala as recently as 11th November 2008:

            In yet another mysterious bomb explosion, two RSS activists were killed near Athyarkavu temple at Cheruvancherry here on Monday morning. Those killed were RSS karyavahak Kanhan Pradeepan, 38, and another worker Lalaveetil Dili alias Dileesh, 35. Pradeepan was an accused in the Ashna murder attempt case. Incidentally, the court had only announced a couple of days ago that the judgment in the Ashna case would be pronounced on November 14. According to the police, the explosion might have taken place while the two were engaged in making bombs. The impact of the blast was such that their bodies were blown to pieces. Burnt human flesh and mutilated organs were strewn in and around a well near the temple. Parts of the body of Pradeepan had to be scooped out of the well. Locals who rushed to the spot could find only the charred remains of the bodies. It was festival time at Athyarkavu and there were devotees at the temple late into Sunday night. The area is supposedly a BJP-RSS stronghold and the temple “under the control” of the latter. Reliable sources say the RSS workers were killed not while making the bombs but while shifting the bombs, kept in a hedge near the temple, to another place. The police sources, however, refused to confirm this version. The incident was as much a shock to the local people as it was startling to the police who are busy investigating terrorists links of youths in the district. Shops and other commercial establishments remained closed in Cheruvancherry town and vehicles kept off the road in the area following the incident. Forensic experts were trying to analyse the cause of the explosion, and police officials were camping in the area”.

 

          South India and West India have emerged as a major experiment ground of the RSS Sangh Parivar. In February 2008 the Tamil Nadu Police arrested activists of the Hindu Munani, a RSS outfit for planting bombs in the RSS Headquarters in Tenkasi:   

 

“The cat is finally out of the bag. In numerous bomb blasts that have taken place in the country, the investigating agencies as well as the media swoop on certain Muslim organisations and brand them as terrorists, who perpetrated the ghastly crime. Irrespective of whether the crime has taken place in a Masjid or Mandir or Market, the same stereotype stories are flashed everywhere. However the Tamilnadu Police have turned the tables and their investigations have turned the tide towards the real perpetrators of such crimes. It has arrested 3 Sangh Parivar activists for triggering blasts in the RSS office at Tenkasi. Tenkasi is a busy town in Tirunelveli District of Tamilnadu. Since its location is close to the famous Courtallam waterfalls it attracts a large number of tourists. Hindus belonging to various castes as well as Muslims and Christians have been living in harmony in this town from time immemorial. Tenkasi means Kasi of South. This town has a famous temple called Kasi Viswanathar Temple. Though the local Sangh Parivar outfit called Hindu Munnani has been long objecting to the renovation of the Bazaar Masjid situated very near to the temple, perfect communal harmony has prevailed in this town. Muslims living in this town are basically involved in various kinds of trade.

The Sangh parivar elements have been trying to communally polarise this town for a long period of time. However their attempts in the past have become futile. But the killing of Kumara Pandian, an activist of Hindu Munnani in December 2006 disturbed the peaceful atmosphere in Tenkasi. Kumara Pandian was murdered by group of Muslim gangsters out of personal animosity. However the Sangh Parivar elements targeted leading Muslim businessmen as well as Tamilnadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) and alleged they were behind the murder. On March 2, 2007, Mohideen Sait Khan the then District President of TMMK and resident of Tenkasi was brutally attacked by Hindu Munnani activists. He suffered grievous injuries in several parts of his body. However he survived the attack. The police arrested a handful of Hindu Munnani activists in this case.

Tenkasi was now boiling with communal fervour. On 14th August (just a day before the Independence Day Celebrations) 6 persons (3 Hindus and 3 Muslims) were hacked to death in a fight between two groups. These two groups comprised persons who were charged for the Murder of Kumara Pandian and assault on Mohideen Sait Khan and were out on bail. Police clamped down on both sides and arrested a number of persons from both communities. In the aftermath of these incidents, when Tenkasi was limping back to normalcy just two days before the Republic day, on 24th January, there were bomb blasts in the RSS office in Tenkasi and in the Bus Stand around 9 pm. The media carried big stories about the blasts. The Sangh Parivar organised demonstrations in various parts of the state, demanding the arrest of Muslim ‘terrorist’, who according to them have committed the crime. However the Tamilnadu Police did not budge like their counterparts in other states. A special team led by Mr. Kannappan, DIG, Tirunelveli range made a thorough investigation and have arrested so far 3 persons S Ravi Pandian (42), a cable TV operator, S Kumar (28), an auto driver, both from Tenkasi, and V Narayana Sharma (26) of Sencottai, all Sangh Parivar activists. The last name accused had assembled 14 pipe bombs in the office of Ravi Pandian.

