Issues

The seditious act of terrorism: Samjhauta Exp

The most notable feature of the chargesheet in the Samjhauta case is that it strikes a chord in the heart of the people of the country irrespective of their identity – that Indians of all hue and colour belong to one nation and one nation alone. And that Pakistan is a different country though not named here. It also reveals the undeniable truth that the bombers of the train were motivated to attack the predominantly Muslim passengers but Hindus were also killed. Furthermore, the planned attacks on Mecca mosque, Ajmer and Malegaon were aimed at Muslims of India for what the jihadist terrorists were supposed to be doing in the case of Akshardham, Raghunath and Sankat Mochan temples.

This is borne out by each of the capital lettered word the chargesheet mentions: “criminal conspiracy with an intent to threaten Unity, Integrity, Security and Sovereignty of India and to strike terror in the people of India and a foreign country.”

But its implication is that the conspirators of the RSS do not share the same mainstream view of the spirit of nationality as revealed in the chargesheet. Had this been the case, they would not have targeted fellow countrymen in acts of terrorism just because they follow a different religion. Muslims of India do not share the jihadist fervor of the kind that is so visible in “a foreign country” as the chargesheet calls Pakistan. Therefore, “seditious act of terrorism” squarely fits on the RSS and its conglomerate for it is they who have excluded minorities like Muslims from the kind of cultural nationalism they advocate. These are far-reaching meanings of the citizenry of this country at odd with the ground reality of the right wing groups.

The chargesheet mentions Akshardham temple, Raghunath mandir, and Sankat Mochan temple where jihadist terrorists struck. The overwhelming number of Muslims had nothing to do with such attacks.

They had no affinity with anyone who was involved in such attacks, be they Muslims or otherwise.

What went amiss was that Muslims were outright blamed and a witch hunt was mounted against them. This made it look like all the Muslims were just jihadists and were prone to terrorism. The truth turned out to be quite opposite of it. The RSS and others of the same inclination have never reconciled to the fact that peaceful coexistence requires equal respects and trust for all. At a critical juncture of history, two persons of eminence have written what is the crux of the matter.

President KR Narayanan remarked on July 24, 2002 that “the Hindus who formed the majority (need) to speak out in the traditional spirit of the Hindu religion.” Then he underscored that India must deal with its Muslim minority “in a civilized manner,” ensuring them “security and the right of citizens in a democratic state.” This was not the case in the arrests of innocents and their languishing in jails years on end on false charges, in the pogroms that took place in Gujarat.

Narayanan quotes Prime Minister Nehru who addressed the chief ministers when he said that the Muslim community was “so large in numbers that they cannot, even if they want to, go anywhere else. They have got to live in India. That is a basic fact about which there can be no argument. Whatever the provocation from Pakistan, and whatever the indignities and horrors inflicted on non-Muslims there, we have got to deal with the minority in a civilized manner.”

What happened in India’s war on terror in the last decade is far from what Nehru wanted in 1947. That is what is needed more now than the case was in 1947 excepting the border crossing and the scale of murder and mayhem in the name of Partition.

Immediately in the aftermath of the attacks on Samjhauta Express, Muslims were blamed and several members of the community were arrested. The investigation by the Haryana police was obstructed by the lack of cooperation on the part of the BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh government and the strange logic of the then national security advisor.

As far as prayaschit, deep remorse, is concerned, Aseemanand felt it once but took a somersault. Indresh Kumar who gave Rs. 50, 000 for the Samjhauta attack does not feel it at all. If the RSS had a modicum of it, it would have surrendered Indresh Kumar to the police! It is still not too late.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 July 2011 on page no. 12

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