Posts Tagged ‘Sangh Parivar’

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

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)

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.

 

 

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.                     

The Times of India does it again – VII

November 14, 2008

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Opinion/EDITORIAL_COMMENT__Say_No_To_Terror/articleshow/3709820.cms#write

Comments posted on Times of India website
re: TOI Editorial – Say no to Terror

 

You Wrote:

“BJP president Rajnath Singh has not done his party any good by defending the accused in the Malegaon blasts.”
 
Just because Advani and others are resorting to ‘no comment’ on the arrests of so many Sangh Parivar operatives, how you can play naïve and say, as if Rajnath is against the party or against the consensus in the party. Beside how can you presume he is defending the accused; in fact he is defending the whole Sangh Parivar whose credibility as civil society members is in serious jeopardy.

You Wrote:
“Singh, unlike other senior members of his party, has assumed that those arrested by Maharashtra’s anti-terror squad are innocent and has blamed investigators and the Congress party of framing Hindu leaders. His tirade against the investigation is in sharp contrast to the position the BJP has adopted towards terrorism so far. The BJP has always called for strong action against terrorism and castigated the government for not doing enough to curb terrorism. “
Your sermonizing is laughable. The party and its whole crowd thrive on terrorism going back to 1925, when the founders of RSS idolized fascism of Mussolini and Hitler. How can TOI ignore a long history of Sangh Parivar’s terror record? Assassination of Mahatama Gandhi and demolition of Babri Masjid are the most striking achievements of the votaries of violence and terror in the past. How can you expect anything other than their trademark reaction to their being caught in the act? Besides, it is the Times of India that was the first from the mainstream media to use the term ‘reverse terrorism’ in the headline of one of your stories, right after ATS announced the arrest of Sadhvi. It was almost a covert signal to the faithful to follow the aggressive line of defense. Can your editorial advice to BJP convince your average reader that your own credentials are above board in the matter?
Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai
————————————————-
Full text of the editorial:

BJP president Rajnath Singh has not done his party any good by defending the accused in the Malegaon blasts. Singh, unlike other senior members  

 

of his party, has assumed that those arrested by Maharashtra’s anti-terror squad are innocent and has blamedinvestigators and the Congress party of framing Hindu leaders. His tirade against the investigation is in sharp contrast to the position the BJP has adopted towards terrorism so far. The BJP has always called for strong action against terrorism and castigated the government for not doing enough to curb terrorism. The party can’t now accuse investigators of partisanship because some of the accused belong to its ranks. 

The BJP has been in a mode of denial since the ATF arrested Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, formerly with the BJP’s student wing, in the Malegaon blasts case. First, Singh claimed that a believer in cultural nationalism couldn’t be a terrorist. Since then, more sangh parivar activists have been arrested in connection with the blasts. The BJP should wake up to this serious threat to national security from within the sangh parivar’s ranks and not shift the blame to the police. The party should also rein in leaders like Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath who has been issuing provocative statements against the police. Hindu monks are liable to prosecution if found guilty of terrorism like other citizens of this country. The charges could be challenged in the court but party leaders should not slam the arrests as a political conspiracy without evidence. Terrorism of any ideological persuasion is unacceptable and political parties should make that clear to cadres. 

For the BJP, this is a moment of reckoning. The party has to decide whether it wants to protect extremists in its ranks or adopt liberal political views. Singh, unfortunately, seems to prefer the former and his shrill comments resemble those of politicians like Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray who recently called for forming Hindu suicide squads. A national party like the BJP can’t afford to mimic the likes of Thackeray. 

It is up to senior BJP leaders like L K Advani to clarify that there is no ambiguity about the party’s position on terrorism. However, they have been largely silent. As a party expected to be in the running to form the government after the next general elections, the BJP needs to clarify its stand on all forms of terror. The country is waiting.

 

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.


Rejoinder to Yogendra Yadav’s TOI article: “Injustice can produce a Gandhi, a Mandela or a terrorist” (Tuesday, October 28, 2008).

October 28, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

 

 

Rejoinder to Yogendra Yadav’s TOI article: “Injustice can produce a Gandhi, a Mandela or a terrorist” (Tuesday, October 28, 2008).

 

 

 

If Yogendra Yadav is referring to the currently popular definition of the word ‘terrorist’, he is wasting his time on matters that are only part of the bigger whole. He must first clearly visualize what he would like to treat as terrorism and what he will not accept as terrorism. Peace cannot be achieved by one-sided colored view of the total picture. An analyst should be prepared to view both sides of the coin.

 

The timing of his article in TIMES OF INDIA, today, on Oct 28, 2008, a few days after ATS has made some arrests of Hindu Radicals from Sangh Parivar, is very significant as much as, before the public exposure of the involvement of Sangh Parivar’s minions in bombings and communal rioting, the whole blame of such ‘terrorism’ was squarely placed on a convenient agencies created invention called SIMI.

