Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Isolate terror, do not secularise it!

S Gurumurthy
First Published : 01 Dec 2008 02:04:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 01 Dec 2008 10:44:09 AM IST“

The mounting evidence” says The New York Times (28/11) quoting American intelligence and official, “indicate that Pakistani militant group based in Kashmir, most likely Lashkar-e-Toiba, or possibly another terror group in Kashmir, Jaish-e-Mohammed, was responsible for the dastardly attack” on Mumbai on November 26. ‘The Mumbai terror has been planned for the last six months’ and ‘the terrorists came from Karachi; they landed on the Indian coast through boats; they were trained by Pakistan Navy for 12 to 18 months; Dawood Ibrahim’s local infrastructure had provided the logistics for the attack; the terror bears the Inter- Services Intelligence (ISI) stamp’, say the media reports citing Indian intelligence and Mumbai police. All this point to the Jihadi character of the terror. The Jewish religious head in Mumbai and the white foreigners staying in hotels as special targets of the terrorists who allowed Turkish Muslim inmates of Taj Hotel to escape because they were Muslims reinforced the view that the terrorists were part of the global Islamist terror network against non-Muslims (Kafirs).

Yet the Home Minister first and the Prime Minister later made statements on November 27, warning that the terrorists would pay for their crime, but, did not utter a word about who were the terrorists, and where they came from.

Then entered the Minister of State for Home Affairs Sri Prakash Jaiswal. He provided the comedy in an otherwise grim tragedy that Mumbai was experiencing for nearly 48 hours. He told the media on November 28, ‘terror could be a conspiracy hatched by right-wing Hindu parties’. Hindu parties — read the BJP? Yes. So Pakistan, or Lashkar-e- Toiba or Jaish-e-Mohammed or other Jihadi outfits are not the prime suspects! Following this line the Chinese People’s Daily suspected Hindu terrorists as the culprits! But most secular media in India fortunately dismissed the junior minister’s statement as just a juvenile prank. As his state minister was striving to make those who cry laugh, the Prime Minister stepped in to supplement his junior minister’s efforts to humour the nation. On that very day, he invited the chief of the ISI — the main suspect in the terror on Mumbai — to come to Delhi.

Why? To share info on the Mumbai terror with the main conspirator! Is it that the PM too was cracking a joke like his junior minister by inviting the ISI chief ? The ISI continues to be, as it always was since 1959 when it was born, hostile to India. On August 1, 2008, The New York Times reported, citing US officials, “American intelligence agencies have concluded” that Pakistan’s ISI had “helped plan the deadly July 7 bombing of India’s embassy in Kabul” that left 58 dead and 141 wounded. As his junior minister spoke of Hindu terrorists as suspects, the Prime Minister invited the ISI chief, a well known jihadi who was involved in the jihad in the July Kabul attack to assist in investigating the Mumbai terror. That is, the Prime Minister was asking the main conspirator, ISI, to catch the other perpetrators – namely, the Jihadis whom it had trained to attack India! Normally such an act would be a subject of a cartoon.

Read together what Jaiswal said in Mumbai — namely, the terrorists were from Hindu political parties — on November 29 — and what Dr Singh did in Delhi on the same date – namely, invite the ISI chief to probe the Mumbai terror.

Did the Prime Minister take his minister of state for home so seriously that he wanted the Hindu angle to the Mumbai terror — some Advani or Modi involvement — to be jointly investigated by the IB in India and the ISI in Pakistan? Or did he expect the ISI to confess to its involvement? Or did he think that the ISI has suddenly shed its enmity and turned its admirer under its secular leaders Sonia Gandhi, a Christian, and himself, a Sikh? But fortunately for India, the Pakistan government refused to send the ISI chief to India. The world would have laughed at India if the ISI chief had come to India and declared to the media that the ISI would ‘co-operate’ with the IB to catch the culprits! What has done India into this mess? It is the Indian polity’s inability to say plainly that Islamic terror is a global phenomenon, and it is extending itself into India through global Islamic network.

Result, instead of isolating the terror, the national political discourse began secularising it. The seculars saw normal anti-terror laws as anti- Muslim laws by showing the number of detainees under the law which contained more Muslims. They refused to acknowledge that global Islamic jihad appeals only to Muslims and not to other communities. How then to maintain arithmetical parity between communities in the arrests under the anti-terror law? Once it is conceded that a terrorist has no religion, the person detained for acts of terror also has no religion.

How then could detainees under POTA be seen as Muslims and others? More, this secular formulation has facilitated the free entry of global jihad.

More, the national discourse, instead of protecting the local Muslims from global jihad, has not only exposed them to it, but also encouraged the process by integrating anti-terror laws within secular vs communal discourse. In the discourse anyone opposing strong antiterror laws became instantly secular, and any one supporting it instantly communal. Consequently, terror became secular, and anti-terror laws became un-secular. Thanks to this debasing secular debate, the UPA repealed the POTA as its first job. The result is for all to see. In the last four years and more, the terror attacks have accounted for more than 4,000 lives and in the last one year our terror toll had been more than that of — believe it — Iraq.

The next perversion followed the first.

The secular discourse instead of isolating the jihadi outfits like the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) worked to make the unwary local Muslims identify with, own such outfits.

Take the example of the ban on SIMI. The BJP-led NDA had banned it in 2001 and the Congress had opposed it, saying that the ban had targeted the Muslims. This secular perverted discourse made the unwary Muslims own the SIMI about which most of them perhaps knew nothing except that the ‘anti-Muslim’ BJP had banned it and the secular parties — read pro-Muslim parties — had opposed it! The UPA first lifted the ban, but reimposed it but not before allowing the SIMI to grow into an Indian LeT. Why not ban the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, asked the Congress and the seculars, when SIMI was banned. But little did they realise that VHP can and should be banned if it indulged in terror, but not to justify the ban on SIMI. See what this secular perversion translates into. One, the state cannot act against the SIMI unless they find some Hindu outfit to act against.

Two, the state cannot detain or act against a terrorist unless it can find terrorists from all communities. QED: terror stands secularised, not isolated in secular discourse! How will India fight terror with this cerebral paralysis?

No comments: