Homeland Security

Crass politicization of terrorism in India
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 01 Aug , 2015

Lt Col Srikant Purohit

Ever since India began to be subjected to unremitting terrorism from Pakistan, mostly in direct collusion with the authorities in that country, there have been unmistakable signs on part of certain vested interests in India to hang on to some straw of ‘Hindu’ or ‘saffron terror’. The jihadi terror emanating from Pakistan, disconcerted these political vested interests not for reasons for the security concerns of the people and the country as such, but vote bank considerations. They nurtured the outrageous notion that the externally orchestrated ‘jihadi terror’ was polarizing the country on communal lines, which could severely impact on their brand of ‘secular politics’. Therefore, they embarked on a programme to ‘balance terror’ even if it meant fabricating a phenomenon called ‘Hindu Terror’.

It is purely imaginary, just like as it was in the immediate aftermath of partition in Pakistan. It may be instructive to know that the Cabinet Secretary of Pakistan, Mohd Ali, when asked by a top Indian bureaucrat, BK Nehru, regarding the persistent use of abusive language against India and Hindus by the Pakistani newspaper Dawn (Muslim League’s mouthpiece), replied that though he knew that it was wrong, but such fabrications about an enemy was necessary for building Pakistan. When Nehru retorted by asking what would happen if India was also to conjure up the bogey of “Hinduism in danger”, Ali quickly announced that Hinduism was incapable of fanaticism.

Lies and untruths have limited lives, and so is the case with so-called ‘Hindu terror’. It is now nearly four years and no charge-sheet has been furnished in respect of any accused.

The arrest of Lt Col Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya, Aseemanand elicited much joy and satisfaction amongst a section of the polity, professional activists and many in the media. These activists and media houses can easily be identified. In the wake of the blasts in Delhi in October 2005, a TV journalist from a leading English channel came to my residence to record my views and assessment of the incident. At the end, he kept insisting that I comment in a specified manner about ‘Hindu terrorism’. At that time the term ‘Hindu terrorism’ or ‘saffron terrorism’ was not even conceived by the vested interests. One English daily has been on an overdrive at the behest of the ruling dispensation in fabricating Hindu terror and running it on the front-page. Discerning readers are horrified at the blatant contradictions and falsification of facts in its reporting on two consecutive dates.

Lies and untruths have limited lives, and so is the case with so-called ‘Hindu terror’. It is now nearly four years and no charge-sheet has been furnished in respect of any accused. It is not possible to do so because the contradictions are too stark to be reconciled even by the best of script writers in the government and NIA. It should also be taken into consideration that there are at least three set of theories and two confessional statements with regard to the Samjhauta blasts. Moreover, some of the motivated leaks from the CBI cannot become the basis for reaching any conclusion because the credibility of the investigative agency is nil in the public opinion.

Questions are also being raised as to how the Indian Army handed over Col Purohit to the civil authorities even without carrying out a comprehensive enquiry especially in light of the fact that the Officer was from the Military Intelligence, wherein the charter of duties, in keeping with the imperatives of the job, is nebulous. This was unprecedented. There are insinuations that a former Army Chief for post-retirement sinecures parted with this Officer with alacrity, to be humiliated and treated like a criminal. This Officer someday is bound to emerge unblemished from the web of conspiracy plotted for political reasons.

In case of Pakistan, it is to bleed India to disintegration and death. The Maoist terror is to expand its writ and finally overthrow the government in Delhi. Terrorism in Kashmir has the objective of secession from India. What is the objective of ‘Hindu terror’ or ‘Saffron terror’?

Notwithstanding that the NIA is nascent organization, it has rather been quick in imbibing the same professional culture as the CBI. Failing to reconcile the contradictions in its script of the involvement of Hindu terrorists like Col Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya etc. in the backdrop of the fact that the Maharastra ATS had claimed to have authentically nailed and arrested the perpetrators, the main mastermind being one Abrar Ahmed. The NIA has therefore come-up with a bizarre rather ridiculous theory.

The Indian Express, dated July 23, 2012 in report “ATS told Malegon ‘Suspect’ to take names, offered property” states: “The NIA, which is re-investigating the 2006 Malegaon blasts, has found that one of the initial ‘suspects’, Abrar Ahmed, was ‘lured’ by the Maharastra ATS with the offer of ‘immovable property in his name anywhere in India other than Jammu & Kashmir’ to take names in the case. The Anti-Terrorism Squad had charge sheeted nine Muslims for the blasts at two mosques… The NIA has conveyed to the union home ministry that the alleged call intercepted between Ahmed and ‘suspect’ Zahid Abdul Majid, also arrested by the ATS, was also made at the behest of the police.”