Explosive experts were deployed to probe the blasts at the RSS office and the bus-stand. Earlier it was thought that unidentified persons had hurled crude bombs at these places. But now it has been found that low-intensity ‘pipe’ bombs had been placed in these areas, a police official told PTI. The power to the area was disconnected before the incident.

According to Sanjeev Kumar, IG, South Zone, the bomb blast inside the new bus stand was planned to divert the police investigation. DIG of Police Kannappan said the trio tested the capacity of the bombs at Papanasam before executing the plan. Since the bombs contained substances like ammonium nitrate, electric detonators, batteries and timer devices, the explosion was possible within 30 to 40 seconds, said Kannappan.

The Investigation is still going on. The Police said 14 pipe bombs were assembled and the operations began from July last year. The arrested persons have confessed that the trio executed the plan to create a divide between the rival communities and thereby pave way for a backlash and generate sympathy for the family of the four deceased. They have also confessed that in the past they could not generate support from the Hindu community in Tenkasi and thought this blast would give the right impact.

With the Lok Sabha elections approaching, it is reliably learnt that Sangh Parivar outfits want to repeat Coimbatore in Tenkasi to get sympathy votes. The BJP which contested the last Assembly elections alone drew a blank. It is desperate to mobilise the Hindu votes and enacted the pranks in Tenkasi—kudos to Tamilnadu Police who have exposed their nefarious intentions.

The Tirunelveli Police have also indicated that the explosives used in Tenkasi are similar those used in the Makkah Masjid blast at Hyderabad. They have also indicated that these blasts would not have been triggered without the knowledge of the top brass of Sangh Parivar outfits in Tamilnadu.

In the light of the revelations of the Tamilnadu Police, the CBI should reinvestigate the Makkah Masjid Blasts and other Blasts which took place in different parts of the country. In all these blasts, there is a general feeling that mechanically the investigating agencies have blamed certain outfits and booked innocent persons instead of the real accused. Will the CBI and Home Ministry wake up”?

These incidents follow the `terrorist’ attack on Nagpur’s RSS Headquarters, which were branded as fake by the Nagpur Police itself, and the Nanded Blasts, the Modassa incidents and the recent Kanpur blasts where Bajrang Dal members were found to have been making bombs.

A Narco test was conducted on some of the RSS affiliates accused involved in the 2005 Nanded blasts at the Bajrang Dal Headquarters. The results are startling:   

“Hindu terror is here, if investigating agencies are to be believed. The arrest and subsequent interrogation of Sadhvi Pragya Singh, an Army officer and others for their alleged involvement in the Malegaon blasts of 2008 indicate the growing involvement of rightwing Hindu activists in terror acts. While ‘Hindu terror acts’ are made out to be a relatively new concept, the fact remains that the first signs of Hindu terror came to the fore as way back as 2006, when a bomb went off while bding assembled in a Hindu activist’s house in Nanded, Maharashtra.

Confessions by those arrested in that incident, during a narco-analysis test, throw light on how some Hindus decided to execute terror strikes, their modus operandi and the source of funding. Two of the accused have spelt out in detail the reason for them taking the terror path, and investigating officers say the causes are very similar to the one being attached to the recent Malegaon blasts. Manoharrao Pande, one of the accused in the case, said they were trained in handling explosive devices. He also said one of the persons, Himanshu Pande, who died while assembling the explosives, was a master at it. He said all terror attacks that occurred in the Marathwada region, including in Jalna, Purnea and Parbhani, were planned by Himanshu. The explosives, he said, were stored in a gym and the same was brought by Himanshu from Pune.