 

Even now in his present article, he seems to have written an apologia for the Hindu involvement in terror attacks, when he has finally brought up the subject of what triggers ‘terrorism’. I have not come across any of his writing earlier than this, trying to figure out what motivated SIMI to commit bombings, if at all it is involved and if they were subjected to some injustice.

 

If his main objective is to project how ‘injustice’ impacts the victims, he has not bothered to even hint what injustices had been inflicted on SIMI or Bajrangis and by whom.

 

If it is the state that is guilty of injustice, then why is Yadav so hesitant, circumspect and scared to take on the state as the real culprit who organises such orgy of violence for its own political exigencies?

 

Yadav wants to invite the victims to choose, either to become a Gandhi, a Mandela or a terrorist.

 

However, it is not so easy to make a choice.

 

Even Gandhi and Mandela did not become ‘heroes’, without British co-opting them into carrying on their own political agenda. British were mortally afraid of another ‘mutiny’ in India. They transported Gandhi, a genuine pacifist — back to India to pacify Indian people —- just as they used to transport indentured labour to distant lands. It is the British that got Jinnah to organise a big welcome in Bombay for Gandhi, to project Gandhi as a big national leader. At every step of the way, Gandhi was courted at the highest level, to help British colonialists to maintain peace in the land. It is the British that left India for their own violation or compulsions, and not necessarily on Gandhi’s peace efforts.

 

British got Mandela out of prison after 27 years, when it became impossible to continue apartheid due to pressure from US Human Right groups, who wanted all US investments to pull out of South Africa as per US law requirements.

 

Terrorism in India has wider nuances than what Mr. Yadav has tried to present by way of enticing people to junk ‘terrorism’. His is a very noble exercise. 

However, if he really wants to contribute to clear up terrorism, he should do a deeper study of who is the mastermind behind the curtain manipulating of the pawns on the chessboard.

 

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

ghulammuhammed3@gmail.com

www.ghulammuhammed.wordpress.com

————————————————————————————-

TIMES OF INDIA – October 28, 2008


THE PEACE SERIES


Injustice can produce a Gandhi, a Mandela or a terrorist

By Yogendra Yadav, 

Co-director of Lokniti and senior fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, reminds us that a terrorist is someone who at one point believed in the system


Terrorism is politics by other means. More often that not, a terrorist is a failed or disappointed reformist, someone who at one point believed in the system. Almost every act of mad terrorist violence is shaped by deep passion, not very different from the emotion that shapes any form of creativity. The wounds that a terrorist inflicts on scores of innocent victims are rationalized in the name of justice.


There are no doubt many a mercenaries among the ranks of terrorists, but those who we call terrorists often see themselves as nothing less than heroes, as persons who refuse to take it lying down or follow the conventional and ineffective ways of responding to a perceived injustice. Theirs is often the determination that produces a Gandhi, the quest for justice that creates a Mandela. When this kind of a person takes to terrorism, we lose a vital energy that could have shaped the idea of India.


If we agree that terror is failed politics, then the solution lies in firmly closing the back door of politics of terror and making sure that the front door of democratic negotiation, protest and contestation is kept open.

 

We have to think, in other words, about what the terrorists wish to say, about how they could have said it without taking this route. The trouble with so much talk about terrorism and ways of eliminating it is that it discusses only one half of the solution. Security experts talk only about how to close the back door of terror. But you cannot close all the doors for someone. You have to think equally hard about how to keep the front door of democratic politics firmly open for those who see no hope in the system.


This is not as simple as it looks. Following this simple formula requires complex negotiation with the orthodoxies that we have surrounded ourselves with. It requires not just confronting the bundle of lies perpetrated by communal politics, we also need to face some of the orthodoxies, silences and half-truths of the secular discourse.


How, for instance, do you firmly close the door of terror? This is not just a question for security agencies and terror experts, but also a question for human rights activists and secular politics. Left to themselves, the security experts will come up with solutions that are worse than the problem itself. Laws like POTA or AFSPA may occasionally succeed in nabbing a terrorist who escapes the net of ordinary laws, but the real-life implementation of such laws is bound to create many more terrorists than it nabs. Encounters like Jamia Nagar strike at the public trust in the police force. Reports like the Nanawati Report on Gujarat strike at the public confidence in judges as custodians of truth. The recent violence in Orissa strikes at the idea of rule of law. But those of us who rightly oppose these have a positive duty too. We must come up with an alternative, democratic way of dealing with the terrorists – Jehadis, Bajrang Dalis or whatever variety – that is at once effective and can respect the rights of every citizen.