It is apparent that how abysmal the NIA reckons the intelligence and wisdom of the Indians. If terrorists could be made to implicate themselves on promises of “immovable property” there would have been no need for interrogation and investigation. Why Col Purohit or Sadhvi Pragya cannot be lured by the same promises? Is it the case that the NIA is right and the Maharastra ATS is wrong? If that be so, what is the credibility of investigations by the various ATS in different states?

The ploy to create the saffron equivalent of Osama-bin-Laden or Hafid Sayeed was too clear for most discerning Indians. Various opinion polls on different websites on this issue bear testimony. Curiously, the first revelation about involvement of ‘Hindu groups’ in Malegaon blasts (Malegaon-2) was in end 2008, i.e. just before the Lok Sabha elections in 2009. The latest revelations about involvement of the same groups in Malegaon blasts of 2006 (Malegaon-1) and Samjhauta Express come at a time when the government is beset with damning accusations and is politically most vulnerable. Both occasions have one common feature — inspired and flip-flops leaks to the media on a daily basis. The latest campaign has been engendered by the fact that despite the best efforts by the spin doctors in the government, the fabricated phenomenon of ‘Hindu terror’ is falling apart due to its own contradictions. There are desperate attempts, therefore, to manage the political fallout of these contradictions in view of the general elections which can take place at anytime.

How is it that it is the same people, who are supporting the Maoists and Kashmiri separatists, are speaking so vociferously about the phenomenon of ‘Hindu terrorism’ or ‘saffron terrorism’.?

The reputation of CBI is known, but attempts to influence the newly created NIA, if any, is worrisome.

The export of terrorism to India has grown vicious by the day especially after December 2000. Since then India’s financial centre, i.e. Mumbai, has been targeted about dozen times and India’s capital Delhi, at least half-a-dozen times. India’s science & technology capital, Bengaluru, was also attacked. Revered religious centers, i.e. Varanasi, Ahmedabad, Ayodhya, Mecca Masjid (Hyderebad) and Ajmer Sharif, have been targeted. Passengers traveling on trains and buses also bore the brunt. It is a well-known fact that terrorism sponsored by Pakistan cannot be successful without some degree of local facilitation by misguided and subverted elements.

Objective of Terror

The desperation to equate Pakistan-sponsored terror with so-called ‘Hindu terror’ or ‘saffron terror’ is largely motivated by dubious considerations of very few at the cost of the nation. There can be nothing more misleading than the oft-repeated refrain of some politicians, professional activists and some media persons that all kinds of terror are same. The truth is that the objective of each type of terror is different.

In case of Pakistan, it is to bleed India to disintegration and death. The Maoist terror is to expand its writ and finally overthrow the government in Delhi. Terrorism in Kashmir has the objective of secession from India.

Was the balancing of ‘Islamic terror’ and ‘Hindu terror’ part of some larger game plan? Was it to create a ‘balance of terror’ to prevent India from taking punitive action against Pakistan?

What is the objective of ‘Hindu terror’ or ‘Saffron terror’?

Political Machination 

Any attempt to draw parallels between terrorism of all kinds, though politically beneficial, can be counter-productive rather provocative.

Arguably, a prime minister aspirant, as per WikiLeaks conveyed to the US Ambassador: “Although there was some evidence of some support for LeT amongst certain elements in India’s Muslim community, the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalized Hindu groups… .” The statement is based on crass political expediency.

Another very senior politician of the ruling party and two-term chief minister of Madhya Pradesh is on record to say that he was in touch with the Maharashtra ATS chief on regular basis before the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai. He maintains that the ATS chief had expressed his apprehension about being targeted by radical Hindu groups. If it is true, then the question arises as to why a former chief minister of another state, presently in no official capacity was having regular discussions on terrorist threat perceptions with a relatively junior officer in Maharashtra. Such threat perceptions are of secret nature and no police officer is entitled to divulge or discuss these with an unauthorised person. It amounts to breach of official trust and propriety.

Was there an attempt to influence the ATS in Maharashtra? Are there political machinations to influence intelligence and investigative agencies? The reputation of CBI is known, but attempts to influence the newly created NIA, if any, is worrisome. How is it that only those ATS, ruled by the same political party, are active in unearthing the phenomenon of so-called ‘Hindu terrorism’ or ‘saffron terrorism’?

Had this kind of input supposedly attributable the late Mr Karkare come from the Union Home Minister of India, or the Home Minister of Maharashtra, it would have been legitimate and understandable. Is terrorism being used as a political tool in India?

