—Terrorism's New Signature
By Subhash Gatade
12 October, 2007
it be the suicide bombers of LTTE or the jihadists of Al Qaeda or ET
guerillas working for a Basque region or the remnants of the Khalistani
terrorists or for that matter terrorism unleashed by groups owning allegiance
to the Hindutva brigade, the phenomenon of terrorism could be said to
span every community or country in different measures.
India, has also of late witnessed
a spurt in terrorist attacks. Recently we were told India stands among
the top five countries of the world which are susceptible to a terrorist
While nobody can deny the
role of jihadi terrorists belonging to the likes of Lashkar-e-Toiba
or Jaish-e-Mohammad in many such bloody and inhuman incidents, one feels
pertrubed over the mono-chromatic presentation of such a complex phenomenon
where green tends to dominate the rest. The conspiracy of silence over
the phenomenon of what is known in popular parlance as 'Hindutva terrorism'
needs to be questioned and confronted. ...The fanatics who spread violence
in the name of religion are worse than terrorists and more dangerous
than an alien enemy... (Quoted in the Supreme Court judgement in the
Best Bakery Case)
Nanded, a city in Maharashtra, which has a significant population of
different religious communities — Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs as well
as Buddhists — should ideally have become a new metaphor for secularism
as it is enlivened/practised in Indian subcontinent.
But sadly it is not so!
In fact, it represents today
the newly emergent danger of majoritarian terrorism with due support
from a section of the state machinery. A place which was once witness
to the last days of Guru Gobind Singh, the last of the Sikh Gurus, has
today metamorphosed itself into an important epicentre of Hindutva terrorist
It was evident in two explosions
the city witnessed within a span of nine months (April 2006 and February
2007) at the house of activists of RSS/Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena resulting
in death of four people. Arrival of Nanded on the 'terror' map of India
was followed by exposures about some earlier incidents as well —
which similarly showed involvement of Hindu youths in terrorist actions.
Of course the story does
not begin and end at Nanded nor can it be said that it is a Maharashtra
centric phenomenon. Exchief minister of Madhya Pradesh Digvijay Singh
has on record admitted the involvement of groups/individuals affiliated
with RSS in some similar acts in Madhya Pradesh. One can also look for
similar leads in different extreme actions undertaken by the Hindu right.
The biggest problem in this
connection seems to be the near absence of Muslims or Sikhs in the different
intelligence wings of the government. As a cover story in the weekly
newsmagazine 'Outlook' titled 'Muslims and Sikhs Need Not Apply' ( Saikat
Datta, Nov 13, 2006) puts it barring IB (Intelligence Bureau) which
has a handful of Muslim officers none of the other wings of intelligence
even have a single Muslim officer in its ranks. 1
Individuals associated with Hindutva outfits like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak
Sangh (RSS), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal are
developing terror networks in north Maharashtra targeting the region's
Muslim population. ...
The narco-analysis and brain-mapping
reports, which are with Tehelka, reveal that the accused were being
aided by state-level VHP and Bajrang Dal officials to execute bomb blasts
at mosques in Parbhani, Jalna and Purna in central Maharashtra... (Shaswat
Gupta Ray, The Tehelka, December 30, 2006)
An exclusive report 'Nanded
Blast: The Hindu Hand' by Shashwat Gupta Ray (www.tehelka.com) which
revealed the manner in which local Sangh Parivar members were installing
their own terror networks did not cause any furore.
Of course the reaction was
on expected lines. In fact one had witnessed similar 'conspiracy of
silence' when the actual blast had occured (6 th April 2006) in a house
belonging to an old activist of RSS called Laxman Rajkondwar. The explosion
had snuffed lives out of two youngsters who happened to be members of
RSS/ Bajrang Dal. While Himanshu Panse, was found to be blown into pieces
where his hands and legs literally lied scattered; Naresh, son of the
houseowner had succumbed to injuries in the chest. Three youngsters
who were later admitted to a hospital had suffered serious body injuries.