Fund-raising: While businessmen from Saudi Arabia are believed to pump in funds to sponsor terror by Islamic groups, some Hindu groups mobilised funds from locals. Pande said they had collected Rs 45,000 for making bombs and a minor part of this amount came from the money earned by the gym. He also mentioned that some rightwing Hindu outfits and local political leaders supported them. The motive: Another accused in the same case, Bhanurao Vithalrao Choudhary, during his narco-analysis test spelt out the motive behind carrying out terror strikes in the country. He said the bomb that exploded by accident in Nanded was actually meant to target a mosque at Aurangabad the next day. He, too, mentioned Himanshu, saying the latter was the one who told them they needed to fight Muslim terror.

Choudhary said Himanshu was perturbed by the fact that underworld don Dawood Ibrahim [Images] had got away unpunished and hence revenge had to be exacted. According to Himanshu, Dawood was responsible for the Gateway of India blast in 2003 which killed many. Sanjay said the motive behind the attacks that were planned by them was to safeguard Hindutva by targeting the Muslim population in the country. Aleem Faizee, social activist working for the Malegaon blast victims, said during investigation the police recovered a map depicting the Aurangabad mosque. Worse, the cops also found fake beards and Muslim outfits. The intention was to plant bombs under the guise of a Muslim to mislead investigators into believing that the bombs were planted by Muslims.

Interestingly, the statements given by some of the accused arrested in connection with the recent Delhi blasts mentions that their leader, Riyaz Bhatkal, had told them the blasts were being undertaken only to avenge the Mecca Masjid blasts which, he believed, were undertaken by some Hindu outfits to shift the blame on Muslims. Faizee said the recent developments in the Malegaon case and the revelations by the two accused raised a doubt regarding the perpetrators behind various other blasts that rocked the country”.

While the RSS is almost getting away with murder, the medical center of the All India Insitute of Medical Sciences refused to givethe postmortem reports of the Muslim boys killed in the September 18thBatala House encounter in Delhi:    

“Petitions filed under the RTI Act in connection with the October 19 encounter in Batla House have generated more controversy than information. Information in the matter was sought from the NHRC, AIIMS, Delhi Police and the Supreme Court by petitioner Afroz Alam Sahil. Afroz Alam wanted information regarding postmortem reports and the doctors involved from AIIMS, and also a copy of the postmortem reports…in a reply, officials from the AIIMS Trauma Centre stated they could not pass on information related to medico legal records under sections 8(1)b and 8(1)h of the RTI. These sections are meant for information expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal, or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court.

An irate Afroz Alam states in his blog, Soochna Express: “The denial of information by AIIMS is illogical. In this case, the court has not issued any orders regarding the Batla House case and we are not violating Section 8(1)b of the RTI. They said that information cannot be provided because it would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of the offenders. I want to state that information we sought is not related to any police investigation.”

The Delhi Police and Supreme Court have not replied to the petition till now. “If institutions like the Supreme Court do not take RTI seriously, then what is the use of having such an Act?” Alam asks. The information received from the NHRC states that 2,560 cases of police encounter/alleged fake encounters have come up and it has granted compensation in 16 such cases so far”.

          Finally, a significant section of Indian intellectuals and business leaders have come out in support of Sonal Shah. In signed statement they have distanced themselves from VHP and RSS and said that they believe Sonal is `distanced’ from them. Here is a list  of the signatories: 

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, President, Centre for Policy Research

Tarun Das, Chief Mentor, Confederation of Indian Industry

Devesh Kapur,  Director, Center for Advanced Studies of India, The University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, Convenor, Lok Satta Party

Ajay G. Piramal, Chairman, Piramal Enterprises Limited

Pankaj Chandra, Director, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore

Reuben Abraham, Professor, Indian School of Business

Roopa Purushothaman, Head, Future Capital Research

Veena Siddharth, Vice President, International Division, Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Former Asia Division Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch

 

            Amongst these names, Pratap Bhanu Mehta is a respected columnist of Indian Express; but Tarun Das, Devesh Thakur and Ajay Piramal are known to have RSS-VHP links at some point. In fact, Ajay Piramal belongs to the Piramal group of industries which has in the past has donated liberally to the RSS, VHP and several other organizations. Other corporate individuals have all had RSS links at some point or the other. And Veena Siddharth, in her own words stands guilty by association. 

