Monday, November 03, 2008

Indian Muslims and ‘terrorism’

Some searching questions

Kashmir Watch, Oct 21, 2008

By Yoginder Sikand, TwoCircles.net,

Although the so-called mainstream Indian media carefully ignores this, enough evidence exists to suggest that at least some of the killer bomb blasts that have rocked various parts of India in recent years might not at all have been the handiwork of Islamist outfits or of Muslims seeking revenge for anti-Muslim violence, although they are inevitably blamed by intelligence agencies and the media for all such attacks. Because, despite their secular pretensions, influential sections of India’s Hindu-owned, so-called mainstream media are deeply anti-Muslim, they maintain a stony silence on the possibility of Hindutva terrorist outfits being behind several such blasts, as has been alleged by many Muslim as well as secular human rights’ organisations.

This is not to say that I do not agree that some fringe Muslim groups might be involved in some of these blasts. This might well be the case. In addition, the possibility of some hapless Muslim victims of Hindu terrorism, as in Gujarat, or of state terrorism taking to violence in revenge cannot be discounted. My point, however, is that at least some of this violence does not at all appear like the handiwork of Muslims to me, contrary to what the so-called mainstream Indian media would like us to believe.

The Hindu Right has, ever since its inception, consistently used terror as its major weapon for stirring up Hindu passions so as to cultivate a Hindu vote-bank. This has been particularly the case on the eve of major elections, as is the case today. Because the economic and political agenda of the Hindu Right is clearly antithetical to the interests of the vast majority of Indians, particularly the Dalits, Adivasis and Backward Castes, it has no other means of wooing these sections of society than by stoking anti-Muslim hatred. It would not be an exaggeration to say that anti-Muslim (and now, increasingly, anti-Christian) hatred is the major political plank of the Hindu Right. This has been the case from the very onset of the Hindutva political project. Thus, immediately after 1947, the Jan Sangh, the progenitor of the present-day BJP, took up with fiery passion such causes as Cow Protection and the abolition of the semi-autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir in order to stir Hindu passions against Muslims and garner Hindu votes. The BJP followed in the same path, with its agitation against the Shah Bano judgment and its bloody campaign for the destruction of the Babri Masjid. Today, the issue of ‘Muslim terrorism’ is being deployed as the latest weapon in the Hindu Right’s armoury to fan anti-Muslim hatred and consolidate its Hindu vote bank. Several cases of Hindutva activists being engaged in manufacturing bombs have come to light, and these might just be the tip of the iceberg.

It is thus quite possible that some Hindu extremist outfits might well be behind at least some of the blasts that India has witnessed in recent years, seeking, with the willing compliance of intelligence agencies and influential sections of the media, to portray these as the handiwork of ‘radical Islamists’. After all, this entirely fits in with the agenda of the Hindu Right, for it provides it further ammunition in its anti-Muslim tirade. Following these blasts, anti-Muslim sentiments, even suspicion and hatred, have mounted, and this suits the Hindutva brigade admirably. The fact that such bomb blasts inevitably hurt Muslims by further intensifying anti-Muslim hatred might suggest that several of these blasts might not be the handiwork of Muslims after all, contrary to what the intelligence agencies and the media tell us. This suspicion is further reinforced by credible reports of numerous fake encounters, involving the intelligence agencies, the police and the supine and increasingly anti-Muslim media, in which perfectly innocent Muslim youths are picked up, branded as deadly ‘terrorists’ and incarcerated for years or even shot dead in cold blood.

Continued . . .

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