To be precise, it was the
time when L.K.Advani's Bharat Suraksha Yatra was to enter the state
of Maharashtra. A raid on one of the deceased's house had recovered
dresses and caps normally worn by Muslims in the area and also some
maps of mosques in nearby districts. One of the accused Rahul confessed
to having made bombs earlier.
The idea was to attack mosques
and Gurudwaras wearing those dresses and instigate a communal conflict.
The expectation was that the community under attack would retaliate
and a full scale riot would ensue. The only thing needed was explosives
in one form or other which could cause maximum damage to the places
hit. The making of bombs in a house owned by a old RSS activists who
supposedly dealt in fircrackers also seemed rather perfect..
Part of the Nizam's state
till its annexation, Nanded has had a history of communal tensions which
have aggravated since the demolition of Babri Mosque.(1992) While Hindu's
comprised the majority (5 lakhs), Muslims came second (2 lakhs) and
Sikhs came third (l Lakh). The city had witnessed communal riots in
the beginning of the year 2004 also when a group of miscreants riding
a motorcycle had thrown bombs into a large congregation of Muslims in
Parbhani, a city not very far from Nanded where they had assembled for
their Friday prayers.While embers at Parbhani had died down soon, it
took time for the police to control the situation in other cities and
towns in Marathwada then, including Nanded. The miscreants who had thrown
bombs in the congregation could never be found then. Incidentally the
narco test of the accused in Nanded blasts revealed that this group
of Hindu terrorists had only executed the criminal attack in Parbhani.
The most disturbing thing
about the Nanded blasts is the lack of sincerity on part of the investigating
agencies in pursuing the case, despite getting enough evidence that
district and state leaders of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and RSS were
involved in conceiving and executing the plan.
As the investigation done
by People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and other democratic rights
organisations (www.pucl.org) make it clear the district administration
even saw to it that the news of the blasts did not get wide coverage
outside. They also allegedly pressurised the local media not to follow
the case further after the initial huppaloo was over.
The local police itself made
contradictory statements initially and did not deem it necessary to
make arrests in the initial stages. The leniency shown by the police
towards these terrorist activities of a new kind was evident also from
the fact that it did not invoke the more stringent Maharashtra Control
of Organised Crime Act and National Security Act which could have made
their bail difficult.
And despite knowing the sensitive
nature of the case , the CBI, a federal investigating agency also expressed
its inability to conduct the investigations at its own level. In fact,
when the honourable court was deliberating on a petition filed by some
social organisations about the tardy investigations in the case, it
filed a suo motu affidavit in the high court about its inability to
take up the case as it was 'overburdened' and has 'limited hands to
deal with such cases'. ( It is a different matter that later it was
asked to investigate the case.)
The cumulative effect of
all these half-hearted interventions albeit a 'secular dispensation'
at the state and centre clearly demonstrated the kid-glove treatement
meted out to the terrorists of the Hindutva variety.Secular activists
rigthly raised a question that if the bomb explosion would have occured
in a predominantly minority area and the involvement of some 'fanatic'
Islamic group could be detected, whether the reaction would have been
Jalgaon: (Maharashtra) Police
is learnt to have seized explosive material from a residential complex
in MIDC area. According to senior officials, during a police raid on
Someshwar Somani's house police recovered 26 bags of ammonium nitrate,
500 detonators,13 centifuges etc which was meant for sale. (Jansatta,
30 January 2007)
The cavalier manner in which probe in the Nanded blasts were undertaken
could be said to have prepared the ground for stepping up of similar
activities in the area. A possible explosive incident in an area not
very far from the site of the first blast merely nine months after the
first blast rather demonstrated this fact in a strong manner.