The more important question in the long run is how do you keep open the doors for democratic negotiations? This brings us face to face with the delicate question of the involvement of some Indian Muslims in the recent acts of terror. Unfortunately one section of opinion in our country does not wish to acknowledge this fact while the other section does not want to look at the reasons why they may have taken to terror. It is only when we acknowledge that a tiny section of the Indian Muslim youth may be involved in it that we can begin to address some of the underlying reasons.


The way to keep doors for democratic politics open for this section of the Muslim youth is to create a space for open discussion about the condition of the Indian Muslims. The Sachar Committee report has done a great service to the country by making it possible to talk about some of these questions. Now we need to take the next step by debating the ways of addressing the disadvantage and discrimination that the Muslims face in every walk of life. We need to discuss modalities of affirmative action for the Muslims. We need to find ways of improving the political representation of the Muslims. Above all, the public arena needs to open itself to hear the voice of the Indian Muslims, their aspiration for dignity, identity and justice.


Secular politics has to evolve a language to speak about these issues to the public at large. In order to do so, it has to begin to address some difficult questions: How do we address some of the legitimate fears of the Hindus about large-scale institutionalized conversions? What are the rights of the Hindu minorities in J&K or in the North East? How do we react to the patently anti-democratic edicts of the Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee? Politics of secularism must not be seen to be weak on minority communalism.


If terror is politics in a distorted mirror, it follows that peace has to be politically crafted. This requires nothing short of renewing the idea of India for a new generation. This requires steadfast commitment to truth and the courage to question our own orthodoxies. We could do worse on a day to remember the maryadapurushottam.

 

[Ends]

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA – By Shabnam Hashmi & Ram Puniyani

September 16, 2008

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA

 

September 15, 2008

New Delhi

 

Dear Dr. Manmohan Singh,

 

The blasts in Delhi (September 12, 2008) are another in the series of tragic blasts in which scores of people have been killed. We strongly condemn the blasts and demand a proper, unbiased investigation into the same. We demand that the guilty be punished. At the same time it seems that our investigating agencies are ignoring some thing very crucial in the matters of investigating the acts of terror.

 

The acts of terror have been occurring and Home Ministry is watching helplessly. While the current investigation is totally focused around SIMI, many an alleged culprits have been put behind the bars, despite which now some unknown entity Indian Mujahideen seems to have been projected as being responsible for the current ones. At the same time another stark truth is being deliberately sidelined and undermined. And that relates to the blasts done by Bajrang Dal and Hindu Jagran Samiti. We fail to understand as to why the investigation authorities are turning a blind eye to some of the well established facts.

 

1. In a serious case of blasts in Nanded in April 2006 two Bajarang Dal workers died when making bombs. Similar incidents of bomb blasts were witnessed in many places around that time, Parabhani, Jalna and Aurangabad in Maharashtra. Most of these were in front of the mosques. The Nanded investigation ‘leads’ were not followed. On the contrary the investigation in that direction was not pursued at all. The attitude of police in this investigation has been totally lax. Social activists made the complaint about this to Human Rights commission. The commission summoned the Superintendent of police, Nanded, in its hearing held on 17thJune. The SP failed to turn up for hearing! There seems to be a deliberate cover up of this important finding of Maharashtra Anti terrorist Squad. ATS did investigate the links of the dead with Bajrang Dal, an RSS affiliate. At the same time the injured were visited in the hospital by the top brass of local BJP and associates. Local BJP MP told the police not to harass those related to the culprits in the wake of the Bajrang Dal involvement in the bomb making. In Nanded, ATS also found fake moustache and pajama kurta, the idea being that the culprits will dress like a Muslim while doing these black deeds.

 

2. A bomb blast took place at the RSS office at Tenkasi, in the Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu on January 24. After a thorough investigation, the Tamilnadu Police had arrested 7 persons belonging to Sangh Parivar outfits. They had confessed that they indulged in this terror act to instigate the local Hindu population against the Muslims.

 

On further investigation, the Tamilnadu Police arrested Siva Alias Sivanandam, who is the General Secretary of Hindu Munnani at Kadayanallur, a neighbouring town of Tenkasi. Formed in 1980, Hindu Munnani is a frontal organisation of Sangh Parivar operating in Tamilnadu.

 

Siva, who has earlier worked in quarries in the neighboring state of Kerala had supplied the ammonium nitrate and other raw materials for preparing the bombs.

 

3. The bombs which exploded in Gadkari Rangayatan on 4th June 2008 injured seven people. Again Maharashtra Anti Terrorist Squad succeeded in nabbing the culprits. The culprits were part of Hindu Janjagaran Samiti (HJS), an outfit of Sanatana Ashram in Panvel. These culprits were also involved in other blasts, in Vashi, Panvel and Ratnagiri. We have not heard anything about the further tracing of this very important lead.

