Benefits From Mumbai
By Binu Mathew
Mumbai terrorist stand off is almost over. More than 200 civilians and about 20 police and army officials lost their lives. Taj Mahal palace, a symbol of India's business and commercial well being bears a ghostly look. The terror stricken populace slowly limp back to life. Will Mumbai be the same again? Will India be the same again?
There are talk in the media that the Mumbai terror attack is India's 9/11. The similiarities may be far fatched, but there are so many things that bears stark resemblances to each other. Both attacks are carried out apparently by muslim terrorist organisations. Both New York and Mumbai are commercial and business centers of the respective nations. Although the magnitude of the attacks may look dissimilar, the sheer psychological impact on the populace of both the nation and the world in general is comparable in dimension. 9/11 was an earth shattering event that unleashed a chain of reactions that changed the world irremediably, both inside the USA and around the world. And what about India's 9/11? It's very possible that the chain of reactions that followed the US 9/11 are likely to follow here as well. The leader of the opposition and a prime ministerial candidate of the Hindu right wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has called for stringent anti terror laws. A patriot act may not be far behind.
That gives us a clue to who is going to benefit from these terror attacks. The BJP has been calling for new anti-terror laws ever since the Congress led UPA government repealed the much reviled Prevention of Terrorist Atrocities Act(POTA). The UPA repealed the law as there were many complaints, especially from minority communities that it has been used selectively to frame innocents from a particular community. In the aftermath of Mumbai terror attacks, a new terror law is imminent.
tragedy of the terrorist attack is that the chief of Anti
Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Mumbai, Hemant Karkare, lost his life to terrorist's bullets. He was a brave and upright official who was probing the link between Hindu fascist organisations and terror blasts in several parts of India. The ATS under Karkare had arrested a Hindu Sanyasin and an army Lt. Colonel. Several other retired army personnel and retired Intelligence Bureau officials were also named in the affair. Indian news papers had carried pictures of the Sanyasin sitting with the president of the BJP and the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Prithvi Raj Chauhan. Then came the startling revelation that the International General Secretary of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), had donated money to Abhinav Bharat the organisation that master minded the September 29 Malegaon blast. The investigation was reaching such a stage that more top functionaries of Sangh Parivar (a general denomination for the various Hindu supremascist organisations) were likely to be named. Now, that Karkare is gone, and the nations attention is turned elsewhere, the enquiry may face a slow death.
Yesterday, a hindu colleague (who is a level headed moderate man himself) text messaged me saying, 'you people will make us terrorists'. He was suggesting that Muslims and Christians (the minorities in India) will make the majority Hindus terrorists! This is another fall out of India's 9/11. To put it simply, the position of minorities in India, especially Muslims has become more precarious. India will be communally more divided. It will only strengthen the Hindutva forces and their political wing, BJP. India is going to polls next year. These blasts are going to weaken the ruling Congress and strengthen the BJP.
And then the big international picture. The 'War on Terror' has come to India! Even though Indian Muslims had been demonised by the Hindutva forces in India, it had only a local impact. They were not part of the bigger war on Muslims perpetrated by the Israel- Neocon promoted George W. Bush regime. Diplomatically also,India kept a safe distance from the US war on terror fearing the backlash of the strong domestic muslim population. Now with the Mumbai terror attacks they have come under the radar of the 'War on Terror.' Now that the Obama regime is intending to spread this war into Pakistan and expand its operation in Afghanistan, India could be a willing strategic partner in the region.
And now to the question that is on everybody's mind. Who did this dastardly act? Although, this is not the topic of this article and also it is for the investigation agencies to decide, and as I dont want to engage in wild guesses I can suggest only this much, those forces who destroyed the twin towers in New York might be behind the Mumbai terror attacks too. Whoever benefitted from 9/11 will benefit from the Mumbai terror attack internationally and the Hindutva forces will benefit from it locally.
And the final question, Whither India?
And I fear how long can I write articles such as this.