The said accident occured
, on February 10, 2007, at about 12.15 a.m.which killed 28-year-old
Pandurang Ameelkanthwar on the spot as the biscuit boxes he was carrying
exploded. His cousin, Dhaneshwar Manikwar, who sustained 72 per cent
burns, died on February 16 at the JJ Hospital in Mumbai. The deceased
Ameelkanthwar happened to be ex Shakha Pramukh (Branch head) of Shiv
Sena and was associated with Bajrang Dal at the time of his death and
hailed from an area called Rangargalli in Nanded which is a hotbed of
rightwing Hindu outfits.
Preliminary findings of Concerned
Citizens Inquiry conducted by Justice Kolse-Patil, Teesta Setalvad and
others which went to the site with a forensic expert, interviewed people
around the area, spoke to the owner of the house, the civil surgeon,
fire brigade officials, and senior police officials, contradict the
tentative conclusions of the administration. According to them it was
not a fire accident, as it was made out to be, rather a possible explosive
accident. (The Hindu, Thursday, Feb 22, 2007)
Neighbours from the locality
where the explosion occured shared with the team some important information
pertaining to the incident. According to them there was a third person
present at the spot who also got injured in the explosion (who does
not find mention in the FIR) and a police officer who is part of the
investigation actually supervised seizing and spiriting away of critical
evidentiary material from the spot.
The fact finding team also
noted that Dhaneshwar Manikwar, one of the accused who later died in
the hospital presented two versions about the cause of the accident.
Initially he attributed the accident to the impact of a short circuit.
Twenty hours later, he is learnt to have told the police that the two
cousins had tried to set the godown on fire supposedly to claim insurance
monies from the company.
It also felt that the state
police, especially the Superintendent of Police and Inspector General
of Police appeared to be in 'undue haste to close all possibilities
of a possible liquid substance driven explosion, preferring to quote
oral findings of forensic experts from Aurangabad who are reported to
have told them that it was a petrol-ignited fire.'. And despite the
fact that the massive explosion had thrown the iron shutter of the godown
to a distace of 40 feet they insisted on calling it a petrol-ignited
The fact finding team inferred
that 'it was not a planned explosion but an impact explosion created
due to the handling of large stocks of explosive/flammable materials
stored here. This handling could have been for transportation to another
But one of the most shocking
observations which the team placed before the people is the 'nexus between
some police officials and the rightwing Hindu outfits'. For the investigating
team: "There is preliminary evidence to suggest some nexus between
some police officials and the outfits that are using Nanded and the
nearby belt to generate explosives and terror. Incidentally, Inspector
Ramesh Bhurewar of the Nanded Police Station who is at the forefront
of the present investigation was in charge of the investigation into
the Parbhani blasts in which one person died and 40 were injured when
similar low intensity explosives were placed in a mosque on April 25,
2003. He arrested no one during the long investigations. The FIR, shockingly,
was only registered after a legislator, Fauzia Khan (NCP), raised a
question in the State Assembly.
Thereafter the inspector had closed the file (16/2003 dated 21.11.2003).
He stated in his report that there were no accused in the matter. Following
the Nanded blasts of April 2006 and brain mapping tests that the police
conducted (see Annexures) dated 19.07.2006,the accused admitted to having
placed the bombs at Parbhani. The Nanded and state police are hence
guilty of underplaying crimes wherein members of the minority community
are the victims, causing a loss of face for the state police."(www.sabrang.com)
The fact finding team demanded
that central government should keep a close watch and monitor the increasing
low intensity terror generating activities being conducted by political
outfits that are misusing the Hindu religion. Independent investigations
under a team of officers known for their utter professionalism and neutrality
are a must, an impartial inquiry into the Nanded incidents, Malegaon,
and the Parbhani and Purna blasts needs to be instituted, which is open
to the public, to first and foremost investigate whether state intelligence
and police agencies are professional and neutral in investigating instances
of politically driven Hindu Right wing terrorism.