 

4. On 24th August, in Kanpur two Bajrang Dal workers died while making bombs. Rajiv alias Piyush Mishra and Bhupinder Singh were killed while making crude bombs on Sunday afternoon.

 

On 25th August, Monday, police recovered some crude hand grenades, lead oxide, red lead, potassium nitrate, bomb pins, timers and batteries from the spot, inside a hostel in Kalyanpur area of Kanpur, about 80 km from Lucknow. No further investigation, why?

 

Every time there is a bomb blast immediately the agencies and the media declare that it is done by some Muslim organization without any proof. Hundreds of innocent young boys are picked up, what follows are illegal detentions, torture, arrests, harassment of families, forcing the families and victims to sign blank papers. For years these helpless victims are tortured in jails, denied legal aid, even lawyers who try and fight their cases are attacked openly in courts. Their images tarnished for life time. If they are lucky they get let off after years as neither the agencies or the police have any proof against them. The cacophony of stricter laws rises so that a police can extract a confession by third degree torture and present that as evidence.  Through this systematic vilification campaign the process of demonization of minorities continued unabated.

 

If we look at the timing of the terror attacks it is very clear that one and only one political outfit is gaining from it and that is Sangh. With their eyes on the central government their agenda of polarizing the voter is going ahead successfully.

 

On the other hand there are constant attacks on minorities on one pretext or another. Orissa thousands of Christians have been attacked, rendered homeless, their homes ransacked and looted and burnt down, churches attacked and even orphanages are not left alone.

 

Karnataka a similar picture is emerging. We have personally briefed very senior people in the government and the Congress party about the Karnataka situation and that it might explode but nothing was done and we have seen what has happened yesterday.

 

While we write to you now, the police are firing at Muslims in Yakutpura in Vadodara. Yesterday during the Ganpati procession a local dargah was broken down and shops of Muslims looted and ransacked. Already one boy has died and many are injured.

Last few days the only Muslim village Nandepeda in the Dangs, Gujarat has been attacked, ransacked. Villagers have been beaten up brutally including women and children. All men have fled to the jungles. The police not only took away all the goods but before going they poured kerosene into the eatable good so that they could not eat anything too. A proposed VHP rally today was stopped after spending 4 hours on the phone and pressuring various police departments. 

 

UPA had formed the National Integration Council under tremendous pressure. The first agenda papers which were prepared, if you remember, were highly communal and objectionable. A number of us had raised it during the meeting and the Home Minister had replied’ treat them as scrap’ in your presence. Probably the Home Minister realized that people like us were too uncomfortable to have in the NIC, who would raise these questions. The NIC was never convened again. It was supposed to meet every six months.

 

The country unfortunately has been given on a platter to the Sangh and the government looks helplessly in providing security to ordinary citizens whether they are victims of terror attacks or victims of the constant attacks by the Sangh Parivar’s various outfits.

 

We hope you will intervene and question why are such clear cases of involvement of RSS affiliates in terror attacks being ignored. It seems the investigating authorities deliberately want to cover up the role of RSS affiliates in these acts of terror. Can the real truth behind the dastardly acts come out without properly investigating these incidents, where the culprits’ involvement is very clear? We urge upon you to instruct the investigating authorities to pursue the investigation in an unbiased, honest and professional manner. The life of innocent citizens is at stake and such irresponsible cover will definitely prevent the real truth from coming out. For the sake of fairness, honesty and the values of our constitution, we need to pursue these cases in their logical direction.

 

Can we look forward to you, Mr. Prime Minister to make your Government to rise above partisan attitude and unravel the truth behind the blasts which are rocking the country in a painful way?

 

Sincerely

 

 

Shabnam Hashmi, Member, National Integration Council

Ram Puniyani, Social Activist, and writer

The SIMI Question: The Underlying Farce – By Amaresh Misra

August 23, 2008

The SIMI Question: The Underlying Farce 

 

                                                          By Amaresh Misra

 

 

          Shri Yogendra Yadav has responded to my article `The SIMI Question: Indian democracys acid test with a plea for a debate on the issue: what should be our stand on SIMI? I do welcome a debate on this issue and there is no doubt in my mind about Yogendra Yadavs integrity or his genuine concern for secularism.   

          However I would like to raise a counter question: is this question relevant at this juncture? In my previous article I made it clear that one can disagree vehemently with SIMIs ideologybut is disagreement enough for physical persecution of Muslims or even SIMI? Can one persecute for a crime under IPC sections someone who merely discusses, in private meetings, some abstract jihad, or says things like `secularism: NO; nationalism: NO? By that measure all Left parties can be taken to task for advocating at some point or the other overthrow of the Indian ruling classes or the Indian State.