Liberal intellectuals in India have shown an amazing blindness to the fascist threat. In at least two Times of India edit page pieces, written by Yogendra Yadav and Brinda Karat, the Central Committee member of the CPI-M, the line of argument is the same that Muslim communalism must be condemned first; Hindu communalism is basically restricted to a few groups and likewise. Yogendra Yadav performs the unbelievable somersault of actually talking about `Hindu grievances’—he of course has nothing to say about the arrest of Saadhvi Pragya Singh, and the opening of a whole net of worms which day by day is exposing people in the army, members of Parliament of the BJP and top administrators, as terrorists involved in bombing Muslim areas in Malegaon and Hyderabad, incidents in which initially Muslims were arrested!

          The entire conspiracy underway stinks from top to bottom—it seems that the RSS, in keeping with its history of organizing riots, an uprising against the secular Indian nation-State established in 1947 with British help, and pogrom against not only Indian Muslims but the Indian Communist parties as well, has now brought majority communalism to its logical conclusion. This is what Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru had argued all along—that majority communalism is more dangerous than minority communalism as the latter is defensive while the former has the ability to turn the Indian State into a fascist entity.

          This is what is happening—the Indian State is turning fascist bit by bit—it is not going to survive for long. The latest revelation in the Malegaon incidents has an army officer saying that Muslims helped him in organizing the Malegaon blasts in Muslim areas. Last month the Police Commissioner of Mumbai, Hasan Ghaffoor held a Press Conference in which he states that Muslims helped him in nabbing alleged (Muslim) masterminds of the Delhi-Ahmedabad blasts from Poona!

          What is happening? There is a conspiracy within a conspiracy—something sickening—it seems that Muslims boys angry over the Babari Masjid demolition in December 1992 were detained and tortured by Indian security agencies. A databank was made of these boys and they were allowed to go; then before Gujarat riots, Narendra Modi called a meeting of Muslim leaders, for `educational purposes’ in Gujarat. This meeting was surrounded by Police personals; later, it turned out that the entire affair was set-up masterminded by Modi himself! The Muslims present in the 2001 meeting were all profiled and entered into a database—then their names started cropping up as masterminds of the Indian Mujahideen after the current spate of blasts!

          Now where has Indian Mujahideen gone? The name of a new Muslim organization cropped up in relation to the Assam blasts. But even that name disappeared—now ULFA has come out openly to state that RSS is behind the Assam blasts.

          When respected individuals like Brinda Karat write about BJP’s double standards, they are right. But one gets the feeling that they do not have the full picture at their disposal. Brinda and others have consistently refused to acknowledge at least in print that SIMI and the Indian Mujahideen are basically inventions of the Indian security agencies. Brinda only has to watch the recent American film `Body of Lies’, starring Russell Crow to see how terrorists are invented by security agencies.                     

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.


An Open letter to the National Integration Committee By Amaresh Misra

October 11, 2008

An Open letter to the National Integration Committee

 

Subject: The continuing Muslim and minority persecution in India                                               

 

 

                                                       By Amaresh Misra

 

 

 

          I, along with my fellow citizens of India, am addressing this letter to the meeting of the National Integration Council (NIC) on 13th October. This Government of India body has the premier task of fighting communal forces and facilitating Indian national Integration  

 

Dear senior members of the NIC,        

 

You all know me as a historian and the author of `War of Civilizations: India 1857 AD’, the two volume authoritative work on 1857, India’s first war of Independence. I have been instrumental in making the world aware that India fought a great anti-colonial battle in the 19th century and that 10 million Indians were killed by rampaging British troops during the 1857 wars.

          1857 offers a shining example of national integration. There is no place from Gilgit to Tamil Nadu and Manipur to Maharashtra which was not affected by the great war of the Indian people. Hindus and Muslims fought as brothers. Kattar Hindu Sepoys or peasant soldiers went to Delhi to install, Bahadur Shah Zafar as India’s Emperor. When Rani Lakshmi Bai died she had only 250 Pathan-Muslim soldiers with her—all of whom perished in the fatal battle with the British. In Ayodhya, right near the spot where the Babari Masjid was demolished, Maulavis and Pundits were hanged together side by side. There was no distinction—Hindus and Muslims were one.