Nanded I followed by Nanded
II, the saga of 'terrorist acts' involving activists / sympathisers
of the Hindu extremist organisations does not end here.Post-independent
history is replete with examples showing their participation in aggravating
communal situation, targetting a particular community, aiding and abetting
'Aklera (Rajasthan): It couldn't
be less subtle. A bright saffron board welcomes you to the ''Ideal Hindu
Village'', Mishroli. Nestled in picturesque green surroundings, the
village has acquired this tag just this month. The past 10 days have
seen armed Bajrang Dal activists on the rampage, driving out about 25
Muslim families from their homes, ransacking their houses and setting
them on fire.'('Bajrang Dal activists made a village in Rajasthan Muslim
free'. The Indian Express, 29 September, 2003)
Amidst the ongoing controversy
over the UPA Government's first anniversary celebration, not many took
note of the Union Human Resources Development Ministry's significant
decision to stop grants to 'Ekal Vidyalayas' (one-teacher schools) run
by the so-called Friends of Tribal Society (FTS), in collaboration with
the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), in the tribal belts of the country.
The decision follows a study,
which revealed that the FTS which was provided assistance by the erstwhile
NDA Government since 1999-2000 under the "Innovative and Experimental
Education Component of the Education Guarantee Scheme and Alternative
& Innovative Education," was "misusing these funds and
using the grants for creating disharmony amongst religious groups and
creating a political cadre". (“Another Blow to V.H.P,”
by Mukundan C Menon, www.islaminterfaith.org)
It was only two years back
that a website belonging to Terrorism Research Centre (TRC www.terrorism.com),
a East Virginia based centre dealing with 'Terrorism and security related
studies' declared Rashtriya Swaymsevak Sangh (RSS) a 'terrorist organisation'
and lumped it together with a host of jihadi and secessionist outfits.The
said list of 'known terrorist groups in India' on the website bracketed
RSS alongwith other 'known names' in the field namely Al Badr, Al Mujaheedeen,
Lashkar-e-Toiba to the likes of ULFA to the Hizb ul Mujahedin.2 The
most baffling part of the whole episode as far as ordinary workers of
the Parivar was concerned was that TRC was closely connected to the
American government. The credibility of this centre vis-a-vis US government
can be gauged from the fact that many of its directors and researchers
have closely worked with US administration.
Coming close on the heels
of the visa denial episode wherein Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of
Gujarat was not allowed to travel to USA by the US government, this
much larger indictment of the very raison detre of the Parivar albeit
by an institute close to the powers that be did leave the Sangh bosses
seething with anger.It is worth noting in this connection that it took
more than eight months for the RSS to formally react to this assessment
of the TRC. Although the Times of India (TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ FRIDAY,
MAY 27, 2005 08:18:15 AM ] carried a report about the same in its print
as well as electronic edition, even a cursory glance at the website
of TRC communicated then that the name of the RSS was added to the list
way back in September 2004. Milli Gazette, a fortnightly published from
Delhi, had even reported about the same in its print edition in 16-30
Sept 2004 issue.
Of course without going into
the merits of the Terrorism Research Centre's nuanced observations vis-a-vis
the RSS which demands a more detailed treatment of the matter, it would
be good if we discern earlier records to see whether it is for the first
time that the hindutva brigade or any of its allied organisations or
their activities have earned opprobrium under the 'terrorist' category.
It was only two years back
that the US State department added internet sites of certain organisations
to the 'foreign terrorist organisations' list when "four Jewish
Web sites were deemed 'terrorist' (Jerry Seper, The Washington Times)".
Ofcourse the unusual alliance between radical Jewish groups with Hindutva
groups bringing together two extreme religious philosophies from different
parts of the world is premised on the fact that they share a distant
common enemy namely the Muslims. The report stated: Four Internet Web
sites operated by two extremist Jewish groups have been included by
the State Department on its list of "foreign terrorist organizations"
- the first time the list has been extended to include Internet sites.
The listing, which went unnoticed
when announced Oct. 3 in the department's annual redesignation of the
world's terrorist organizations, includes the four sites operated by
the Kach and its offshoot, the Kahane Chai, both of which have been
designated by the department as terrorist organizations.
