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August 9, 1999

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E-Mail this column to a friend Varsha Bhosle

Other myths to "internalise"

"Only those whose heart beats for the Sangh Parivar will take the Wadhwa Commission's findings on the murder of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons in Orissa earlier this year at their face value. Any such bestiality may have a single individual pressing the trigger; but that does by no stretch means [sic] that the still-at-large assassin was not governed by religious fanaticism." ~ The Asian Age editorial of 8 August, 1999.

Let's play a game. Of substitution: Only those whose heart beats for the minorities will take the Srikrishna Commission's findings on the murder of the six Hindu victims of the Radhabai Chawl massacre early in 1993 at their face value. Any such bestiality may have individuals lighting the matchsticks; but that does by no stretch mean that the still-at-large assassins were not governed by religious fanaticism...

Not 3 victims, but 6. Locked in and burnt alive. The number would have been 9, but two minors and one girl survived after sustaining disfiguring burns.

During the Staines hearing, three persons deposed before Justice DP Wadhwa that the attackers raised the slogans 'Bajrang Bali ki jai' and 'Dara Singh ki jai.' (In his testimony, Pratap Chandra Sarangi, state coordinator of the Bajrang Dal, denied that 'Bajrang Bali ki jai' was his organisation's rallying cry. The Dal's chants are 'Vande Mataram' and 'Bharat Mata ki jai'.) During the Radhabai Chawl hearing, six witnesses deposed before Justice Srikrishna that the assailants stood around shouting 'Allah-o-Akbar' and fled only when they heard the police sirens.

The Srikrishna report stated: "There is no material on record suggesting that known Muslim individuals or organisations were responsible for the riots though a number of individual Muslims and Muslim criminal elements appear to have indulged in violence... That they were criminals was underplayed by Hindus; that they were Muslims was all that mattered."

The Wadhwa report states: "There is no evidence that any authority or Organisation was behind these gruesome killings... There were criminal cases pending against him [Dara] and yet he was not declared as absconder..." That he was a criminal is disregarded by "secularists"; that he is a Hindu is all that matters...

The three Christians were murdered in January 1999. Seven months later, their assassin is "still-at-large." The six Hindus were murdered in 1993. Six years later, their assassins are...?

Three days after the Radhabai Chawl arson, the police arrested 17 Muslims. In October 1996, 11 of them were convicted by the additional sessions judge of the TADA court and sentenced to life imprisonment. Immediately, a committee to defend them was formed by Samajwadi Abu Asim Azmi and representatives of the Jamiat-e-Ulema and the Muslim Council. Next, the Supreme Court ruled that the police had framed the 11 Muslims and "somehow tried to get them identified through witnesses who belonged to the community from which the people were burnt alive." You see, two of the women who died had not identified the accused in their dying statements...

The Wadhwa Commission concludes that 51 people were initially arrested by the Orissa police -- without any reasonable basis. And that the police -- under a "secular" Congress government -- registered a dubious FIR: "The FIR registered in the case does not represent the true state of affairs. It is certainly a doctored document." The arrested were detained for over two months in custody without prima facie evidence. All of them were subsequently found innocent by the CBI.

In its deposition before Justice Wadhwa, the Orissa police had claimed that the FIR lodged by one Ralia Soren -- supposedly an eyewitness -- mentioned five names. But, Soren testified that he had named only three persons, and that he had never been a witness to the crime. The FIR was based on hearsay.

A former superintendent of police of Keonjhar admitted that his information about Dara's links with the Bajrang Dal was based on "press clippings and common sense." On being asked why he didn't probe the Congress's allegations of Dara's ties with the BJP, the SP told a stunned court that "it was so well known locally that no probe was required." Talk about "internalising"...

Information based on reports in the Press... an institution infested by pinkos. You doubt it? Here's an account from The Tribune of April 27, about a briefing by Amar Singh and Mohd Azam Khan when they announced the Samajwadi Party's decision to block Sonia's bid for power: "The angry lot of journalists surrounding the two party general secretaries, literally took them to task with their barrage of angry questions, some of them even hinting that the Samajwadi Party would be responsible for a snap poll in the country. Some of the journalists from this lot of self-proclaimed 'third force' sympathisers even went to the extent of alleging to Mr Amar Singh that he had taken money from the BJP and that he was a 'gaddar'." Unbiased journalism, indeed...

The Left has declared that the findings of the Wadhwa Commission on the Staines killing is "an effort to whitewash the seriousness of the crime and the culpability of the RSS outfits." The CPI-M -- and all its stoolies in the Press -- hold that the Wadhwa Commission's finding Dara solely responsible for the gruesome murders, its assertion of his not belonging to any organisation, and its ruling out the involvement of any organisation (read, BJP) are an eyewash.

The Politburo remarks, "Even the instances cited by the Wadhwa Commission of Dara Singh's criminal attacks on Muslim cattle traders, by itself reveals that this campaign was initiated by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal."

On the other hand, the Wadhwa report states, "A murderer is a murderer to whichever faith he may belong. A criminal is a criminal. Religion need not be bought in such matters. Allow the police to make independent investigation of the crime uninfluenced by politics, religion or caste."