          Who can deny this history? I am a firm believer in policies and programs of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister. But some elements in our society, represented by the RSS are hell bent upon in negating the Nehruvian legacy, secular-Sanatani Hindu ethos and the Muslim contribution to Indian history. Sadly, present-day secular forces seemed to have surrendered before them—how else you all, esteemed members of the NIC, can define the Batla House encounter? During this encounter, the Home Minister of a secular government was sitting in the control room of the Delhi Police supervising the suspect encounter of two Muslim boys in the Jamia Nagar area. Is this democracy? Even if we accept the police version that the boys were masterminds or something of the blasts that rocked Delhi on 12th September who has the right to kill them in full public view? Isn’t this unconstitutional?

   During my travels to the US I unearthed a widespread plot to destabilize India. This plot is being hatched by American and Indian Right Wing elements—but is being resisted by American Democrats. Shivraj Patil and Narendra Modi are part of this plot; what do you make of Tata shifting his Nano car to Gujarat? It means that even the corporate lobby has thrown in its lot with fascists.

What is the long-term design of the American-Israeli plot? It is to butcher Indian Muslims, sound a death knell to Indian nationalism, and erode India’s sovereignty. Let this letter serve as a warning to people like Shivraj Patil and Narendra Modi, who are not even a speck of dust as compared to Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. A thousand Shivraj Patil, Narendra Modi and toady figures like Ratan Tata, will die a thousand deaths before their American masters can destroy India—a country built by the sacrifice of millions of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians.

 The bomb blasts that have rocked India since July 2008 have all been planned by the Home Ministry to effect Muslim persecution and communal polarization and destroy Indian nationalism. The reason: for Shivraj Patil, Narendra Modi and Ratan Tata, and the Indian corporate lobby, the current world economic crisis presents a dilemma. These forces want to rule the world through neo-liberal economic policies, which are failing even in America. In India, the current, neo-liberal economic policies have caused untold damage: while the corporate lobby stands strengthened, the peasantry and the Adivasis, the OBCs and the Dalits are all seeing a decline in their income. Unemployment and inflation is rampant. In the name of privatization, India’s Independent Industrial base has been eroded.

It is clear that that impoverished masses of India, the vast majority of minorities, Dalits, Adivasis and OBCs are restless. India wants a more pro-people, anti-corporate house economic policy. People want more empowerment, progress and prosperity. They are dissatisfied not only with the Modi-Tata economic policies, which have  made even the rich amongst OBCs, Dalits and minorities poor, but also with the entire ideology of fake Brahminism, which has been used since the British era to suppress minorities and Dalits.

RSS type Hindutva forces, created primarily by the British, are afraid of Sanatan Dharma, the true religion of Hindus. The reason is that Sanatan Dharma and Islam have worked in an historical alliance to create the great Indian composite culture which made India a superpower during the Mughal era.

Shivraj Patil and Narendra Modi hate the Indian composite culture. They also hate Hindus and Sanatan Dharma—like the British, Shivraj Patil and Narendra Modi know that as long as Sanatan Dharma and Islam exist in India, no harm can come to India’s sovereignty.

The American establishment—not the American people—are uncomfortable with Indian sovereignty; because Indian sovereignty implies anti-Imperialism and national dignity. America wants to turn India into a client-state, with limited sovereignty. What is best way to do this? From the American right wing perspective, a fascist Indian government which can curb nationalist and democratic elements is the best government.

It is clear that this fascist government can never come to power through votes. So the American game-plan is to organize bomb blasts, destabilize India, divert the attention of people from their real issues and then have a communal-fascist government assume power through largely undemocratic means in the name of `national security’. This fascist government will dismantle Baba Bhimrao Ambedkar’s constitution, thus disenfranchising the Dalits and minorities and all patriotic, peace loving and democratic people of India.    

What national security can Modi or Shivraj Patil provide India—they are already sold out to American interests. Who is India’s Home Secretary—he is the same anti-national figure who was the District Magistrate of Faizabad when the Babari Masjid was demolished.

Just pause and think for a moment—the Home Ministry since the time of LK Advani had enrolled unemployed Hindus and Muslims—these boys were exploited and used to plant bomb blasts. Then some organization like SIMI or the Indian Mujahideen (IM) was created and Muslims persecuted!

