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Published in the 1-15 December 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition


No good terrorist

The Tribune, Chandigarh (Nov. 11, 2004, p. 6) discloses that a Hindu boy has been found to have been a member of the hated Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, and there are reports that quite a few Hindu boys have similarly joined the terrorist groups. The reason assigned for these boys joining the ranks of terrorists is utter poverty. The paper also reports that during last four years, as many as 210 terrorists have surrendered in the Jammu region alone. The aforementioned Hindu boy, named as Manoj, presumably hails from the same region and is reported to have surrendered before the authorities. 

About Muslim's, or, Islam's alleged role in the spread of terrorism in this country, it has often been pronounced by the political big wigs, by way of 'concession' to Islam, that while every muslim may not be a terrorist, every terrorist is a Muslim. This slogan mongering must now change, more so because the terrorism of the Hindu boy referred to is also directed against State and the innocent population much in the same way in which the terror caused by the others is and continues to be. It will be interesting to hear the comments of the so called "desh bhaktas" in relation to this new development in the time to come. 

What has pained me most, after a careful reading of the news item in question, is the total absence of any comment by the Press on the impoverished status of the young men belonging to the Islamic community who too got attracted to terrorism as a profession only in order to make some money. If the plea taken is that it was a mere omission on the part of the Press not to highlight the poverty ridden status of the Islamic community in the geographical area in question while stressing the same factor, without detailed inquiry, in relation to the Hindu boy, it will have to be accepted that the omission was significant. 

If it is, at any time, felt that young men driven by hunger and poverty take recourse to terrorism temporarily only in order to be able to derive financial and other benefits flowing from the State policy of conciliation by surrendering themselves before the State authorities in course of time, such a distinctive feeling, based as it is on a fair understanding of human nature, should be willingly and spontaneously expressed in respect of all the communities. That is to say that if, for instance, extreme poverty is stated as the only reason for Hindu boys becoming terrorists, the Press and the Politicians both must be willing to accept the same reason in relation to the members of the other communities joining the ranks of the terrorists. The Tribune fails to come out clean in this respect also. This too has pained me in the same way as the omission I have jst referred to. 

Terrorism must, nevertheless, be condemned in all its forms and by whomsoever indulged in. No attempt should be made to draw a fine distinction between one class of terrorists and the others on any ground whatsoever. Only then shall we be able to root out this sinister evil from our land for good. No compromises here please. 

S. A. T. Rizvi, IAS (rtd.), former Secretary to the Govt. of India

Editor: It is a known fact that Hizbul Mujahidin has HIndus in its fold. PTI reported from Jammu on March 17, 2003 quoting “official sources” that a Hindu militant was killed for the first time in 13 years of insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir on that day along with five other ultras in a fierce encounter with army in Doda district. The slain ultra was identified as Kuldeep Singh alias Akhtar Ansari who was son of Lal Chand of Puneja village and had joined militancy five years ago according to the report which added that his elder brother is sector commander of Hizbul Mujahideen in Doda. Kashmir Times (May 21, 03) had reported Sheikh Jameel-ul-Rehman, the base camp chief of Tehrikul Mujahideen and general secretary of united jehad council, as saying that "During the period [of 13 years] hundreds of Hindu militants also offered sacrifices. Even the security agencies massacred them as they were well wishers of the movement." By contrast, no Indian Muslim has been found fighting in Kashmir.

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