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What If That Local Support…

By M Shamsur Rabb Khan

24 February, 2009

Imagine the double speak and divisive politics of an 81-year old L K Advani busy in constant vitriolic attack on the government. Some weeks ago, he attacked the government as well as the Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) for allegedly torturing Hindu terror accused sadhvi Pragya Singh and Co. Srikant Purohit, while his colleague Ravi Shankar Prasad, who had vehemently opposed any probe into Batla House encounter, asked for a CBI inquiry into the ATS’s role in Malegaon investigation. L K Advani and Narendra Modi went on to excoriate Hemant Karkare of being a 'desh drohi' (traitor), while the Shiv Sena not only offered legal aid to those accused of the Malegaon terrorist attack, but also went on to write in Saamna thus: “On such officers we spit, we spit”. It is to be noted that the BJP had asked for the resignation of Jamia Millia University Vice Chancellor, Mushirul Hasan over his statement of providing help to those arrested as terror accused.

Now again, Advani demands a probe into the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks to find out whether there was, apart from the terrorists from Pakistan, “local support” to the whole conspiracy. Castigating the Mumbai Police for its “shameful act” of rejecting any local hand, Advani’s mordant stand that the Mumbai attack has not been thoroughly investigated evinced his true character. While demanding an impartial probe into 26/11 Advani argued that such an attack cannot be planned without local help. Advani echoed in Parliament what Narendra Modi had said at the BJP National Executive Council meeting in Nagpur a few days ago. In fact, Advani’s callous demand has added fuel to fire that Modi had lit up by kicking up a controversy in the manner in which Mumbai carnage is being probed, saying the attack was not possible without local assistance.

Till date, while the official stance of India is that the 26/11 was planned on Pakistani soil by Pakistani citizens to which the Pakistani Government has agreed to an extent. Let us set a aside what the UPA government says. Forget about the UPA leaders accusing Modi for his recent utterances. But focus on what Advani, as against his earlier demand for ouster of Karkare and emotional outbursts at the alleged treatment of sadhvi in police custody, asks and why. Why did Advani and his coleagues opposed any probe in Batla House encounter while supported Malegaon accused? The reason is all too clear. Since for the first time the Hindus were named as terror suspects, Advani was all fury. So were the other Sangh leaders, as the Hindu votes seem splilling over to the Congress because the BJP’s stand on terrorism was badly exposed. His latest demand is a sequel to his earlier double standard on terrorism whereby only Muslims must be the culprits.

If Advani, along with Modi, is so adamant in expediting a probe into the local support angle to 26/11, they must have some vital information from any reliable sources. And those sources must have, to a great extent, point to the involvement of local support that must be Muslims, else Advani and Modi would not have publicly demanded such an ask. Basing the demand on this calculation on the eve of general elections, Advani has directed his attention on divisive politics via signaling out Indian Muslims as the local support since the BJP, like on earlier occasions, needs a whipping boy just for two reasons: first, to garner Hindu votes; second, to attacks UPA government for shielding Muslims for minority votes.

If Advani is so genuinely concerned about an impartial probe into the Mumbai carnage, will he ask for an inquiry into as to how two terrorists manageed to kill six police personnel, including Karkare, Salaskar and Kamte who were armed with AK-47s, all encounter specialists, when one terrorist was later captured and the other killed by policemen armed only with two rifles and lathis? Will Advani ask for an inquiry into a report published in the Daily News & Analysis, Mumbai on 28 November that states: “Anand Raorane, a resident of a building opposite Nariman House, heard sounds of celebration from the terrorists there when the news of Karkare getting killed was flashed on TV?”

Will Advani appeal for a probe into the report quoting a resident of Nariman House and a local shopkeeper who said that before the attack, the terrorists had purchased 100 kg of meat and enough liquor to feed an army of people for twenty days? Will Advani ask for a fair investigation into a report in the Mid-Day and the whiteness’s account in Cama hospital, who said the terrorists were speaking fluent Marathi, as reported in the Maharashtra Times and Navakaal on 28 December 2008)? Will he ask for a probe into the account of one police officer who encountered the gunmen as they entered the Nariman House told the Guardian the attackers were "white"? Perhaps Advani is not interested in asking for a probe into all these angles except local support since that fits his divisive agenda.

Even though Advani is only interested in probing local support, he needs to stick to his stand. What if this calculation of Advani ends in utter failure? Suppose, for a while, the UPA Government goes for probing local support (the Mumbai police must have been doing it), and comes out with a finding that some Hindus were also among the local support, will Advani believe this version? Or will he and his colleagues, like on earlier occasions, start blaming everyone – the UPA Government, the Mumbai Police and the ATS for wrong and politically motivated investigation?

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