Caveat Against ‘Saffron Terrorism’ Indictment of Indresh Kumar
The Union Home Minister has gone in to the records, after the Allahabad High Court judgement in the famous Ramjanambhoomi Case, who said that the demolishers of the ‘Babri Masjid’ should have been punished. He also indirectly provoked the Muslim community to go to the Supreme Court on appeal against the High Court judgement. It does not behoove of the Home Minister to talk in such manner, which is contemptuous of the higher judiciary. The Congress party is totally disappointed that the Ayodhya verdict failed to provoke the Muslims as wished by its leader Sonia Gandhi. Even the Prime Minister is quoted in the press for having consoled the Muslims to go to Supreme Court on appeal. The saner section among the Muslims as well as the Hindus, have read the underlying truth in the judgement and perhaps, decided to live in peace with mutual amity without getting provoked by politicians, who have an eye on their votes. Mulayam was even openly snubbed by some Muslim leaders for his provocative comments designed to appease the Muslims. Everything has back fired.
Keeping an eye on the Bihar poll, the Rajasthan government ruled by the Congress party at present, has through its Anti-terrorist-Squad filed a chargesheet in the Ajmer Dargah Blast Case of 2007. The Press has been deliberately misled that in the chargesheet Shri Indresh Kumar, a senior functionary of the RSS has been named to which both the electronic and the print media have been orchestrating without even confirming from the records as to what they had to say. In the chargesheet ‘Abhinav Bharat’ and the ‘Jai Vande Mataram’ two recently formed organisations and its members have been named as accused. Both these organisations have nothing to do with the RSS. One or two persons associated with these two organisations were having past connection with RSS but without any assigned responsibility at present. There is an effort to some how to drag the name of RSS in the chargesheet, perhaps to lend credence to a frivolous statement given by the Congress PM designate Rahul Gandhi, who equated the RSS with SIMI which is an anti-national and a rabid communal organisation having connection with the most abominable al-Qaida. The fact that the name of RSS appears at 12 places in the 806-page chargesheet could also be an effort to justify the irresponsible statement made by Chidambaram in the conference of Police DGs by coining a phrase ‘Saffron Terrorism’.
P Chidambaram, while addressing the Police chiefs from the states and other senior-most police officials from the Union Government in their annual conference in New Delhi on the August 25, 2010, preferred to coin a phrase to impress on the suspected involvement of some Hindu organisations in certain incidents of violence in which the victims were from the minority community.
“There is no let up in the attempts to radicalise young men and women in India. There has been a recent uncovered phenomenon of saffron terrorism that has been implicated in many bomb blasts in the past. My advice to you is that we must remain ever vigilant and continue to build, at both central and state level, our capacities in counter-terrorism,” Home Minister P Chidambaram told the top policemen.
In the past two years, organisations such as Abhinav Bharat, Rashtriya Jagran Manch, Jai Vande Mataram and Sanatan Sanstha have been implicated by the CBI, in blasts across the country that occurred in last three years.
Five people, allegedly linked to Hindutva outfits, were named in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case.
Key accused in the Ajmer Sharif Dargah blast, Sunil Joshi who was murdered subsequently is allegedly associated with the RSS and Ramji Kalsangra and Devendra Gupta are alleged to be former pracharaks in the RSS.
The 2008 Malegaon blasts threw up names of two masterminds—a serving army lieutenant colonel Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya Thakur—both linked to the Abhinav Bharat.
Goa blast in 2009 was blamed on Sanatan Sanstha, a group the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) wanted banned.
Samjhauta Express bomb attack.
By coining the phrase ‘Saffron Terrorism’ P Chidambaram has raised nationwide controversy as if terrorism has any colour. By associating the ‘saffron’ colour with terror is he not insulting the nationalist feelings of millions of Hindus, who are no way concerned about the politicisation exercise by the UPA government, by nailing Hindu suspects in primarily five major incidents, where the victims were largely from the Muslim community. Besides the general public among the Indians, by such frivolous and impetuous statements P Chidambaram is charged with injuring the feelings of die-hard Congressmen like Pranab Mukherjee, Digvijay Singh and a score of others who recall the philosophy behind choosing the saffron at the top of the tricolour national flag of independent India. The Congress Party has officially disapproved the coinage of the impugned phrase “Saffron Terrorism”. The immediate audience in the conference being seniormost IPS officers neither liked the statement nor subscribed to its contents as it is “too much of generalisation” and it is “more of a political statement rather than a professional one”.
P Chidambaram’s taking over as Union Home Minister from his predecessor Shivraj Patil was occasioned by the Mumbai tragedy in which Hemant Karkare along with two other police officers died. Hemant was the first IPS officer, who was engaged to prepare a make-believe story by the Congress government in Maharashtra and defame the Hindus of hatching terrorist attacks on minorities. Hemant Karkare (Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief) arrested Sadhvi Pragnya Singh and later through the most-controversial narco-tests manufactured and tutored the conspiracy story by associating retired as well as serving Army officials with some suspects having RSS background. Since Hemant Karkare, a careerist in the IPS was given a task to prepare a make-believe story was under tremendous mental stress, so much so that on that fateful night when the occasion came in his professional career to display his leadership qualities as a police officer, he miserably failed and died an ignominious death that reminded the IPS officers of another such incident in Kolkata in which Deepak Mehta of 1971 batch had also died. In contrast to these two tragic incidents one may recall the valiant death of Dhanbad SP Mr Verma of 1974 batch while combating with bank robbers at Dhanbad and that of Daulat Singh Negi of 1976 batch of the IPS who died a heroic death in an encounter with the ULFA. Hemant at the time of his imminent death was fully aware of the compulsions behind his assigned task of composing the story of ‘hindu terrorist’ group to equate with the Jehadi terrorists, who have been caught and invariably happened to be Muslims.