          Application of constitutional law is not based on utterancesto persecute someone, first a charge has to be fixed. Like in the 1993 Mumbai I discovered a legal monstrosityapparently the Mumbai Police had booked several individuals who had the intention of taking revenge for the 1992-93 riots. But these individuals were not responsible even by the polices own charge-sheet of executing the bomb blasts on 12th March 1993. Legally, you cannot book someone for expressing the `intent, or `imagining a crime.

          Let me give an example: there were four or five different conspiracies to kill Mahatama Gandhi; but only Nathuram Ghodse committed the act of pulling the triggerwere all other individuals involved in other conspiracies booked for that one particular act of Nathuram Ghodse? Of course notbooking others for expressing the intent of doing what Ghodses did would be a legal joke.

          But the same legal joke was played on Muslims arrested for the 1993 blastsseveral were tortured; their lives were destroyed. Later, even the TADA court found `fantastic Mumbai Polices attempt to create several `chains that led to the blaststhe TADA court questioned that how could people involved in `other chains, who were unable to even execute their `designs were booked for a crime committed by a different `chain?

          Sorry to say thisbut Javed Anands comments and observations are plainly sillyand this is not a personal comment. It is a political commentin all examples given by Javed Anand there is not one, I repeat not one, instance where SIMI members are seen or heard by eye witnesses as planning specific bomb blasts or terror attacks. Eyewitnesses, merely record SIMI members as praising Bin Laden or vowing revenge for Gujaratbut since when has this become a crime in Indiawhere is the evidence that these utterances led to specific terror incidents?

          Javed Anand has failed to cite one instance of specific evidence for a specific act. One is really amazed at his naivety or deliberate attempt to mislead people when he writes that are the blasts after blasts, in city after city of India in recent years, part of the “jihad” espoused by SIMI? The investigating agencies obviously believe this to be the case. Why else would SIMI activists be routinely detained, arrested, interrogated, charge-sheeted and put on trial? Admittedly, they have yet to establish the terrorism charge against SIMI activists before any court of law in any of the blast cases.

          Note the lines I have underlinedhere Javed Anand is actually making a case that Indian agencies should be trusted Why else would SIMI activists be routinely detained, arrested, interrogated, charge-sheeted and put on trial? He writes

          Javed Anand would have retained some credibility had he at least distanced himself from security agencies. Even the Government of India is skeptical about the `secularism of its security forcesonly the RSS and the BJP and the Sangh Parivar hail security agenciesknown for persecuting, killing and torturing Muslims in particularas `heroes. So where, in which camp, does such a statement take Javed Anand?   

          Shri Yogendra Yadavs plea for a debate on SIMIs ideology shall have to wait for the right timeor it can be done in private gatheringsit cannot be made into a public issue by Indian patriots and secularists not because it will `weaken the fight against Muslim persecution. I am not in favor of such arguments. SIMIs ideology should not be made an issue simply because it is a non issue. A person is dying on the streetare we going to determine ideology before trying to save him or her?

          Another thing: the RSS would have been harmless if it had just spoken about Hindu Rashtra and the likebut since its inception, then in 1947 and then now, the RSS has worked to kill people systematically. The RSS stands in a league different from SIMI. Those disagreeing with SIMIs ideology must understand thisSIMI cannot be compared with Bajrang Dal.  Javed Anand writes that the first ban was slapped on SIMI in 2001, the chief ministers of Maharashtra, MP and Rajasthan made a strong case before the NDA for a simultaneous ban on SIMI and the Bajrang Dal. And rightly so…”

          SIMIs utterances are verbal and defensive in nature; Bajrang Dal has killed women and children and boasted about thiscan they be placed at par?

          Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru categorically said that while Hindu communalism is dangerous and on the offensive, Muslim communalism is defensive in nature. Here the father of Indian secularism is clearly stating that both cannot be placed at par.

          It is the issue of placing Bajrang Dal and SIMI on one platform that is disquieting. This is not only a legal travesty but a political travesty as well. The RSS since its inception as been opposed to the creation of a secular Indiathey are the number one force responsible for partition. New research, recently declassified British secret records and documents reveal that in 1947, the `communal riots of Delhi, in which tens of thousands of Muslims were massacred, was not a riot at allit was an armed uprising staged by the RSS to kill the new Indian nation-State in its infancy and proclaim a Hindu Rashtra. The Indian army with the active backing of Nehru was used to crush this revolt.

          Now see the pattern of recent actions against SIMI activists for the Ahmedabad Blasts and the so-called `cracking of the case by Gujarat Police and Narendra Modi: in March 2008, Safdar Nagori, the supposed `head of SIMI organization is arrested by the Madhya Pradesh Policenote that the BJP is in power in Madhya Pradesh. Nagori `confesses to the existence of armed camps in Gujarat. Amongst others, he `gives the names of Zahid Sheikh and Usman Agarbattiwala as SIMI associates to the MP Police.

