Search form

Last updated: 8 min 37 sec ago

You are here

Columns

Specter of Hindutva terrorism

The significant watering down of the 2008 Malegaon blast case in India, despite several fatalities and injuries caused by Hindu radicals’ extremism, by the country’s premier investigative agency NIA is a clear pointer to a now undeniable fact that the anti-minority bias in the security and political establishment is so pervasive that even acknowledging the threat posed by Hindutva hard-liners is a taboo in Modi’s India.
Besides, it corroborates National Crime Record Bureau’s findings of Hindus being least likely to be tried, detained or convicted for crimes in India. Last summer, Rohini Salian, the special public prosecutor in one of India’s most contentious terrorism cases, blew the cover off an open secret — the Modi-led government’s extreme reluctance to prosecute saffron terror actors.
Salian, in fact, was instructed by the NIA to go soft on Hindu extremists, including a self-styled holy woman Pragya Singh Thakur and serving military intelligence official Lt. Col. Shrikant Purohit, accused of masterminding fatal motorcycle bomb explosion. Ever since his ascendancy to the prime ministerial chair, the message from Modi has been loud and clear to officials overseeing investigation — that he did not want unfavorable legal verdict against the accused persons because they are closely associated with the Sangh Parivar. And indeed, the radical Hindu nationalists have enjoyed state immunity for long as their very own version of organized violence, including gruesome slaughtering of Muslims and Christians, cutting open pregnant wombs cold bloodedly and destroying minorities’ places of worship, were never considered crime, which fits into the definition of terrorism that New Delhi espouses every now and then in forums across the globe.
As usual, the dogmatic security apparatus did not consider the Hindu fanatics as a meaningful threat to India’s national security. Interestingly, during a private conversation with this writer, a senior functionary of India’s security establishment had once offered a valid explanation for India’s security officials pampering Hindu extremists limitlessly. “A sizable number of officials, both at the senior and junior level, serving in India’s security agencies have been regular visitors to “Shakhas” — a daily gathering for indoctrination — organized by the Rashtriya Syamsevak Sangh (RSS), BJP’s ideological fountainhead” asserted the gentleman, adding “these RSS foot soldiers stationed in India’s security set-up act as a cushion against possible state clampdown on Hindutva extremism.”
Undoubtedly, this senior official’s candid confession perfectly explains why investigators failed to act decisively despite terror trails leading to the RSS door repeatedly, with several of the accused having direct link with the organization. Besides, a very reliable source in India’s strategic intelligence establishment confided in this writer how the saffron operatives’ network were subtly used for false flag terrorism in Indian-administered Kashmir to mold international opinion favorably. Sources in the government privy to informal orders given to security establishment vis-à-vis saffron terror confirms that taking cue from the political masters of the day, the security agencies are leaving no stone unturned to twist the facts of terrorism cases involving saffron actors.
That precisely is the reason why the slain Hemant Karkare, ex-official of India’s external intelligence agency who unearthed Hindutva organizations’ surreptitious involvement in domestic terrorism during his stint in anti-terror unit of Maharashtra police, is sought to be maligned by doubting his credibility and line of investigation. Karkare, in fact, had no hidden agenda and hit a minefield of treasure containing recordings of terror conspirators’ conversations, which are now being thrown into the garbage to protect the RSS.
The conversation, involving serving military intelligence official fluent in Arabic, two-time parliamentarian representing BJP, head of the party’s regional ex-servicemen cell, members of saffron outfits as well as a senior functionary of World Hindu Federation with offices in Europe and America, gives a chilling account of how plans to target minorities specifically were executed under the very nose of India’s security establishment. And the open confession of Hindu priest Swami Aseemanand, leader of RSS’s tribal affairs wing, is a glaring proof of how callously India’s hallowed security apparatus handled a series of blasts between 2006 and 2008, which were actually carried out by members of Hindu religious outfits. Even though predominantly Muslim majority areas and places of worship were targeted and the victims were also primarily Muslims, security agencies arbitrarily rounded up Muslim youths and tortured them to extract confessions. And all this to cover up the truth of Indian Army instructor trained Hindutva marauders’ modus operandi of unleashing terror to tame India’s hapless minorities.
Given Modi’s outreach to expatriate Indians for subtly spreading radical nationalism offshore, it is time that the international community wake up and take cognizance of this phenomenon that has its root in Hindu insecurity, purposefully created to benefit the right-wing political forces in India. Is it not unfair to not treat slaughter of thousands of Muslims by sword-wielding Hindus or burning a missionary and his kids alive or abducting pastors and inflicting inhuman torture on them while in custody as acts of terrorism?
Modi must realize that giving a Muslim face to every terror act committed in India or the institutional resistance to proceed against Hindutva terror suspects will be self-defeating. The 2006 Malegaon serial blasts killing scores of innocent, 2006 Nanded blast, 2007 Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Sharif blasts and the 2008 Malegaon blast, all shows similar symptoms, which need specialized treatment.