Interestingly one of these,
i.e., www.kahane.org (http://www.rediffmail.com/cgi-bin/red.cgi?red
=www%2Ekahane%2Eorg) has had an important relationship with Hinduunity.org.(
which 'Promotes and Supports Ideals of Bajrang Dal : VHP youth with
Bharat) The Hinduunity.org site then still showed a prominent hyperlink
to the www.kahane.org site.Secular activists in the states had known
for long that, the website of Hinduunity.org was hosted by Kahane.org.
on a common server and bear the same IP address. The particulars were:devserver.gwsystems.co.il
(18.104.22.168) (Ref. Notice recently published in the Federal Register
(Federal Register: October 10, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 197) page: 58738-58739))
Four and half years back
secular activists in the USA had after a painstaking work brought out
a report 'Funding Hate' which had exposed the linkages between the funds
collected by IDRF (an umbrella organisation floated by Hindutva brigade)
which collected money in USA and the way the money thus collected goes
into sponsoring sectarian violence in India. A news item published in
'Financial Times, London had boldly stated 'Cut the flow of funds to
instigators of sectarian violence' (( INDIA'S HARD MEN, page 16, 24
Feb. 2003 (no author's name given)). It need be noted that it was not
alone in raising its voice against the modus operandi of the Hindutva
formations in Western countries which supposedly had been aiding and
abetting sectarian violence at home. The report unambiguously stated:
A year ago India was scarred by some of the worst sectarian violence
since partition, when up to 2000 Muslims were killed in pogroms in the
western state of Gujarat, ostensibly sparked by an arson attack by Muslims
on a train that killed 59 Hindu activists. Human rights organisations
in India, the U.S. and Europe implicated two organisations in the well-orchestrated
attacks, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP or World Hindu Council) and
its youth off shoot, the Bajrang Dal (devotees of the monkey-god Hanuman).
Now a Finanacial Times investigation
has established that these groups receive extensive funding from Indians
abroad, collected mainly as tax-free charity donations to front organisations
in the U.S. and U.K.. This fund-raising is increasingly coming under
scrutiny. So it should - as should the links between these groups and
India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Behind the VHP and Bajrang
Dal stands a quasi-paramilitary body, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
(RSS or Association of National Volunteers), which is the mother organisation
of the Hindu revivalist BJP. Described by Jawaharlal Nehru, India's
first Prime minister, as "an Indian version of fascism", the
RSS is at the centre of a protean network of front organizations. This
structure facilitates arm's-length money-raising. It also makes it easier
for the RSS to deny it is inciting agitation against Muslims and Christians.
Of course IDRF (India Development
and Relief Fund), the US based charity organisation also presented a
report in defence of itself against charges made in a report published
last year that it was closely affiliated to the RSS and raised funds
for sectarian causes in India. (Not funding hate, says IDRF, Hindu June
15, 2003) but that did not carry much ice and it was largely ignored
in the media.
“...The Chief Minister
said that the proof he has, is the candid admission by the RSS workers
who had been arrested earlier. Singh was speaking to mediapersons here
at the airport. He said that the arrested RSS workers in their statement
had said that they had planted bombs at a programme in Bhopal. He revealed
that in 1993 when the bomb was being made in Seva Bharti office in Neemuch,
it exploded...” (“CM ready to provide proof of Bomb making
by RSS,” Central Chronicle, 11 Sept 2003).
Can it be said that the involvement
of RSS and its affiliated organisations in acts which could be construed
as terrorist in nature is a recent phenomenon or it has a long history
behind it. Close watchers of the organisation since its inception have
always watched with sceptisism many of its activities which in today's
understanding of things could be construed as 'terrorist acts'. e.g.
making communally sensitive speeches which culminate in riotlike situation
or taking out a religious procession from an area which is inhabited
mainly by 'others' and provoke people to engage in violence. The manner
in which its founding leaders supported 'ethnic cleansing' of Jews by
Hitler and also proposed application of similar steps here could also
be interpreted as supporting 'terrorism'.