          Now, according to a pro-Modi report written for rediff.com by some Sheela Bhatt, and corroborated by other reports in the Times of India and the Indian Express, after the July 2008 Bangalore and Ahmedabad blasts   “the Gujarat police’s databank of SIMI members in Ahmedabad had some names including that of Zahid Sheikh. They picked him up and started interrogating him extensively.

`He is a fanatic. He is not a Gujarati, he is not an Indian. He claims he is merely a soldier of Islam. These accused don’t belong to even their own families,’ said a source in the police.

`You will have to understand the identity of the perpetrators of the bomb blasts’. Their `transnational identity itself is an anti-national act’, says one of the interrogators”.

          Just note the pattern here—the Gujarat Police just picks up the databank they have on SIMI members and arrest Zahid Sheikh because his name was given by Safdar Nagori during his March interrogation! Just that! No other evidence! Sheikh is presumed guilty and `transnational’ only because he says `he says that he is a soldier of Islam’!

          Similarly, a Baroda officer of the Gujarat Police   got from the databank a file on SIMI activists living in Baroda. The blue file had a professionally prepared dossier on SIMI activists, and the opening page featured Usman Agarbattiwala complete with his photograph.

Asthana went through the accompanying details like Agarbattiwala’s telephone numbers, his work, background and the names of all his relatives that were in the dossier.

Immediately, details of Agarbattiwala’s telephone calls, both made and received, were procured. It took relentless work through day and night to make the chart of the most frequently made calls from his phone. They were then narrowed down and owners of those numbers were detected and, in turn, the printouts of those phone calls were procured. A professional hard work done with the help of computers in the police headquarters in Kothi area yielded fantastic results.

Asthana’s team created a cluster of cell phone movement among select persons. These movements were finally narrowed down to Agarbattiwala, Kayamuddin Kapadia, Imran Sheikh and Iqbal Sheikh. In no time Agarbattiwala, Imran and Iqbal were picked up. Along with others Joint Commissioner of Police Pravin Kumar Sinha and inspector Karimbhai Polra played an important role in Asthana’s team.

The first copy of the interrogation report was sent to the Ahmedabad team which was narrowing down on local SIMI activists including Zahid Sheikh. Agarbattiwala’s cracking proved very crucial. Bhatia and Chudasama cracked Zahid Sheikh as much as they could. In Baroda, Iqbal was a new entrant to SIMI ranks but some of the detainees were tough nuts to crack who had undergone special training to withstand police methods. On the basis of the early lead provided by the interrogations in Baroda and Ahmedabad, teams of Gujarat police travelled to Kerala, Mumbai, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka to collect a variety of documentary evidence.

By August 8-9, Modi knew his state police was just days away from success that has eluded the police in other Indian states wracked by terrorism”.

          This fawning, pro-Modi article, a farce in the name of journalism, lets the cat out of the bag. In every case, Police officers just had to check the SIMI databank or connect phonecalls and presto—they had their culprit! How much more ridiculous can you get? The fact remains that even Safdar Nagori’s confession to the MP police is suspect—Nagori was tortured and his appeal is lying before the courts. So how can the police arrest Zahid and Agarbattiwala?

          Then the Gujarat Police goes to UP—and picks up Abu Bashar—because he too is linked with SIMI! And now Abu Bashar is the mastermind!

          The kind of story the Gujarat Police has made up makes one’s head spin—the Maharashtra Police did the same thing after the 1993 blasts and several blasts hence. They have not been able to prove even one, repeat even one, of their stories in a court of law.

          Now while Muslims are being picked up in SIMI’s name, the lead shown by the email sent through Ken Haywood’s email is allowed to go cold—in fact the Gujarat Police says that SIMI activists hacked into Haywood’s system!    

          Who is this Haywood? The mail sent by `Indian Mujheedin’ claiming responsibility for the Ahmedabad blasts, came from his computer. The investigative agencies knew of this on 26th July—what was the need to give a clean chit to Haywood? Why was he allowed to flee India? Why was his passport not impounded?

Here is a profile of Haywood’s background and that of his Company, issued by an American website: “Campbell White is the name of the Company…Campbell White’s MD is pastor Dan Rubianes, the head of the Door Christian Centre…a church with origins in Arizona in the US but relatively new to India. Door Christian Centre is a part of the Pentecostal Christian Fellowship Ministries, also known as the Potter’s House. Haywood is a functionary of the Potter’s House in Mumbai”.

Moreover, the Indian Express found that the Mumbai office of the MNC is located in two small adjoining rented rooms on the ground floor of Sanpada railway station complex in Navi Mumbai. The two rooms also serve as prayer rooms on Sundays and Thursdays for the Potter’s House. A notice pasted on the wall says the community service has been cancelled until further notice and is signed by Haywood.