This whole business of ‘saffron terror’ is intriguing. All the Pakistani perpetrators of the 26/11 attack were wearing sacred threads on their wrist generally worn by Hindus. The fact that Karkare was specifically targeted adds to the mystery. Had Ajmal Kasab not developed cold feet, in hindsight it appears certain that the 26/11 attack would have been labelled as an act of ‘Hindu terror’ or ‘saffron terror’. Was the balancing of ‘Islamic terror’ and ‘Hindu terror’ part of some larger game plan? Was it to create a ‘balance of terror’ to prevent India from taking punitive action against Pakistan? Was it a political ploy to prevent the perceived polarisation of Indian society in keeping with the imperatives of vote-bank politics?

This is crass politicization of terrorism in India. It cannot get worse than this.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

RSN Singh

is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research and Analysis Wing, or R&AW and author of books Asian Strategic and Military Perspective, The Military Factor in Pakistan and The Unmaking of Nepal. His latest books are Know the Anti-Nationals (English) and Know the एंटी-नेशनल्स (Hindi).

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12 thoughts on “Crass politicization of terrorism in India

  1. The game plan has been sinister since 1947. Congress adopted the Communist programs of strangulated economy in the name of socialism to kill enterprise and initiatives, and created perpetual scarcities, so as to render them destitute and slaves to beg before the government for daily food. Congress adopted Muslim League manifesto of continuing Shariat Act, even after conceding Pakistan, and refused to amalgamate minorities into the mainstream. Hindus were compelled to give up religious scriptures, by the Parliament overriding religious beliefs. The joint families were destroyed by equating individual as well as HUF with same income tax exemption limits. Families were destroyed by encouraging false complaints in the name of dowry harassment. Thereby the nation’s identity was erased. Shankaracharya of Kanchi was arrested on Deepavali 2004 to assert supremacy of secularism, but other venomous elements are never dared to be taken into custody in spite of court orders.

  2. This sordid saga will go the way of the infamous “Samba Spy Case”- ordinary people fall victim to the mechanisations of self serving, biased and pseudo sickularist groups with political motives with scant regard to the trauma the victims & their families undergo as a result. When it comes to Pakistan , we are world beaters in shooting ourselves in the foot.

  3. Our leaders never mandated us to fight communalism, they were only encashing fears of minorities on backleash, resulting in putting blocks in diologues that could have developed between two communities and would have forced the rulers to focus on economic development and governance – the tougher agenda. Our leader have been only playing to galleries and not addressing issues of education, employment and health. As and when people come on the street deciding the issue between themselves, result will be unimaginable. see what is happeining in pakistan where people have been abandoned by rulers.

  4. I remember President Obama making a statement when he visited India in 2010: “India is not an emerging world power; you are already a world power.” India, however, is supremely lacking in self-esteem. It doesn’t help that we have a notably retarded media and a sensationalist cadre of fake civil society activists. They MANUFACTURE news. And are sick of self loathing. I have always held that armchair activists and jibber jabber mediafolk need to be sent to Siachen with no return options for two weeks. Then they’ll know.

  5. India Is facing a multi dimensional threat-Externally from China & Pakistan,Internally from Maoists,Naxalites,Infiltrators etc. But there seems to be no Clear headed thinking by the Indian Security Establishment on how to tackle any of these threats.We urgently need the following steps 1) Create a post of the CDS as the final Mily.Adviser to the Cabinet 2) Integrate the Armed Forces in the Min. of Defence & involve the Armed Forces in all Defence & Security matters 3) A 3 Star General needs to be inducted to the PMO to give professional inputs to the PM, 4) A rapid expansion,modernisation,& restructuring of our Intelligence organisations needs to be done 5) A min. of Counter Insurgency needs to be set up 6 ) The Induction of the Indian army needs to be started on a full scale in Maoist areas 7 ) All political Parties linked to Terrorist organisations to be banned. ultimately, it is the Armed Forces Personnel who are security conscious & understand Security better than Civilians, that must take over National security matters.

  6. RSN is right. Some politicians have made a political industry of terrorism. It is evident from a statement by Salman Kurshid that Sonia cried for terrorists after Batla House encounter.

  7. Its shameful the way the state and the defence is treating its dedicated officers. It will be naive to think that intelligence officers operate on written orders only. In the line of duty , all intelligence operatives need to take a lead on personal initiative. To put such officers in the dock will be miscarriage of justice.

  8. It was General Deepak Kapoor who sacrificed Col Purohit to ingratiate himself to this anti-national govt in the hope that he too would be rewarded with governorship like JJ Singh. Adarsh Scam killed his ambitions. The Army must immediately restore the honour of Col Purohit. All the officers who allowed it to happen must be sacked.

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