Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family
Author: S.M. Mushrif
Publisher: Pharos Media & Publishing Pvt Ltd, D-84 Abul Fazal Enclave - I, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi 110 025
Price: Rs 300/USD 25 (including postage)
Mohammad Zeyaul Haque
The book under review can be studied at several levels. It can be read as a work of painstaking documentation of a series of bomb blasts targeting Muslim sites by right wing Hindu groups as reported by leading English and Marathi newspapers as well as how the Establishment deliberately misguided the media and the people to let the culprits off and implicate Muslims in their stead.
Whether it was a blast in a temple, a dargah, or a mosque intelligence agencies and local police always ended up implicating Muslims even though the culprits were from right-wing Hindu groups. The police investigations were deliberately derailed by powerful Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials in the states. The police in the states were seldom able to resist the IB's hamhandedness, the author SM Mushrif, a former Inspector General of Maharashtra Police, says.
On another level, it can be read as a close observation of the functioning of police and intelligence services in India, especially the IB. The IB always took advantage of its closeness to the Prime Minister's office (PMO) giving the impression to police officials in the states that its diktat had the sanction of the Prime Minister himself. Behind this clout of the IB was the fact that its director meets the Prime Minister every morning for 15 minutes to brief him on the security situation in the country.
Mushrif says this premier intelligence agency of the country, instead of being secular and impartial, is a Brahminist citadel and a virtual extension of the RSS. He quotes from Bahujan Sangharsh of April 30, 2007:After the RSS loyalists, having thus acquired higher positions in the IB, they also started a system of marking "suitable" officers and picking them up, with the result that some pro-RSS IPS officers went to IB in the prime of their careers and remained there for 15 to 20 years; some even remained in the IB throughout their careers. Mr VG Vaidya from Maharashtra remained in IB till his retirement and reached the highest post of director. Interestingly, when he was the IB chief, his real brother, VG Vaidya was the RSS chief of Maharashtra state… if the list of IPS officers on deputation to IB from various states is scanned carefully, it will be seen that most of them were either directed by RSS to join IB or RAW or were picked by their brethren in these organisations to carry out the agenda of RSS. For the sake of record, some non-RSS officers were also taken on deputation in the IB, but they were invariably given unimportant jobs.
Given such ties between RSS and India's premier intelligence agencies it should not surprise anyone if Hindu right terrorists are allowed to slip away and Muslim youth implicated in their stead. Also, it should surprise no one if the IB keeps "the government in dark about the nefarious communal activities of the Brahminist organisations like the RSS, which had been spewing anti-Muslim poison throughout the country through thousands of their branches."
Mushrif's indictment of IB as an extension of RSS is made on the basis of facts like: it never apprised the Union government of the mischief of RSS and allied organisations; never warned government about terror training of Hindu right-wing organisations, their collection of arms, ammunition and explosives, bomb-making and bomb attacks; it did not warn the government about the terrorist activities of Abhinav Bharat.
To vouchsafe for his statement that he is not anti-Brahmin Mushrif says he has Brahmin friends and many of the people struggling to have a more fair social order in India are Brahmins. To top it all, his son-in-law is a Brahmin. And, yes, even his hero Hemant Karkare was one.
It is interesting to note that in better off Muslim families Brahmin son-in-laws (and daughter-in-laws) are not the rarity that one would normally assume.
