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Indian Muslims forced to extremism 

Imam Ali, the main accused of bombing the RSS headquarters in Chennai on August 8, 1993, was killed in a police encounter on September 29 in Bangalore. The demolition of Babri Masjid and the subsequent anti-Muslim riots gave rise to Muslim militancy in the country, spawning men like Ali. 

Ali had allegedly planned to assassinate Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani, Human Resource Minister Manohar Joshi and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) chief Ashok Singhal at Allahabad in July this year. He postponed his plan for unknown reasons. According to the police, he wanted to bomb temples in Tamil Nadu to foment communal trouble.

After the demolition of Babri Masjid, Kavai Pasha formed Al Umma, a militant organisation, in Coimbatore to counter Hindu militancy. On August, 1993 Imam Ali and his associate Hyder Ali, members of Al Umma, bombed the Chennai headquarters of the RSS. A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) report said that the act was carried out to avenge the demolition of the Babri Masjid. 

The demolition marked the beginning of attacks on Hindu leaders and organisations by the Muslim extremists. Al Umma was held responsible for the serial blasts in Coimbatore on February 14, 1998 in which 68 people were killed. Since the demolition of Babari Masjid, several train blasts have occurred all over the country, allegedly connected with this event. 

Despite decades of persecution, discrimination and anti-Muslim riots after Independence, Indian Muslims did not take to violent means. Ultimately, their tolerance gave way to despair when Babri Masjid was demolished and desecrated by Hindu chauvinists on December 6, 1992. After the demolition, a series of anti-Muslim riots occurred all over the country. In nearly 150 riots that followed the demolition nearly 2000 people were killed, most of them were Muslims. The police played an active anti-Muslim role in those riots. Muslim women were stripped naked, raped and videotaped in Surat. Mosques and graveyards were damaged, properties of Muslims looted and burnt. The insult and injury inflicted on the Muslim psyche was too deep to be healed.

The Mumbai blasts of March 1993 were a sequel to demolition of the Babri Masjid and what followed later. It was the first planned and proven terrorist attack by a group of Indian Muslims. The target of attacks was Mumbai stock exchange. More than 300 people were killed and hundreds injured. The country suffered huge financial losses. 

There was no serious attempt to nab the perpetrators of the communal riots in any part of the country. Muslims were punished for resisting the marauders, especially in Mumbai, by the police. Young men were picked up by the cops, tortured and thrown into jails. Police atrocities in Mumbai riots, which started in January 1993, were so blatant, their association with the marauders so revolting that resorting to violence by young Muslims became foregone a conclusion.

One of the senior-most politicians of India, Chandra Shekhar, was present in Mumbai when the anti-Muslim pogrom was going on. A tearful Chandra Shekhar told a media, "Now, Muslim youth would take to weapons." The Mumbai blasts came within three months of that prediction. 

Police acts with great haste in nabbing Muslims who participate in riots or blasts. The police did nothing to arrest the instigators of the Mumbai riots. The Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackrey incited communal passion by writing articles in Samna, Sena’s mouthpiece, purportedly to teach Muslims a lesson. He was not brought to book. Shocking excerpts from the tapes of police wireless messages were published by the New York Times in which police officers could be heard abusing Muslims and asking subordinates not to protect Muslims. The recordings were erased later to cover up the police role.

A similar conspiracy came to light in Kolkata! the second most important commercial centre after Mumbai. Since then several incidents of terrorist violence have come up in the country in which Muslims’ role was suspected. The establishment blames ISI for these developments.

After the demolition of Babri Masjid, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) in a report to the Prime Minister’s Office had said that the country was on the threshold of Muslim militancy. The report blamed both Hindu fundamentalists and the leadership of that time for the unfortunate development. The report said that Hindu fundamentalists hoped to achieve consolidation of Hindu society by demolishing Babri Masjid, but rather their actions helped promote the consolidation of Muslim fundamentalism. 

The IB note highlighted that in the absence of a credible leadership, the Muslim youth began to believe that only two options were left to them: subjugation by the Hindutva forces or resorting to terror for protecting self-identity. The IB was worried about the possibility of "Muslim militants" allying with "Sikh militants" and growing support to them from Pakistan’s ISI.

The report warned that if Muslim militancy engulfed the country the situation would be dangerous because police action will not be effective enough to contain it.

¯ M. Mazharul Haque 

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