The Express continued, explaining that “physical and Internet-based checks on other past and present employees of Campbell White like Scott Grabowska, a former Mumbai-based international protocol trainer, David Curwen-Walker, a senior operations manager, and Jonathan Heimberg, a senior information services manager, both in Bangalore, have shown links to the church. For instance, Curwen-Walker and Heimberg head the Door churches at Kammanahalli and Koramangala in Bangalore.”

The American website asks: “this is all very good stuff, but if the Indian press had been doing its job it could have circulated this information on the day that Haywood was linked to the Ahmedabad bombs. Still, the American press has been even worse, with the only coverage of Haywood’s curious case being a short piece in the Kingman Daily Miner.

          I would ask Shri Yogendra Yadav—what is all this? Is it not becoming apparent that there is a dubious company with a dubious foreign-Christian-evangelist-American background somewhere linked to the terror attacks? Now in India things have come to this—that Indian Muslims will be persecuted on imaginary links with SIMI but foreign nationals will be let off! The Haywood angle at least ought to have been investigated.

          By saying that despite disagreeing with SIMI, the organization cannot be put at par with the RSS or the Bajrang Dal, I think I have made my position clear on a vital issue on which Mr. Yogendra Yadav wanted some discussion; but what about Haywood and the ridiculous manner in which Zahid Sheikh, or Agarbattiwala or Abu Bashar were picked up?

          It would be of great service to the nation if Shri Yogendra Yadav picks up his pen or his laptop, and conducts his own investigations to write a detailed story of the ongoing `SIMI being terrorist’ farce in any one of India’s national newspapers or magazines. 

The SIMI question: Indian democracy’s acid test

August 21, 2008

The SIMI question: Indian democracy’s acid test

 

                                                              

By Amaresh Misra

 

 

          The lifting of the ban on SIMI by the Special Tribunal constituted under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 2006, headed presently by Justice Geeta Mittal, needs to be welcomed by all secular Indians.

 

The persecution meted out to SIMI cadres during the past 15 years is nothing short of a legal scandal; the recent Tehelka story on the subject paints a frightening story of deliberate negligence, blatant disregard of the rule of law, violation of constitutional and civil rights of Indian citizens and cynicism towards the secular ideology of the Indian nation-state, by functionaries of Indian State agencies themselves. In the name of combating SIMI, ordinary Muslims were demonized, picked up from their homes in broad daylight, given third and fourth degree tortures and made to `confess’ to `crimes’ that were never proven. It is therefore painful to see so called secularists like Javed Anand taking—at this juncture, when some legal relief to beleaguered Muslims of India seems to be in sight, and when it is becoming apparent that the bomb blast phenomenon in India is a handiwork of communal elements in State services and the RSS-Sangh Parivar—the Urdu media and Muslim organizations to task for welcoming a plainly legal judgment!

 

          The Supreme Court since then has stayed the lifting of the ban—and this seems to give comfort to Mr. Javed Anand! Mr. Anand has failed totally in distinguishing between support for SIMI’s ideology and opposing persecution of Muslims in SIMI’s name. One can remain deadly opposed to SIMI’s ideology—but if a secularist or a leftist fails to welcome the lifting of the ban on SIMI then he or she is either willfully ignorant or willfully supportive of the Indian brand of fascism.

 

          Several quotes form Lenin and Mao can be presented to prove the point that leftists have to stand up for persecuted religious minorities irrespective of the ideologies of their representative or fringe organizations. But in India of late some pseudo or fake version of secularism has gained currency. Mr. Anand raises the question of going beyond the `law’ and seeing the SIMI threat on the `ideological’ plane; Mr. Yogendra Yadav in his reply to Mr. Ghulam Muhammad’s very reasonable riposte to Mr. Javed Anand goes one step further to say that there is `truth’ beyond `law’!

 

          Come on, people—are we discussing philosophy, the nature of truth etc. here? What kind of ridiculous levels are we descending to? Mr. Javed Anand and Mr. Yogendra Yadav ought to answer two questions: whether the ban on SIMI was justified on legal grounds? Just a simple Yes or No—and whether the lifting of the ban is as per the spirit of the Indian constitution—again a simple Yes or No; there are no other issues involved—the Urdu media has been at the forefront of fighting all anti-national conspiracies; it is more patriotic than the Indian English media for sure. There are several stories which the Urdu media highlighted and which the English media picked up later—the Urdu media began the whole debate around the non-implementation of the Sri Krishna committee in 2007-2008; the English media picked up the theme later.