Coming to concrete 'terrorist
acts' a notable example of involvement of RSS on the eve of partition
itself pertains to the infamous 'Shikarpur bomb blasts' which saw deaths
of two RSS activists.3
An article on 'RSS in Sindh
: 1942-48' (Rita Kothari, July 8-15, 2006, Economic and Political Weekly)
gives details of this bomb blast in the Shikarpur Colony of Karachi
which witnessed deaths of two RSS activists Prabhu Badlani and Vasudev.
According to her
....[I]n the Shikarpur colony of Karachi, the house of one Raibahadur
Tolaram became the hideout for this cadre. The house was ostensibly
taken over for tutoring students, and this turned out to be perfect
camouflage for making bombs. The secret operation was going smoothly
until on August 14, when a powerful bomb accidentally exploded. It blew
two swayamsewaks and the house to pieces. The two young men who died
were Prabhu Badlani and Vasudev. The local police swooped down on the
premises. All but one escaped. He was imprisoned and tortured for several
months, until he was exchanged for another prisoner of war in 1949.
There are contradictory opinions about the precise identity of this
prisoner and his connections with the RSS.
As she tells us the aim of
the whole operation which involved manufacturing of bombs with 'intense
preparations on part of 21 young men' was 'to blow up a few government
structures before leaving'.
The memoirs of Rajeshwar
Dayal, who happened to be Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh at the time
of partition provides shocking details of another kind. It gives damning
evidence of RSS chief Golwalkar's plans to stage a pogrom of Muslims.
It is a different matter that despite a clearcut case against Golwalkar,
the then Chief Minister of UP Gobind Ballabh Pant refused to order his
arrest. Taking advantage of this wavering on part of the government
Golwalkar promptly absconded and could be arrested only after Gandhi's
According to him: 'When communal
tension was still at fever pitch, the DIG of Police of the Western Range,
B.L. Jaitely, arrived at my house in great secrecy. He was accompanied
by two of his officers who brought with them two large steel trunks
securely locked. When the trunks were opened, they revealed the introvertible
evidence of a dastardly conspiracy to create a communal holocaust throughout
the western districts of the province. The trunks were crammed with
blueprints of great accuracy and professionalism of every town and village
in that vast area, prominently marking out the Muslim localities and
Timely raids conducted on
the premises of the RSS had brought the conspiracy to light. The whole
plot had been concerted under the direction and supervision of the Supremo
of the organisation. Both Jaitley and I pressed for the immediate arrest
of the prime accused, Shri Golwalkar, who was still in the area.' (Rajeswhwar
Dayal, A Life of Our Times (Delhi : Orient Longmans, 1999 pp. 93-94)
Timely raids conducted on
the premises of the RSS had brought the conspiracy to light. The whole
plot had been concerted under the direction and supervision of the Supremo
of the organisation. Both Jaitley and I pressed for the immediate arrest
of the prime accused, Shri Golwalkar, who was still in the area.' (Rajeswhwar
Dayal, A Life of Our Times (Delhi: Orient Longmans, 1999 pp. 93-94)
Pyarelal, Secretary of Mahatma
Gandhi during those tumultous times tells us, 'It was common knowledge
that the RSS ...had been behind the bulk of the killings in the city
(Delhi) as also in various other parts of India.' (Mahatma Gandhi: The
Last Phase, Navajivan Publishing House, Vol II, p.439)
Different commissions of enquiry which looked into communal riots in
post-independent India throw enough light on the role of RSS and other
affiliated organisations in the trouble. May it be the Justic P. Jagmohan
Reddy Commission of Enquiry which looked into riots in Ahmedabad and
other places of Gujarat (1969) or Justic Madon Commission which analysed
the riots in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra in early seventies or the Justice
Vidhayathil Commission which probed the Tellichery riots ( 1971) etc.,
most of these commissions of enquiry have provided details of the involvement
of RSS or (its mass political platform) Bharatiya Jana Sangh or other
affiliated organisations in fomenting trouble. Justice Venugopal's report
on the Kanyakumari riots of 1982 severly indict the RSS for its role
in fomenting riots against the Christians. A joint report by Justice
Sinha and Shamsul Hasan on the Bhagalpur riots also censure the RSS.