The Supreme Court has, meanwhile held the narco-test-based statements involuntarily obtained from the arrested suspects as unconstitutional and contrary to the basic principles of jurisprudence and ‘natural justice’. Some print media and also electronic media orchestrate in a systematic manner to defame the majority community in India by insisting on ‘Hindu Terrorism’ allegedly led by ‘Sangh Parivar’ and leaking out the ‘most secret’ findings of the investigating agencies like the state ATSs (Anti-Terrorism-Squads) and the CBI. Most prominent among these media are Tehelka, Frontline, The Hindu, Lokosatta and Headlines to-day, NDTV, CNN-IBN, News-24 TV channels. It could be a political game by the Congress-led UPA government to first rope in persons as suspects and then by use of third degree during custodial interrogation compel them to confess and get those corroborated with transcripts from narco-analysis conducted by gained-over unscrupulous medical officers like one in Bangalore who is now under suspension. Meanwhile, some pressmen in the TV channels and the English print-media are hired to orchestrate the leakage to gauge the public reaction. These are all but political gimmicks at the behest of the Congress party to win over the minority votes, which have gone to other political parties in UP and Bihar since 1990.
P Chidambaram made his first political debut, when Rajiv Gandhi included him in the Union Cabinet as a minister of state. Then Chidambaram had already an established public image as a reputed jurist with a tinge of ‘Harvard Scholar’ fame having a roaring practice in the Supreme Court as well as major High Courts in the country. His induction as Union Home Minister in 2008 though relieved the UPA government of an able Finance Minister with whom the Leftist partners in the coalition were very unhappy, yet assured the nation of an able Home Minister as contrasted with his predecessors like Shivraj Patil, Buta Singh etc who were known for their incompetence and inability for decision making. It was the credible leadership of Chidambaram that led the US Government and the UN Security Council to declare the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Harkat-ul-Jihad-Islami (HuJI) as terrorist organisation operating in India and responsible for Malegaon blasts, Samjhauta Express blast and the Mecca Masjid blast, Varanasi blast, Mumbai suburban trains blast and several others. Now with the politically-motivated coinage of the phrase ‘Saffron Terrorism’ is Chidambaram questioning the professionalism of the US and the international sleuths? The US investigation agencies have access to even Pakistan sources, but our Home Minister has based his statements on speculations and suspicions, while suddenly shifting the blame from the Pak-based LeT and Bangladesh-based HuJI to the Hindu terrorists in India. Both Chidambaram and the US version can not be true at the same time.
Persons who were initially arrested in connection with the incidents referred above and are still languishing behind the bar, if innocent, are the government not accused of injustice and harassing innocent persons. How could people not connected among them be arrested for the same event suspected to have been committed with ‘common intention’? The second question is just because ‘Muslims’ got killed in the incidents at Ajmer, Hyderabad and Malegaon; is it sufficient enough to suspect the perpetrators to be from among the majority Hindus? In that case all the people dying in Pakistan are Muslims and should we suspect non-Muslims as the killers and conspirators? The investigation agencies whether the ATS, the state CID, the CBI or the NIA comprise the same stuff of human elements in India, but supposed to be endowed with the professional skill to investigate cases. The suspects they arrest unless motivated by any other consideration, lead to the final detection of the case and in the trial the prosecution succeeds in nailing the accused with evidence as required under the law to prove beyond all reasonable doubts. What P Chidambaram has so far said is based on mere suspicion and most of the cases are not chargesheeted and substantiated yet. The serving officer from the Indian Army figuring in the Malegaon blast case as well as the Samjhauta Express blast case Lt Col SP Purohit is also suspected by the other co-accused as a planted man of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). His dubious association with the Abhinav Bharat elements finger at some ploy to implicate RSS-linked persons with some stories so as to sound credible through corroborative conversations initiated by Lt Col Purohit himself and those have been recorded by Hemant Karkare and given to Tehelka for publication and publicity. By hindsight one feels pity for late Hemant Karkare that he was subjected by his political bosses to concoct stories without any linking chain.
In order to be firm and impartial while dealing with a law and order situation, there was no need for P Chidambaram to disclose his disinclination towards the majority Hindus by branding them as ‘Saffron Terrorists’, who are already hurt and particularly the saffron coloured Hindu Sanths. In the judicial verdict the Hindus are certainly a party to the dispute and by such frivolous statement the Union Home Minister has already exposed the way, he would like the law and order machinery to handle the situation. The majority can not be cowed down by the government at the centre. Mishandling of the emerging situation might prove counter productive to the ruling alliance at the centre, because the unorganised majority might as well get organised for the event to counter a prejudiced centre in power. Already, we get indications from the Panchayat Poll results from Gujrat, whose Home Minister is being roped into the alleged murder case of a noted criminal.
Unless and until one is armed with solid proof, one should not indulge in branding a group of people as terrorists and that too by a responsible functionary in charge of the internal security of the country. P Chidambaram does not have any material in his kit to substantiate the charges. His own party has sidelined him while dismissing the coinage as unfounded. By such frivolous and unfounded statements is he not deflecting the attention from the real terrorism that is from the Maoist extremists? In India, the Jehadi terrorists from across the border can not succeed unless there is support from within. But Indian Muslims, who settled in India after Independence would like to lead a peaceful living with the majority Hindus, which is evident from the restraint they have displayed after the recent verdict on Ayodhya, despite so many provocations from the prominent Congress circles. The fighting of legal battles on political platforms has exposed the abortive designs in the recent Indresh Kumar imbroglio in which the Congress is on their back foot and the on-going controversy has sufficiently vindicated the RSS stand on the issue.
By Ashok Sahu
The writer is a former IPS Officer.