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Hindutva terror: Justice still eludes riots victims

Last updated on: October 18, 2011 17:51 IST

Hindutva terror: Justice still eludes riot victims

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Vicky Nanjappa

In the third and final part of the interview with rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa, Subhash Gatade, author of Godse's Children -- Hindutva Terror In India, says that  we should be wary of the majoritarian mindset which dominates what is known as civil society of our country.

Part I: 'Hindutva terror is not a recent phenomenon' 

Part II: 'Hindutva terror has had a long gestation period'

 

If you have noticed all these incidents, the first information that always trickles in blames either the Students Islamic Movement of India or the Indian Mujahideen. Only a few years later does the other angle to it come out. Why do you think this is the case?

I have discussed many related aspects to your present query in your question 'Why has it taken so long for the police to crack down on this phenomenon called Hindu terror?' and also regarding 'role of security agencies as well'.

I would like to add only two points. It is high time that one seriously looks into the composition of security and investigating agencies, and ensure that it is made more diverse, more representative of our multi-religious, multiethnic, multilingual country, to avoid any unnecessary spins to investigations.

We should also be wary of the majoritarian mindset which dominates what is known as civil society of our country. Can we imagine any country in the world which calls itself the biggest democracy and where genocides/carnages are easily forgotten and the chattering classes are ready to turn a new leaf?

 Look at Nellie massacre (Assam, 1983), Anti-Sikh riots (Delhi, 1984), Hashimpura (Merrut, UP, 1986) or killings of innocents in the aftermath of Babri Mosque demolition (1992-93) or the Gujarat carnage (2002). 

You will find to your dismay that 'peace' has been definitely restored but justice still eludes the victims.

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Image: The 1984 anti-Sikh riots were by far the worst: 3,000 killed with zero Hindu deaths

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'Sunil Joshi was the key person in Mecca Masjid blast'

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The death of Sunil Joshi has remained a mystery. What is your reading of this incident and who do you think murdered him and why?

A close look at Joshi's political journey makes it clear that he was one of the 'pioneers' of the terror turn in Hindutva politics.

He, along with his close group (which are still absconding) was found to be involved in bombing temples in Mhow and adjoining regions in Malwa in Madhya Pradesh, and blaming it on Muslims, to precipitate riots since the late 1990s.

He was the key person in planting bombs in Bhopal (2002 and 2003) as well as Ajmer and Mecca Masjid. If one believes fellow pracharak and terror-accused Assemanand's confession, he had only arranged 'manpower' for the Samjhauta Express blast.

The fact is that after a period when police pressure started mounting up as he was the key player, he planned to surrender, which was not liked by the masterminds of this terror project.

They perceived the threat to their whole gameplan in his surrender and it was decided to finish him. As facts stand today, only his close colleagues have been chargesheeted in the media.

It is high time that NIA also digs up into the case to unearth who else in the establishment facilitated 'silent burial' of this case earlier despite the fact that the state was ruled by BJP all these years.

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Image: Policemen stand guard at the site of a blast in front of Mecca Masjid
Photographs: Krishnendu Halder/Reuters
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'Take a look at what reports say about the RSS'

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You say that the RSS has promoted the culture of violence. Do you squarely blame the organisation for the emergence of Hindutva terror?

It is not my discovery that the RSS has promoted a culture of violence. Take a look at many reports of commissions which looked into riots in different parts of the country after independence, and you will find what has been said about it.

In fact, after assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, this is what the government communique issued on February 4, 1948 said which announced the ban on RSS:

...the government has, however, noticed with regret that in practice members of RSS have not adhered to their professed ideals.

Undesirable and even dangerous activities have been carried on by the members of the Sangh. It has been found that in several parts of the country, individual members of the RSS have indulged in acts of violence involving arson, robbery, dacoity and murder and have collected illicit arms and ammunitions.

They have been found circulating leaflets, exhorting people to resort to terrorist methods, to collect firearms, to create disaffection against the government and suborn the police and military.

Coming to its 'own role in the emergence of Hindutva terror' is concerned, as I explained earlier, the investigating and agencies will have to give a categorical answer to it.

Only they will be able to tell whether the likes of Devender Gupta and many of their ilk, who are at present cooling their heels behind bars for their alleged involvement in different terror acts, were acting on their own, as what one analyst calls as 'rogue elements' in the highly hierarchical organisation or they were instructed to do so by the top bosses.

At this juncture, one should also underline that incidents of Hindutva terror have also involved activists of many other fanatic organisations as well.

Look at the manner in which activists of Sanatan Sanstha, Hindu Janjagruti Samity were found to be involved in terror acts in Thane, Panvel (2008) or Madgaon or Sancole (2009) and how chargesheets have been filed against them.

Only few days ago, there was even a raid on Sanatan Sanstha's head office near Panaji in Goa.

We have also been witness to groups such as Arya Sena in Western UP which had organised attacks on mosques and Madarsas. (NDTV, June 7, 2002).

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Image: RSS supporters at a camp in Ahmedabad
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters
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'Terrorism of every hue presents a menace to democracy'

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Do you think RSS leader Indresh Kumar managed to get away?

As of now, it does appear that he has managed to get away.

It needs be reminded here that last year when the Ajmer, Mecca Masjid and Samjhauta Express blast investigations were on, there were reports in a section of the press (Mail Today) how 'Gehlot would do a Togadia to Indresh' referring to Ashok Gehlot's earlier stint at power in Rajasthan, when he had managed to apprehend Praveen Togadia, for his role in the trishul distribution ceremony.

But as things stand today, it appears that Congress despite its formal commitment to reach the masterminds of Hindutva terror, has decided otherwise.

Hindu radicals claim that it is the inaction of the government against Islamic terror which has led them to carry out such incidents. Do you agree that this is the only theory or is there some larger goal involved?

Let me make few things clear at the outset. Every fanatic has to provide a rationale for her/his heinous act. If the Lashkar-e-Tayiba promises a young recruit that his act would bring him closer to god, for a Hindutva radical any such act would bring their 'cause celebre' namely Hindu Rashtra closer.

But by merely parroting the need for Hindu Rashtra, it is not possible for people to prepare them to kill 'others'.

A Hindutva radical finds it convenient to package his murderous game in the 'action-reaction' play, where you kill the other as he is ready to kill you and the government is looking the other way.

There is no doubt that this action-reaction theory has many takers in our country. One even finds that many liberal-looking people also subscribe to this theory.

I find it completely bogus and mischievous. As I discussed earlier, the international ambience in the aftermath of 9/11 has definitely helped such violent acts.

It is high time that peace and justice loving people in this part of the world get ready to understand how terrorism of every hue presents a menace to democracy and are ready to fight the fake demons sitting in the minds of the people.


Image: The towers of the World Trade Center pour smoke shortly after being struck by hijacked commercial airplanes in New York on September 11, 2001
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters
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