To illustrate how the RSS
has received severe indictment at the hands of judges who looked into
disturbances, we could refer to Justice Venugopal as an example who
sat on the commission which inquired into the communal flare up in Kanyakumari
district in March 1982. According to Justice Venugopal, " The RSS
adopts a militant and aggressive attitude and sets itself as the champion
of what it considers to be the rigths of Hindus against minorities.
It has taken upon itself the task to teach the minority their place
and if they are not willing to learn their place, teach them a lesson.
The RSS has given respectability to communalism and communal riots and
According to Justic Venugopal,
the RSS methodology for provoking communal violence is: rousing communal
feelings in the majority community, deepening fear in the majority community,
infiltrating into the administration, training young people of the majority
community in the use of weapons, spreading rumours to widen communal
cleavage. Commenting on the shakhas which are organised under the name
of physical training, it tells us " The aim behind these activities
appear to be to inculcate an attitude of militancy and training for
any kind of civil strife'" (Quoted in The RSS and The BJP - A.G.
Noorani, Leftword, 2000, Delhi, p. 9).
It is a sad commentary on
our times that despite a 'secular coalition' holding reins of power
at the centre and in many states one does not see any sincere attempt
to move beyond post 9/11 mythology vis-a-vis terrorism which stigmatises
and demonises Islam and Muslims.
One finds oneself in a peculiar
situation where it is difficult to decipher any qualitative difference
between the 'secular' Congress and the 'communal' BJP over their response
to any terrorist act. We have been witness to the dilly-dallying adopted
by the Congress after the Nanded blasts or Malegaon bomb blast, but
the same Congress led government had no qualms in targetting Muslims
as a community after the July 2006 bomb blasts in Bombay.5
A logical fallout of this situation has been the failure to address
terrorism unleashed by Hindutva activists/formations. Malegaon bomb
blast (8th September 2006) was one of those rare occasions when even
Prime Minister acknowledged the possibility that the Sangh Parivar organizations
could have a role in the blast.Emphasising the need to investigate the
functioning of the Hindu Rightwing formations he clearly stated that
he could not confirm or rule out the possibility of the involvement
of Bajrang Dal in the bloody act at Malegaon. He made this calibrated
statement en route to Havana, while going for the NAM summit.4
Post Malegaon bomb blast
investigation underlined the gravity of the situation further. The police
recovered bomb shells and 195 kgm. RDX from some Shankar Shelke's shop
on 16 th September. This man whose godown had stocked this was found
dead the next day and an employee of his was absconding. Similarly the
recovery of more than 300 Kgms of ammonium nitrate, timers and fusers
from the house of a Sarpanch of a village few kms from Aurangabad also
Interestingly the nation
could never know all these details pertaining to the extremist Hindutva
One possible reason behind
the ostrich like position vis-a-vis Hindutva terrorism could be that
in this era of electoral democracy nobody wants to displease the broad
masses of Hindu people whom these activists/formations claim to represent.
With a rightward shift in the polity where one witnesses a new common
sense about Hindutva getting wider legitimacy, one hardly notices any
questioning over the deliberate cover up of Hindutva terrorism.
It is high time that more
and more people get to know about these criminal/anti-human actions
of the Hindutva terrorists. The mischievous and highly motivated understanding
that a particular community, region or religious ideology is more prone
or more susceptible towards what is known in popular parlance as 'terrorism'
or 'terrorist activities' should be refuted at all costs. People need
to be convinced there is no qualitative difference between terrorist
acts committed by suicide bombers of LTTE or the jihadists of Al Qaeda
or Khalistani terrorists, or adopted by followers of Hindutva formations.
