(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
July 08, 2012
Zero Tolerance towards Terrorism of all Hues
ACCORDING to media reports, the investigations into terrorist attacks by rightwing Hindutva group, Abhinav Bharat, are getting curiousor and curiousor. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has sought the custody of a former suspended military intelligence officer, Lt. Col. Shrikant Purohit, a key accused in the September 2008 Malegaon bomb blasts. Purohit has, however, challenged the NIA’s right to seek his custody. This case is currently being heard in the Supreme Court.
Purohit’s challenge comes on the basis of a claim that he had infiltrated the rightwing extremist group allegedly involved in bombing mosques in Muslim-dominated areas as a part of his official duties. During an army court of inquiry into his conduct, Purohit claimed to have submitted a secret report hinting at the involvement of the extremists in the Malegaon case. However, according to media reports, the home ministry has contradicted this claim by stating that: “By the time Purohit generated the report on October 15, 2008, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) knew about Sadhvi Pragya’s alleged involvement. Pragya was called for questioning in Surat by ATS on October 9. All this is a matter of record.”
Media reports also indicate that the investigators suspect that this report by Purohit after the Malegaon blasts naming Sadhvi Pragya and others – which is being cited in his defence that he kept his seniors in the loop – was a ploy to cover his tracks as he feared being linked to the blasts after the Maharashtra ATS identified Pragya as a suspect.
The army’s inquiry did not go into the terror charges against Purohit or his conspiracy to carry out the Malegaon blasts. Media reports a senior army officer as saying: “The terms of reference of inquiry are very clear. The army’s mandate was to find out if he flouted service rules. Several such instances were found.”
The army inquiry and the NIA investigations into the Malegaon blasts are two different things. Media reports quoting army sources say that Purohit was never authorised to infiltrate the rightwing group, Abhinav Bharat. His association with the group is, in fact, a breach of service rules. Therefore, the army’s findings on the suspended officer would not impact the terror charges that the NIA is investigating.
As the matter is now before the Supreme Court, it would be decided upon in accordance with the law of the land. However, it is necessary to re-emphasise that India must display zero tolerance to all forms and expressions of terrorism. Further, all perpetrators of terrorist attacks must be brought to book and punished.
However, there is a larger issue of concern for the health of our country. The net of terror spread by the Hindutva terrorist groups continue to widen posing a very serious threat to the unity and integrity of the secular-democratic modern India.
The current investigations are the consequence of the announcement made by the union home minister, in July 2010, to the parliament that the NIA will probe the terrorist attacks on the Samjhauta Express and examine the entire conspiracy behind the attack, including the links of the accused in terrorist attacks at Malegaon (September 8, 2006), Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad (May 18, 2007) and at the Dargah in Ajmer (October 11, 2007). 68 people were killed when bombs exploded in two coaches of Delhi-Lahore Samjhauta Express around mid-night of February 18, 2007.
Even prior to the revelations of such investigations, the CPI(M) had been drawing the attention of the central government to various reports linking some RSS affiliates with incidents of bomb blasts across the country. As early as in 2008, at a meeting of the National Integration Council on October 13, the CPI(M) in its submission stated: “Police investigations in the past few years have noted the involvement of Bajrang Dal or other RSS organisations in various bomb blasts across the country – in 2003, in Parbani, Jalna and Jalgaon districts of Maharashtra; in 2005, in Mau district of Uttar Pradesh; in 2006, in Nanded; in January 2008, at the RSS office in Tenkasi, Tirunelveli; in August 2008, in Kanpur etc etc.”
The history of the RSS and its methodology of functioning belies all efforts in its defence by generating theories of a differentiation between the `core’ and the `fringe’ like it did in the case of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. The issue of imparting militant training to the Hindus and using violence as a political weapon by the RSS has a long history. It was Savarkar who gave the slogan “Hinduise all politics and militarise Hindudom”. Inspired by this, Dr B S Moonje, mentor of RSS founder Dr Hegdewar, traveled to Italy to meet the fascist dictator, Mussolini. The meeting took place on March 19, 1931. His personal diary notes of March 20 reveal his fascination and admiration of the manner in which Italian fascism was training its youth (read storm-troopers) militarily. Upon return to India, Dr Moonje established the Central Hindu Military Education Society at Nasik in 1935, the precursor to the Bhonsala Military School (now charged with imparting training to Hindutva terror) established in 1937.
Golwalkar, in 1939, exults Hitler’s purging of the Jews under Nazi fascism and says that it is “a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by”. More recently, following the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the RSS tentacles, VHP and Bajrang Dal, had publicly prided themselves at the training imparted to `kar sevaks’. The then BJP chief minister of Uttar Pradesh publicly stated that he was proud of the kar sevaks who accomplished the job of demolishing the Babri Masjid more speedily and efficiently than any professional contractor would or could have done.
Soon after these investigations revealed the involvement of rightwing Hindutva organisations like the Abhinav Bharat in such terrorist attacks, the RSS chief, in 2008, questioned the term `Hindu terrorism’: “How can you club an entire community with the concept of terrorism?” He proceeds further to state, “Coining such terms is the conspiracy to defame the Sangh. It is a political conspiracy to defeat and defame Hindutva forces.” Very cleverly, the terms `Hindutva’ and `Hindu’ are used synonymously. What we are speaking about is Hindutva terror, not Hindu terror. Clearly, no religious community, as a whole, can be held responsible for the terrorist activities of individuals embracing that religion. Same yardstick, however, should apply to other religions as well. However not, according to the RSS. It continuously seeks to inflame communal polarisation with calls to “curb Islamic terrorism with an iron hand”. This is not merely an expression of double standards. It reflects the ideological roots of converting the modern secular democratic republic of India into the RSS version of a `Hindu Rashtra’ based on rabid religious intolerance.
In these columns, we continue to maintain that terrorism has no religion. It is simply anti-national and, hence, the country should display zero tolerance. Further, terrorism of all varieties only feed and strengthen each other, seeking to destroy the very unity and integrity of our country.
To safeguard and strengthen modern India’s secular democratic foundations, it is imperative that such pernicious ideological methods of using terror for realizing a political objective needs to be decisively defeated.
In this instance of the current investigations into the Malegaon blasts, the law of the land must be firmly upheld and the perpetrators of terrorist crimes must be brought to book.
(July 4, 2012)