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PERISCOPE
The Gom report and Muslims
By Saeed Suhrawardy

The Report of Group of Ministers on "Reforming the National Security System." has caused widespread unrest among Muslims all over the country. The Report is a sequel to the Report of Kargil Review Committee appointed to look into the deficiencies of intelligence in the course of Kargil Conflict.

Intelligence failure at that time was acknowledged by the former Army Chief, General V.P. Malik. It would have been fair and natural for Vajpayee Government to accept moral responsibility for that. The administrative responsibility should have devolved on the Minister for Defence, Mr. George Fernandes. In the normal course he should have resigned then and there. He did that after Tehelka disclosures.

However, Mr.Vajpayee decided to camouflage the failure of his government. He appointed a Group of Ministers to consider KRC Report and formulate specific proposals for improvement of security environment and also for their implementation.

Before considering the observations of the GOM Report, its composition has to be considered. Among the four, three belong to BJP. Mr. L.K.Advani, Mr. Yashwant Sinha and Mr. Jaswant Singh. The only non-BJP member, Mr. George Fervidness was included for cosmetic effect. Although he should not have been there for his role in "intelligence failure" in Kargil.
For all practical purposes, the so-called GOM Report is actually a BJP Report. Naturally, it reflects the views of Sangh Parivar and its spokesman, Mr. L.K. Advani.

The growth of Indo-Israeli relations in recent years has led to the familiar outcry about "Islamic Fundamentalism." It conveniently ignores the growth of Hindu Fundamentalism as represented by Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal. Their voice is the loudest about the danger of Islamic Fundamentalism. The reference to emergence of Islamic separatist movement in India is not substantiated by facts. If there is Islamic separatist movement, it may be elsewhere but not in India. The allegations about the activities of ISI have been repeated time and again. It is strange that Mr. L.K. Advani, who is described as another Sardar Patel, has not been able to curb it.

The burden of failure of Vajpayee Government in dealing with the situation in Jammu & Kashmir has been passed on the shoulders of the entire Indian Muslim community by alleging their involvement in secessionist activity. No evidence has been cited in support of the charge that secessionist movement in J&K and elsewhere is being transformed into " pan-Islamic movement against India." But where is elsewhere? There is no clue to that.

If Afghans bring arms into India, it is the duty of the Government of India to check that.

The number of Bangladeshis given in the GOM Report is grossly exaggerated, without supporting evidence. Similar are the remarks about the influence of Jamaat-e-Islami on Muslim youth.

The concern about modernization of Madrasa Education betrays the "secret agenda" of Saffron Brigade. In their eyes Madrasas are the main obstacle to saffronization of the country. For Muslims they are the only custodians of their religious and cultural identity. Any attempt to subjugate them or interfere in their functioning shall be firmly resisted my by Muslims. The so-called GOM Report is malicious, false, and tendentious. It is likely to create suspicions about Muslims and their institutions. It may aggravate the mutual distrust among two major communities of India. Under the cover of the so-called concern about the security of the country, the object is to give a lead to the state governments where BJP and like-minded parties hold and share power for launching a malicious campaign for harassing Muslims and suppressing their organizations and institutions.
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