Mushrif makes another point that is already known in educated, well-off Muslim sections: There is no history of ill-will or violent antagonism between Muslims and Brahmins. Mushrif points towards the beginning of the present trend of anti-Muslim Brahminism from the dying years of the 19th century, when in 1893, to be precise, the first anti-Muslim riot was staged in Maharashtra. The Brahminical order had begun to feel challenged and threatened by the rising social and political aspirations of Dalits at the turn of the century. To divert the Dalit resentment towards a "common enemy", and thus consolidate Hindu ranks, the Brahminists began to target Muslims. Over the decades, more right-wing organisations with increasingly rabid agenda grew in numbers and in intensity of hate.The author’s Chargesheet
against the IB
1) Keeping the government in the dark about the communal activities of the RSS
2) Projecting RSS as a nationalist and social organisation
3) Different policy for leftist and secular organisations
4) Conniving at the Mahatma’s assassination
5) Not curbing communal riots
6) Wilfully maligning Muslim community _ planting RDX on Muslim boys
7) Justifying extrajudicial killings called ‘encounters’
8) Spreading rumours in the name of intelligence to demonise Muslims
9) Intentionally ignoring terrorist activities of Brahminist organisations
10) Keeping government in dark about Abhinav Bharat and its anti-national activities
11) Uncalled for interference in bomb blast investigations with ulterior motives
12) Not allowing highly suspicious so-called terror incidents to be probed
The terror attack on RSS headquarters at Nagpur
14) Inviting Lt. Col. Purohit as lecturer at the ATS training
15) Not objecting to Lt. Col. Purohit investigating the explosives-haul case
16) Allowing American national Haywood to leave the country
17) Appointing a highly controversial officer in place of Karkare in shameless hurry
18) Intentionally blocking the extremely specific information about Mumbai terror attack with mala fide intention
19) Intentionally not observing 35 mobile phone numbers furnished to them by RAW
20) Suspicious role in CST-CAMA-Rangabhavan Lane part of the attack
21) Not treating the blast cases involving Brahminist outfits as a nationwide terror plot
22)Keeping under wraps many true facts to hide its dubious role (pp. 275-283)
does not know who is Togadia!
This point of Mushrif has been largely corroborated with research by historians like Sumit Charkravarty of Delhi University. Whether it was the formation and rise of Hindu Mahasabha or RSS, or the sudden spectacular rise of BJP in the mid-eighties to mid-nineties of the last century, it always coincided with a new stage in the social, economic and political aspirations of Dalits and other lower and middle Hindu castes.
The earliest spurt in anti-Muslim drive came in the wake of Baba Phule's Dalit empowerment movement in early 20th century, followed by the formation of RSS in the 1920s coinciding with BR Ambedkar-led awakening of Dalits. The third largest anti-Muslim mobilisation was the Babri Masjid demolition campaign launched in 1984 that immediately followed Meenakshipuram conversions. Dalits of Meenakshipuram in Tamil Nadu, forced to the wall by a tyrannical Brahmin supremacist order, had converted to Islam. The Babri Masjid demolition campaign was also fuelled by Mandal Commission recommendations for the empowerment of middle and lower Hindu castes. That too was a threat to Brahminical supremacist ideas. Invariably, in every case the Brahminical order responded to genuine Dalit and lower-caste Hindu aspirations by launching anti-Muslim mobilisation, rather than honestly and squarely addressing the problem within Hindu society. Also, invariably, everything came from Maharashtra-based Chitpawan Brahmins, whether it was the leadership of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS, or Mahatma Gandhi's murder and the people who inspired it, or the orchestration of Babri Masjid demolition campaign from Nagpur. Not surprisingly, Mushrif dedicates the book to Mahatma Gandhi's vision of a united, integrated India that would be the opposite of caste supremacist order.
Interestingly, the early challenges to the supremacist ideas also largely came from Maharashtra in the form of Baba Phule's and Dr Ambedkar's movements.
Today's resistance to this order, even in Maharashtra, is more broad-based and includes Brahmins, Dalits, other Hindus and religious minorities. Even Karkare was a Maharashtrian.
Another level of reading this book is related to the discourse on terrorism in India. Mushrif says there is no history of Muslim terrorism in India. The earliest instance available to scholars is the freedom movement in which a section of freedom-fighters were of the view that the British colonisers could not be driven out without the use of arms against them. They resorted to tactics described by the British rulers as "terrorism." However, those freedom-fighters were from Hindu, Muslim and Sikh background.