Which of these two statements betrays "Great Indian Internalised Myths"?

Actually, Justice Wadhwa calls Dara Singh a fanatic who regularly terrorised Muslims and organised tribals against Christian missionaries. But, he found no evidence linking Dara to the Parivar. Instead, he criticises the visits of VIPs to Manoharpur since they hampered investigations... Who was one of the first to visit? Madhav Scindia. His arrant quote to The Hindustan Times of August 7: "We have never talked of organisations, but had maintained that Dara Singh was an activist of Bajrang Dal. This has proved correct. This point has not been refuted by the commission." Huh?!

The Asian Age editorial declares, "The action taken by the government is as abject as the recommendations of the Wadhwa Commission report with not even a mention about why Dara Singh has still not been apprehended."

"Abject." Synonyms: despicable, contemptible. My question: What makes Justice Srikrishna a figure of "unimpeachable even-handedness" -- and Justice Wadhwa a person whose objectivity is debatable?

On January 28, the Politburo asserted that "the decision of the Union Cabinet to appoint a Judicial Commission of Inquiry, into the circumstances relating to the killing of an Australian missionary and his two sons in Orissa, is a blatant attempt to cover up the role of the various outfits of the RSS-headed saffron brigade."

On August 7, the CPI's D Raja declared, "The report was politically motivated and tutored [sic]. Its only objective was to certify that alleged criminal Dara Singh was not associated with the Bajrang Dal or any other outfit of the Sangh Parivar. The report was published to benefit the BJP in the assembly and Lok Sabha elections."

Let's play the substitution game again: See? When you claim to protect minorities, you can perpetuate innumerable scams that make Muslims and everyone else a loss. You can adroitly evade any questions, too. That's what all this "protection" really amounts to. If you think about it, that is the true price we pay for "internalising" the myths, for this supposed "protection." That is the true price we pay for allowing the Wadhwa report to be so summarily besmirched. For allowing justice so little chance...

The Politburo has alleged that it was "strange" that a decision to institute a judicial commission has been taken when both the National Human Rights Commission and the National Commission for Minorities had sent their teams for inquiry. That seven months after the Staines murders, Dara Singh is "still at large" (a phrase echoed by The Asian Age edit) and the politics of hate against religious minorities gets "official protection."

Considering that the NCM is on record saying that there has been a "significant difference in atrocities against minorities after the BJP-led government took charge in March 1998," and that the Centre and the state government were answerable for their failure to control the situation in Gujarat -- why wouldn't the Beej appoint a non-prejudiced authority...? The august body, when it investigated the Gujarat upheaval, found no evidence of conversion through the use of force or allurement by Christian missionaries -- when there are ample instances indicating otherwise.

Did Tahir Mahmood utter a word against the Congress governments of Orissa after the Staines murders and the Ranali arson...? What did he say after the egg-in-face case of the "raped" nun of Baripada? What were his declarations after the Jhabua nun rape, which perpetrators were subsequently found to be associated with the Congress and some to be Christians?

What does Tahir Mahmood have to say about the kidnapping of four RSS pracharaks of the Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram -- Shymal Sengupta, Dinen Day, Subhamby Datta, Subhankar Chakrabarty -- by the National Liberation Front of Tripura, a separatist, terrorist organisation known for its proximity to the Christian cause?

There's nothing like "anti-Hindu"...? Then how do you explain the secularists' screeching denunciations against the appointment of Sundar Singh Bhandari as the governor of Bihar -- on the grounds that he was a member of the RSS? The Italophiles throw the Constitution at us when we oppose the Shroud becoming prime minister of India. Then, is there ANY provision in the Indian Constitution that bars a member of the RSS from holding an appointed or elected position? Can't a member of a legal entity, which the RSS is, be appointed by a democratically elected government to a public position? This isn't discrimination? Why the eff do we allow these double standards?

Today's ToI editorial states oh-so-fairly, "Without doubt, the media must examine the wisdom of premature judgment, especially where heightened sectarian passions have created an inflammable situation, as in this case. This, however, is not to suggest that the [Wadhwa] report must be unreservedly welcomed. Some Christian organisations, for instance, have pointed to what certainly seem like discrepancies."

Can you recall the ToI ever saying that the Srikrishna report should be re-assessed because some Hindu organisations indicated inconsistencies?? The VHP had put out a book delineating them! Without doubt, the media must do some soul searching. As Justice Wadhwa says: "reporting of communal strife should not be done without proper verification or an ordinary crime given a communal twist". But catch these bozos catching on.

But wait, I've saved the rankest bit of bigotry -- from TAA, of course: "It has given a handle to the communal forces to gloat over the fact that while a criminal was responsible for the murder of the Australian missionary, the forces wedded to Hindutva and a divisive policy of hate were not responsible... now that Justice Wadhwa has ignored the evidence and arguments of his own counsel, it is left to the concerned sections of society to reject the report on grounds of poor and biased investigation."

Need I say more?

Varsha Bhosle

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