It would be the first step in their ultimate dissolution.
Details of Recent blasts
in Maharashtra which were allegedly executed by Hindutva terrorists:
- Parbhani blast at Mohammadiya Masjid, Rehmat Nagar, on Friday, November
21, 2003 , main accused Sanjay, Panse, Wagh or Widulkar
- Purna (district Parbhani)
blast at Meraj-ul-Uloom Madarsa and Masjid, Siddharth Nagar on Friday,
August 2004, main accused are Sanjay and Tuptewar.
- Jalna blast at Quadriya
Masjid, Sadar Bazar, August 27, 2004, Wagh is the only accused
- Nanded blast - the bomb that exploded in Nanded on 6 th April 2006
was supposed to explode at Aurangabad mosque on Friday, April 7, all
the above accused were involved in planning that blast.
- Malegaon blasts also
occured on Shab-e-barat, a prominent day for Muslims on Friday, September
A point worth noting
is that all these blasts in central Maharashtra (including the ones
in Malegaon on September 8) occurred between 1.45pm and 2.00pm at the
most prominent mosque in these towns, just after the Friday prayers,
when attendance is maximum.
(Source: The Tehelka, “Nanded Blast: The Hindu Hand”)
Notes and references
1. From 1969 till today-RAW's
current staff strength is about 10,000-it has avoided recruiting any
Muslim officer. Neither has the National Technical Research Organisation
(NTRO), a crucial arm of external intelligence. The Intelligence Bureau
(IB) with 12,000 personnel has been a little more open. It has a handful
of Muslim officers, the senior-most is a joint director.'
2 New Delhi: The Rashtriya
Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is furious with an American think-tank for declaring
it a terrorist organisation and lumping it with a host of jihadi organisations
and secessionist outfits.
The Sangh leadership has
written to the Terrorism Research Centre, protesting against the "terrorist"
tag, but is yet to get a response.....
The 38 shortlisted to give the Sangh company include jihadi biggies
like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen which have been declared
Foreign Terrorist Organisations by the US.The RSS's hardcore ideological
foe, the Jamaat-e-Islami, too has found a place. (“US think-tank
calls RSS terrorist, Sangh fumes,” Mohua Chatterjee, Times News
Network, Friday, May 27, 2005 08:18:15 AM)
3. Anderson and Damle (The
Brotherhood In Saffron, Vistaar Publication, New Delhi, 1987 ) mention
'manufacturing of bombs' at Shikarpur. The incident also finds mention
in a biography' of ex Home minister and deputy PM L K Advani, former
president of the BJP and former deputy prime minister, by Atmaram Kulkarni
( The Advent of Advani, Aditya Prakashan, Bombay, 1995). A Sindhi writer
from Gujarat Jayant Relwani refers to it in an article on the predominance
of the RSS in Sindh (Shamne Sindhu Neer (River Indus in My Dreams),
Laxmi Pustak Bhandar, Ahmedabad.1996: 89-90
4. "Bajrang Dal continues
to be under the scanner. "There is no reason to rule them out.
We still haven't found anything to prove that Bajrang Dal is not involved,"
a senior officer said. The Hindu fringe group is under investigation
in Malegaon because of the role of its activists in various bomb blasts.
" (“PM doesn't rule out Bajrang role,” Josy Joseph,
DNA India, September 13, 2006 00:50 IST)
5. The state administration
also did not fail to show its anti-Muslim bias even in times of tragedy.
While shedding crocodile tears over their plight, it saw to it that
victims in Malegaon blast, majority of whom were Muslims, receive less
compensation (1/5 th) as compared to victims of Mumbai blast, majority
of whom were Hindus. (Iqbal A. Ansari, The Milli Gazette online, 14th
Source: The Milli Gazette, 16-31 October 2007, pp.8-9,11
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