Malegaon blast 2006While the people of Malegaon had been hoping to get satisfactory answers to these questions from the CBI, the bizarre revelations in the investigation of Malegaon blast case of 2008 pointed to the possibility that the Malegaon blasts of 2006 were also the handiwork of the same group. Marathi daily Sakal, Pune, 10 November 2008, quoting investigating officers reported, “some of 54 youths who participated in the training camp in Nagpur in 2001, were suspected to be involved in two Malegaon blasts and the Nanded blast.” (p. 79)
He reckons (outside Kashmir) only three major violent incidents in independent India (all coming after the massive violence of Ayodhya campaign and Babri Masjid demolition) in which Muslim were involved: Mumbai blasts of 1993, Coimbtore blasts of 1998, and the hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar in 2001. "Out of them only the Kandahar incident can be called a 'terror act'. The Mumbai blasts of 1993, argues Mushrif, were the handiwork of a gang of Muslim criminals to avenge the persecution of Muslims in the communal riots which took place following the Babri Masjid demolition, and the Coimbtore blasts of 1998 were also caused by a Muslim gangster who had been riled by the anti-Muslim activities of the Sangh Parivar."
It should be kept in mind that following the large-scale anti-Muslim riots, killings and demolition of Babri Masjid, the CBI had, in its initial report, asked for prosecuting LK Advani, Uma Bharati, Murli Manohar Joshi, besides others under Anti-Terror laws. This was the opinion of the eminent jurist NC Setalvad also.
However, the RSS with the help of its men in the IB, succeeded in branding Muslims as terrorists, while Hindu terrorists wreaked havoc across the country wearing skull caps, false beards and "Muslim dress". Meanwhile, the IB took care to spread disinformation about Muslim groups, deflecting attention from the real culprits. He cites copiously reports from major English and Marathi dailies to substantiate his claim.
Mushrif says the IB interfered "unnecessarily and arbitrarily" in "almost every bomb blast case and terror attack case, when its core duty was collection of intelligence." The goal always was to let off Hindu terrorists and implicate Muslim youth.
Mushrif also questions the motive of IB in not passing "extremely specific information about the Mumbai terror attack and did not share the same with the Mumbai Police and the Western Naval Command whom it concerned most." As the IB had got this information sufficiently before the 26/11 attack the disaster could have been prevented if the Mumbai Police and navy were informed in time.
Mushrif has prepared a 22-point chargesheet against the IB, which includes "projecting the RSS as a nationalist and social organisation" while adopting "a totally different policy in respect of Leftist, secular and Muslim organisations." In the chargesheet Mushrif says, "The IB connived at the assassination of the Father of the Nation by willfully omitting to take action against the conspirators, though it knew that at least five attempts had already been made on his life since 1934, and the involvement of a Brahminist group of Pune and of the main culprit Nathuram Godse had been established in some of the earlier attempts."
The IB never tried to curb the activities of riot organisers over the last six decades and it spread rumours about Muslim organisations. Number six in the chargesheet reads: "Wilfully maligning Muslim community - planting RDX on Mumbai boys." Quoting The Times of India of September 13, 2007, Mushrif says, "the CBI found in its investigation that the IB operatives colluded with the Delhi Special Cell sleuths to plant RDX on two Muslim youths, Mohammad Moarif Qamar and Irshad Ali to brand them as 'terrorists'. This was apparently to prejudice common populace against Muslims and divert their attention from the Brahminists' activities"
Finally, the book can be read for what it promises to tell the reader about "Who Killed Karkare?" The author argues that the Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare, by unraveling a massive right-wing Hindu plot to destroy the secular, democratic order and replace it with a desi version of Hindu Talibandom, had upset powerful groups in the country, including influential sections in the IB.
Karkare's investigations had exposed the Hindu terrorist plan, which according to revelations made by Lt. Col. Purohit under narco-analysis, had links with the Nepalese monarchy and Israeli military intelligence. Retired and serving officers of the IB and the army were involved in the mischief. (For a comprehensive grasp of this Byzantine intrigue, also read the lead story of the previous issue of MG dated 1-15 Nov. 09).
