Ashgar Ali Engineer, India, November 2008
And now Hindu terrorists?
Complexity of Terrorism in India.
Keywords: Use of religion for war, use of religion for peace | | | | India
Muslims for long had been objecting to the term Islamic terrorists and when the term Hindu terrorists was used by a section of the media the Sangh Parivar members protested how can one use the term ‘Hindu Terrorists? The first to object to this term was Mr. Ram Madhav of RSS told The Asian Age « There is no such thing as Hindu terror at all. It is an orchestrated campaign to protect the real terrorists. » Also when asked about the Sadhvi Pragnya’s arrest, he immediately tried to distance RSS from her. The « involvement of individuals, he said, « had nothing to do with any Hindu organization. »
Similarly Mr. Advani, the opposition leader, also distanced BJP and RSS from the Sadhvi. He claimed he had no knowledge as to who Pragya was till now. Advani told Times of India that it seemed obvious that she would have parted ways with the pariwar outfits because her thoughts and methods did not match with those propagated by the organizations which she may have belonged to. This was reason enough for her to move out of them.
Mr. Advani went on to cite the example of Nathu Ram Godse who killed Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, 1948. « Godse was associated with RSS earlier in his life but left the organization way back in 1934 because he did not agree with its ways », he pointed out. Mr. Advani at least admitted that Nathu Ram Godse was associated with the RSS which was denied earlier.
Well it is Mr. Advani’s view that RSS does not believe in violence. Mr. Advani himself was in the RSS for long time and who knows better than he that very beginning of RSS was to train Hindus to fight Muslim bullies and all RSS branches give training in wielding lathis. Then it also set up other organizations to give training in arms. Even Durga Wahini gives training to its women members in using firearms.
Mr. Advani also must know very well that RSS has great admiration for Hitler and even today in some BJP ruled states like Gujarat and Rajasthan Hitler and Nazism is admired and described as the only solution for the country as the country needs a strong leader to take right decisions in right time. And Hitler was not all about peaceful means. To claim that Hindutva organizations do not believe in violence is to say fire does not burn at all but heals.
Everyone knows what VHP and Bajrang Dal were up to in Gujarat and what kind of violence they indulged in during Gujarat carnage of 2002. It is VHP cadre along with BJP leaders who killed or prompted others to kill 2000 Muslims most brutally. Was that no violence? Or was it no belief in violence?
Mr. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the BJP vice-president tried to argue after arrests of Sadhvi and her associates that « To protect real terrorists, the artificial terrorists are being shown. » He clearly implies that Sadhvi and her two associates are not real terrorists and the police have arrested them only to protect real terrorists. Mr. Naqvi thinks real terrorists could be only Muslims? But he also said, « There can’t be either Muslim or Hindu terror. »
Was this not what all secularists and Muslims maintained all along? Terrorists have no religion but the Sangh Parivar in particular and the media in general always used the terms like Islamic terrorists or Muslim terrorists and the police, whenever arrested some Muslim boys without any proof invariably described them as Muslim terrorists. And even if these boys whom police arrests are in any way involved in those horrific acts of terror it does not mean Islam teaches terrorism or Muslims in any way believe in killing innocent bystanders.
But RSS continued to propagate what has now almost become a proverb « All Muslims are not terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims. » Now that their own people have been found involved in Malegaon bomb blasts, all Hindutva organizations and their leaders are maintaining that Hindus cannot be terrorists and Hindu culture does not believe in violence. As long as Muslims were being arrested it was quite alright to maintain that it is Islam and Muslim culture which produces terrorists.
The real fact is that neither Hinduism nor Islam nor does any other religion preach terrorism. It is possible that some individuals or even group or organization may employ religious terminology or employ religious rhetoric to justify their condemnable acts but that does not hold that religion or religious community to be responsible for that act of terrorism. The group or concerned organization can alone be held responsible for its acts, not the religion that the group belongs to, much less entire religious community.
Here that Hindutva leaders are cleverly saying that how Hindus or Hindu culture can be responsible for such violence. The Hindus as individuals or as a groups believing in violence can certainly be responsible but not Hinduism. Hinduism is a religion of peace and non-violence as Islam is also religion of peace and non-violence but some Hindus or Muslims or some organization consisting of some individuals form these communities can certainly be responsible for terrorist violence.
The arrests of Sadhvi and her associates has at last brought out in open what was all along known that some Hindutva organizations were making bombs and they should be investigated in terrorist attacks in places like Malegaon (2006), Mecca Masjid blasts in Hyderabad etc but the police turned a blind eye to this demand and arrested only Muslims indiscriminately.
Now after arrests of Pragnya and her associates many Muslims feel that the UPA Government arrested these persons only on the eve of election to soothe Muslim frayed nerves, especially after the Batla House ‘encounter’ which human rights activists and Muslims thought had raised many questions. Thus Muslims and secular forces in the country feel these arrests of some Hindutva activists were done to satisfy them and after elections again the police may continue to harass Muslims. Also, the Malegaon blasts of 29 September 2008 it was almost impossible for police to arrest some Muslims as all former SIMI activists were under jail already and secondly if Muslims were arrested this time again, Muslims would have protested severely and UPA Government would have suffered another credibility blow on the eve of elections.
I had investigated Malegaon blasts of 2006 and had made all political leaders across party lines and common people and intellectuals and no one was convinced that those arrested after the blasts in 2006 in which more than 50 persons were killed could have been carried out by those arrested by the police. It was important festival and Friday and the bombs went off just when the Friday prayers ended. No Muslim would go for blasting bombs at such a place on such an occasion.
Yet the police was determined to blame it only on some ex-SIMI members and would listen to no arguments.}} The 2006 blasts should be reinvestigated and I am sure something else would be revealed. I have seen the charge sheets filed by ATS in 2006 Malegaon blasts. It totally depends on confessions obtained in police custody and is bound to fail in any court of law. The real culprits would certainly escape.
The Nanded blasts in which two Bajrang Dal activists were killed had taken place just before Malegaon blasts of 2006 and there was every possibility of involvement of some of those persons in Malegaon blasts. Similarly the Mecca Masjid blasts of Hyderabad should also be thoroughly reinvestigated as it also took place on Friday just at the end of Friday prayers when thousands of Muslims were coming out of the Mosque.
And all those arrested in Mecca Masjid blasts were also mostly innocent persons. I have heard them in a public hearing in Hyderabad and human rights activists and civil rights group worked hard to get them released on bail as there was nothing by way of credible evidence against them. The courts had to give them bail. The Hyderabad police could not, or did not want to lay its hands on real culprits.
The involvement of some army officers even of the rank of major should not be surprising as many RSS sympathizers are regularly employed and after retirement they become active in Hindutva organizations. The army usually claims to be quite secular, and probably it is, but it should be much more careful while recruiting soldiers and officers. No one with communal background should be recruited. This principle is not being rigorously observed at the time of recruitment. Many people who come out of RSS controlled schools and colleges are recruited in army.
I think it will be better if all terror blast cases be investigated by the police of credible conduct under the supervision of retired high court justices. This will reduce possibility of biased investigation though may not all together eliminate it. It is in the interests of the internal security of the country. It appears communal riots are fast being replaced by bomb blasts and some people suspect, it is new strategy of the communal forces. Major communal riots are becoming increasingly difficult to organize.
The civil society should also become vigilant against all terrorists of whatever religion or group. As communal riots were major danger in twentieth century, terrorist attacks are for 21st century.