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Combating Terrorism
By Ram Puniyani

In recent times the country has witnessed a long list of acts of insanity — attack on Sabarmati train, Parliament, Kashmir assembly and Akshardham. Muslim community as a whole has become suspect and the slogan goes that all terrorists are Muslims. It is in this backdrop that Bal Thackeray's 'magic' solution to solve terrorist problem is dished out for the benefit of the nation. Firstly, get rid of four crore Bangladeshis who have infiltrated, next on the agenda is that pro-Pakistan Muslims should leave the country and the ultimate solution being that Hindu suicide squads should be formed. With this triad of solution coming from "Hindu Hridaya Samrat" (Emperor of Hindu Hearts), as some of his followers call him, the nation will be rid of the menace of terrorism and this Hindu Rashtra can relive the great glories, according to Mr. Thackeray.

His prescription that Hindu suicide squads are the answer to the Islamic terrorism is not only flawed, but it also labels the acts of political motives as having their roots in a particular religion only. It totally betrays the basic unwillingness to understand the causes of violence, terrorism etc. One can add that it is not only an unwillingness to understand the basic causes but it is also a deliberate ploy to instigate the aggressive sentiments, to provoke the violence in the society. One knows that the ilk of Thackeray have political motives in ensuring that communal violence continues. It is only on the chariot of communal hatred that the parties like BJP, Shiv Sena etc are able to gain electoral mileage. Be it the case of Mumbai riots in 1992-93 or Gujarat violence, the basic agenda of Thackeray-Modi combine is the same.

During post-independent India, Gujarat riot victims, the unfortunate lot, have mostly been from the poor community. This statement has to be qualified by the addition that this was so prior to Gujarat 2002. In Gujarat the earlier observation that it is only the poor who are victims of communal violence has been upturned and now even the affluent can be the recipient of the wrath of the bloodthirsty politics. Again in the similar vein, one will add that though the percentage of Muslims is around 13, the same percentage amongst riot victims is 80 and that too is as per the pre-Gujarat statistics. That the observations in Gujarat will change this for the worse is sure. This violence derives its legitimacy from the stray acts, which are either provoked or occur due to insecurity of the community under the battering ram of the violence. The agenda of majoritarian politics projects the battered minority as a threat to the majority and in order to protect the majority, pre-emptive strikes are undertaken. And that is how the butchers and violators are accorded, or get themselves accorded, the prefix of "Emperors of Hindu Hearts." One may note here that Thackeray was accorded this prefix in the aftermath of Mumbai riots and Modi is being accorded this in the aftermath of the Gujarat carnage!

To add to the 'good' fortune of Thackeray-Modi, George Bush has provided the international ideological support. Now the equation of Osama Bin Laden-International terrorism-Pakistan and Indian Muslims being together in their mission to attack the virtuosity of Western civilization globally and the glorious 'Hindu' traditions here has been put together into a single combination pack. Why and how the likes of Osama and Kashmiri terrorists came up, what is the role of American imperialism in promoting the same is forgotten in the process. When and who trained the Osama group into Jihad techniques, why only in oil rich zone terrorism originates and prevails is also forgotten. It is also forgotten that the most initial act, which prompted the terrorism to come up on a big scale in the Middle East was violation of international norms by Israel, fully backed up by the mighty US. The suppression of democratic aspiration in this region, starting from overthrowing the Mossadegh regime by the US, the previous aggression of the US on Iraq and the forthcoming aggression on Iraq by the US are again understated.

The merry alliance of Sheikhs and despots with Uncle Sam, who is crushing democracy in a ruthless manner wherever possible, is a matter of deep concern for all conscientious citizens of the world, be it the case of Vietnam where America unsuccessfully tried to crush the Vietnamese nationalism or even that of Chile where a democratic government was overthrown and a butcher of the status of Pinochet was installed by the US, all has been forgotten from the public memory. As a matter of fact, the self-proclaimed upholder of freedom is the biggest suppressor of democracy all over the world. And this, of course, is done to pursue its imperialistic designs. In a way Palestinian militancy was a reaction to Israel's high-handedness, Osama, himself a product of CIA training, turned against its mentors for their dominating presence and intervention in the Middle East once the Russian army was thrown out from Afghanistan. What is the cause and what is the effect? The popular perception, thanks to the manufacturing consent by the dominating states and the doctoring of mass consciousness by the dominating social groups, ensures that the likes of Thackeray and Modi can merrily conduct pogroms to support their political agenda favouring social status quo. One can undertake an exercise of seeing the parallel between the agenda of Uncle Sam and Hindutvavadis. It may also be recalled that during McArthy era when communists were being hunted down, our own M.S. Golwakar, the ideologue of RSS, was writing to the Indian government offering all his support to eliminate the menace of Communism from the Indian nation. Five decades later when Uncle Sam has unleashed a crusade against Islamic Terrorism the inheritors of the legacy of Golwalkar are busy actually wiping out Muslims in the name of fighting the so-called Islamic terrorists.

Closer home, post-Babri demolition, the anger of Muslim youth can be used as a pretext to unleash the pogrom. Similarly, the acts, which have no religious motive, like the murder of Mathadi workers or the burning of Bane family (Mumbai) can be projected to be the attack of Muslims (since the victims were Hindus) to annihilate Hindus and so this would give the ‘mini fuehrer’ an excuse to take over to the streets and his minions can supply arms to marauding mobs to accomplish their job of annihilation of hapless Muslims. In this background, the polarization of communities keeps going on and the electoral chickens hatch soon enough for the leaders of the pogroms. Thanks to the painstaking work of Shrikrishna Commission, one can confidently state this a decade down the line. But the damage has been done. Popular perception has no time for such commissions, they can well be fed with the soup that Muslims attack first and so we have to... That the violence is not spontaneous, neither non-avoidable has been more than proven by a comparison of projected post-Godhra carnage and post Akshardham calm.

But here again the popular perception has no time to introspect. One, people have enough problems on hand, and two, the doctors of mass consciousness are working overtime to ensure to enforce the message that Godhra has links with international terrorism, Osama Bin Laden, Pervez Musharaf and the Muslim next door. By the time the reports of inquiry commission will bring out the truth, the ilk of Chote Sardar aka Narendra Modi, the newly anointed ‘Emperor of Hindu Hearts’, will encash the resulting polarization into the electoral arena. By the time the inquiry commission report comes out, if at all in this case, the graves of those who perished in the carnage will be submerged deep down.

The suicide squads in a way already exist. The impoverished poor unemployed mainly Adivasis and Dalits, who can be made hand-maiden of the communal agenda, are already willing to risk their lives for a price. And this is the new acquisition of the perpetrators of the cult of politics in the name of religion. The march of the present policies are already creating fertile ground for the squads, who for mere biological survival will be coming in handy to be used as foot soldiers of Hindutva-sponsored violence. The trick involved is that the attack is projected as the self-defense and the victim is projected as the culprit.

Is Mr. Thackeray concerned about eliminating terrorism? No way. This terrorism is his best support. So he wants to see that the terrorism flourishes, and so he gives the call for suicide squad. The proposed squads can be the best incitement to the feeling of insecurity, which promotes terrorist acts. Surely Balasaheb is on the right track for his political agenda.
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