This has been the game-plan and Modi and Shivraj Patil think Indians are not aware of this? 

                 The recent Bomb Blast phenomenon stinks, from top to bottom. In March 2008 the Madhya Pradesh Police arrests Safdar Nagori, an alleged SIMI activist—then the Police of various states make a data bank of SIMI based on his confession. In India give any one, even Shivraj Patil, the home Minister to the police and in 24 hours the police will have even his confession as a the most dreaded terrorist of the country!

          What kind of a mockery is the Indian Mujahideen (IM)? We, the common people of India, know that the IM is a creation of the Home Ministry—Muslim boys being picked up from Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, UP and several other areas are all innocent victims of a foreign plot to destabilize India. The current Home Secretary is the same person who was the DM of Faizabad during the demolition of the Babari Masjid. How could the UPA government allow this to happen? How could a secular government allow a communal bureaucrat to become the Home Secretary in the first place?

          There is something clearly something very wrong here—Muslim boys are being picked up, while Ken Haywood, the American citizen form whose computer in Navi Mumbai the email sent by IM was traced is let off! There is not even a police investigation! And no one makes it an issue!

          Suddenly beginning from July 2008 we see pattern in which bomb blasts rock India with regularity, the media starts demonizing Muslims with impunity, and then the RSS-BJP-VHP-Bajrang Dal, the entire saffron brigade goes on a rampage in Orissa, Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra killing Christians and Muslims? In Orissa women are raped—a similar thing happens in Dhulia where a pregnant women were raped—all this shows that Gujarat 2002 is repeating itself. Only this time, the communal elements have the protection of the Indian state.

          In Assam, the VHP is spreading false stories that Muslims are attacking Hindus. It is being openly said by the VHP in Assam that   

          The worst fears of secular forces have come out to be true—communal elements have taken over parts of the Indian State—this much is clear. The RSS is openly challenging the Indian State—everyone knows that the BJP is politically isolated and does not stand a chance in the 2009 elections. The entire Sangh Parivar has put in all its might now to unleash a reign of terror and sabotage the very fundamentals of Indian democracy and constitution.

          I ask the Dalit leaders attending the NIC meet—in front of your very eyes, the constitution of Baba Bhimrao Ambedkar is being trampled upon—what are you doing about it? Everyone knows that the RSS has always hated the Indian constitution and the very idea of India as a secular state—why then is there no talk of banning the RSS?   The RSS has openly challenged the Indian State. RSS chief Sudarshan has openly exhorted his cadres to attack minorities—I am attaching this statement: “Dear Hindus, In the rule of Congress Hindus, Hindu Saints and Hindu leaders are attacked. Hindus sentiments are hurt on the issues like Amarnath Pilgrim, Ram Setu etc. For these we should start praying and chanting for 10 minutes not only for the defeat of Congress in the coming election but also to destroy anti-Hindu and anti-nation Congress, Communist, anti-Hindus and pseudo Hindus”.

          What kind of poison is this—what is the Government of India doing about this? This is the same language Hitler used against Jews and Communists in the 1930s—is it part of the anti-national plan of Modi, Patil and the RSS to turn India into another Germany of the 1930s?

 

          Members of the NIC, please act before it is too late. Ban the Bajrang Dal, VHP and the RSS. Constitute a judicial enquiry into the Batla House encounter. Request the UPA Government to put a stop to acts of Muslim persecution and arrests. Publish a white paper on terrorism, which shows the real face of the culprits. Enact a new law which prevents atrocities against minorities and Adivasis.

Please do not be scared of a Hindu backlash or some such nonsense—I assure you, these people have killed Sharma, their own man during the Batla House encounter. Hindus have no sympathy for them. Talk to ordinary Hindus—they are nationalists and they want a revival of composite culture. They know that Indian Muslims have a long history of nationalism—if Muslims had really wanted to take revenge, they would have attacked Modi or Advani. They would not have attacked ordinary, innocent Hindus and Muslims in cowardly bomb blasts.

          It is known the world over that blasts which kill ordinary people are the handiwork of International, anti-national, evil and fascist forces. These forces can never become popular. So they execute blasts in order to create terror and ensure that people do not protest, or come out to vote against them.

 

Any Indian supporting RSS is anti-national—and he or she will be given an appropriate response.