 

          When the Urdu media welcomes the lifting the ban on SIMI, it is acting not as a `Muslim media’ but as a responsible `Indian media’ conscious about the constitutional rights of all Indian citizens. The Urdu media was vocal about Muslim persecution in India not because Urdu is spoken and read largely by Muslims, but because they realized the unconstitutional nature of that persecution. The Urdu media in the 1990s has also been very vocal on atrocities on Dalits and the OBCs. It has carried long campaigns against several ills within the Muslim society, including the spread of ideas which even faintly suggest terrorism of any kind. Its nationalist and secular credentials are beyond doubt. The Government of India has had to consistently support the Urdu media and shield it from vicious attacks from communal forces because of this very reason.

 

          There was an attempt by communal elements in the Maharashtra State administration to book a journalist called Danish Riyaz in July 11 2006 Mumbai blasts; Danish was used to put pressure on the Urdu Times, which had spoken out consistently against minority persecution in general; one can cite several such instances.

 

          It is people, like Javed Anand who need to be a taught a lesson in secularism. They represent a section which makes fun of Muslim religious beliefs in the name of secularism—they shed crocodile tears over Muslim persecution without once daring to confront the RSS head on—have Javed Anand or Javed Akhtar or Yogendra Yadav been able to stand up against the RSS on any public platform? The RSS loves them for they represent some caricature of secularism, which can easily be used to paint secularism as against religion and Muslim appeasement.

 

          Defending the constitutional rights of Muslims is a political question—today in India, the ideology of SIMI etc is a non issue. The real issue is whether we will allow the RSS-Sangh Parivar and other fascist forces to derail the idea of India as a secular republic.

 

Mr. Javed Anand therefore stands guilty of creating an issue where there is none and therefore helping the RSS indirectly. Anti-religiosity has never been the hallmark of Indian secularism—in fact in the Indian context anti-religious secularism has always ended up as being friends of fascism which too is anti-religious; in fact, the pseudo-westernized culture of the Indian secular elite has been responsible to a great degree for the rise of the RSS; what India needs is indigenous secularism, of the Ganga-Yamuni Tehzeeb variety.

 

Recently, when the Shankarcharya of Puri attacked Narendra Modi for dividing Hindus and Muslims and for planting bombs in Gujarat to defame and persecute Muslims, Mr. Javed Anand or Mr. Yogendra Yadav did not come forward to welcome the statement. Here was a golden opportunity to harness the liberal tradition within the mainstream, the anti-RSS majority Sanatan Dharma Hindu element, to the cause of secularism. But people like Mr. Javed Anand and Mr. Yogendra Yadav of course, have no conviction in the power of the Shankaracharyas to fight the RSS. They do not realize that India has remained secular for so long, that in a Hindu majority country like India, Hindutva fascists have failed to secure more than 20% votes ever, because of the pro-Muslim nature of Sanatan Dharma, which had allied with Islam during the Mughal era and in 1857.

 

          Papers like Indian Express stand guilty of going against their own traditions of fearless journalism. I have contributed a lot to Indian Express’ edit page, mostly on themes like 1857. But any article against Muslim persecution has been shot down. I am saying this openly and blaming the Indian Express edit page editor Saubhik Chakravarty and Shekhar Gupta for their subtle and not so subtle anti-Muslim biases. Somewhere down the line, every pseudo-westernized Hindu holds an unexplained grudge against Muslims. This translates into biases in the media. I am a member of the Governing Council of the ICSSR. And if I can be published on several issues and rejected on issues of Muslim persecution, then you can imagine the treatment a Muslim journalist gets in the Indian Express.

 

          So it is true that the Indian `secular’ English media suffers from a pro-Hindutva bias. Even a rookie journalist will tell you that. A legal case has to be brought out against the Indian Express and the Times of India. India needs tough anti-defamation and anti-discrimination laws, where people would have the right to sue the Indian Express and the Times of India.        

 

One has to understand that in India secularism has been protected by the `illiterate’, non-westernized peasants and the common sense of the ordinary Indian. Indian/Hindu modernism and modernists have surrendered before fascism; on the contrary Indian/Hindu tradition and traditionalists have fought against the RSS. This dialectics needs to be understood—the soul of India needs to be understood in the fight against fascism. For fascists are pseudo-modernists of a different variety. And they fear not modernism but the everyday religious-traditional-political consciousness of the Hindu and Muslim Indian peasant.   

 

         Right now also it is not some so called secularist but a traditional politician like Digvijay Singh, the ex-CM of MP, who in an interview given to Tehelka, has openly spoken about the BJP-VH-RSS making bombs in India—Mr. Singh has said also that he has direct evidence in this matter. But of course, why would Mr. Javed Anand or Mr. Yogendra Yadav write on this, or welcome Mr. Singh’s statement or demand an enquiry into the role of RSS in the bomb blasts that have been rocking India? And why would the Indian Express publish any such thing?