A direct witness
disregarded by the IB Anita Rajendra Uddaiya had clearly seen six of the terrorists while alighting on the beach, and she unequivocally identified their dead bodies later; she gave true and factual statements both to the FBI and the Crime Branch, Mumbai; she did not yield to any pressure and did not give a statement as desired by the FBI or the Crime Branch Mumbai (i.e., IB), as regards the number of terrorists or their descriptions. She apparently refused to identify some of the terrorists whom she had not seen, but whom the IB wanted her to identify or refused not to identify some of those whom she had seen landing near Badhwar Park, but whom the FBI did not want her to identify.
Consequently, not only her name was dropped from the list of important witnesses but shewasalso prosecuted. (pp. 207-8)
Hemant Karkare's ATS began to reverse the IB-inspired false thesis of "Muslim terrorist" in a series of bomb attack cases and nab Hindu terrorists across the country. Hindutva terrorists were also dying while trying to make bombs. Such incidents were reported from Kanpur, Ghatokpar in Mumbai and Nanded. "Muslim dress" and false beards were found from those places. Later, it turned out that the terrorists were attacking Muslim places of worship (and even some Hindu targets to confuse the people) wearing "Muslim dress" and false beards.
What will happen to Malegaon 2008 case?
2) The plea of Lt. Col. Purohit that whatever he did was a part of “anti-terror operation” will be accepted and he would be given a clean chit, at least, in serious charges. (He has already taken this stand as reported in The Indian Express, Pune (22 January 2009) in a news item captioned “Purohit cover story: Malegaon plot was MI anti-terror operation”).
3) The work of Abhinav Bharat will restart with renewed vigour and the bomb blasts, which have almost completely stopped since Lt. Col. Purohit and Co’s arrest, would start again and with them would start the anti-Muslim blame game. As a result, “Hindu [Brahminist] Rashtra” would appear not too distant a dream. (p. 266)
It was a nationwide conspiracy, with tentacles reaching Kathmandu and Tel Aviv. Karkare's investigation led to the arrest of military and intelligence officers masterminding these attacks. Whenever the local police and intelligence closed their dragnet on the culprits the IB intervened to let them off. Lt. Col. Purohit had admitted their hand in the blasts in Samjhauta Express but because of IB's disinformation the Central government told Pakistan that it was the handiwork of ISI.
One of the major trouble makers among the terrorists is mentioned only as "Mithun Chakraborty", who is a bomb maker. Mushrif says the person under this alias is an IB officer masterminding the terror network.
The author concludes that seeing its dubious game getting exposed by Karkare's team, the IB's hit men grabbed the opportunity to eliminate him and his associates in the mêlée of 26/11. He says most of the killings were done by the outside attackers but the elimination of Karkare was an inside job. The CST-CAMA-Rangbhawan massacre was not the work of outsiders.
Mushrif's evidence is circumstantial. However, it meets criteria like "who benefits from the crime?" Hindutva terrorists do benefit immensely from Karkare's exit. They are no longer under pressure. The investigation that gave a lie to so many of IB's theories like ISI hand behind Samjhauta Express and "Muslim terrorists" behind a string of bomb attacks across India, has run cold.
Another proof that Karkare was right was provided by a drastic fall in the number of bomb attacks all over India after Karkare began arresting the Hindutva extremists.
Yet another vindication of Karkare's finding that the Hindutva terrorists were using Muslim identity to implicate Muslims came last week when investigators discovered that the two Sanatan Sanstha men killed while allegedly trying to plant bombs in Goa during Diwali celebrations were masquerading as Muslims. As usual the intent of these right-wing Hindu men was said to create Hindu-Muslim strife.
They tried to leave behind a bag bought at "Khan Market" in Delhi, a bottle of ittar popular among Muslims and an empty bag of branded Basmati rice with words written in Urdu.
The book is an eye-opener and a timely warning for India.