Nitish’s Vote- Bank Politics

In December 2012, Chief Minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar visited Pakistan. The fact that the main perpetrator of 26/11 attacks, Hafiz Saeed, is being treated as a ‘national hero’ did not deter Nitish Kumar and various other delegations from India to Pakistan. Those political leaders keen to visit Pakistan have all but abandoned any pretense of even a modicum of empathy for the victims of Mumbai attacks. Are the jihadi terrorists therefore only based in Pakistan?

I am at loss to fathom the reasons for Nitish Kumar to undertake a tour to a country with which Bihar shares no borders. Did he go to Pakistan to learn lessons of ‘secularism’? Did he visit Pakistan to elicit Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) or was the purpose to get ‘special package’ (Vishesh Rajya Darza) from the federal authorities, based in Islamabad? The plausible reason could be ‘special package of vote-bank’. If going to Pakistan were to enhance vote banks then the idea of Indian nation state is over.

In an interview to a TV channel, the Chief Minister implied that following LK Advani’s commentary on Jinnah during his visit to latter’s mausoleum in Karachi, the latter’s secular credentials could not be doubted. At this juncture, it will be worthwhile to briefly recount why Jinnah wanted Pakistan. On March 23, 1940, Jinnah, in his address to the Lahore Session of the All India Muslim League, said: “We are a nation of a hundred million, and what is more, we are a nation with our distinctive culture and civilization, language and literature, art and architecture, names and nomenclature, sense of value and proportion, legal laws and moral codes, customs and calendar, history and tradition, aptitude and emotions; in short we have our own distinctive outlook on life and of life. By all canons of international law, we are a nation.”

Now look at the abysmal level of religious discourse that Jinnah entertained. Mrs KL Rallia Ram, an Indian Christian, founder of Indian Social Congress, who supported the cause of Pakistan, wrote to Jinnah on September 22, 1946, from Lahore: “I wish you can also win over Sikhs. But the difficulty is that the Hindus are trying their level best to keep the Sikhs to themselves to fight their battles with Muslims. Hindus are morally and physically a coward race and so they want Sikhs to act as their militia. Do you know that 4000 Hindus left Murree two days before when somebody gave out that Muslims would create trouble.”

In the same interview, the Chief Minister boasted about Imran Khan’s laudatory comments about Bihar’s developmental model. It is yet another matter that Imran Khan is yet to prove his mettle in governance. His politics has been absolutely communal and undemocratic even by Pakistan’s standards. Both he and Nawaz Sharif partnered with the most rabid fundamentalist parties /organisations during the recent general elections. The relatively secular parties like the Pakistan’s People’s Party (PPP) and the Awami National Party (ANP), particularly the latter, were so intimidated that most of their supporters chose life over votes. The leader of the ANP said that while other parties were counting votes, we were counting dead bodies. Imran’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has formed government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) Province with the support of radical outfit Jamat-e-Islami.

With this kind of untimely, uncalled and illogical romance with Pakistan, is it surprising that the northern parts of Bihar are emerging as the stronghold of the ISI-backed terrorists outfits? The culprit of the most obnoxious and provocative act of kicking the ‘Jai Jawan Memorial’ in Mumbai was finally traced to the same region.

The apathy of politicians is not only confined to the victims of jihadi terrorism. The Bihar Chief Minister continued with his political yaatra even as a passenger train was attacked by the Maoists. To top it all, he chose to give ‘political interviews’ to a series of television channels on a day when thousands were reported dead and several thousands were oscillating between life and death in Uttarakhand. A substantial number, including one of the former cabinet colleagues of the Chief Minister, were from Bihar. At least 30 per cent were still battling death. If this is politics and political acumen, shame on our parliamentary democracy!

What was Osama bin Laden to the Americans, Hafiz Saeed is to India. Only a few days ago, the Punjab government in Pakistan, headed by Shahbaz Sharif (Nawaz Sharif’s brother) announced a grant-in-aid of Rs.61 million in the current fiscal to Hafiz Saeed’s Markaz-e-Taiba, ostensibly for setting up a knowledge park. The said organisation was rechristened after the UN Security Council designated Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), a front organisation of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) in the wake of Mumbai attacks. The funding to the LeT, which is an armed organ of the ISI, is no more covert but open.

The common Indian is befuddled about the flirtation of the Indian establishment with Hafiz Saeed. The Home Minister alludes to him as ‘Hafiz Sahab’, a delegation of Hurriat leaders are given visa to confabulate with him, and brazenly in Pakistan Hafiz Saeed is allowed to share dais with Yaseen Malik, another separatist leader! No questions are asked about this from Malik.

Was America wrong in targeting Osama bin Laden and are we right in indulging with the perpetrators of 26/11? This is for the Prime Minister to answer because he knows both the American establishment and the Indian establishment equally well.

Why are some of our politicians so afraid of Hafiz Saeed? Does he blackmail them? Was he used for staging 26/11 in a bid to balance jihadi terror with so-called ‘Hindu terror’? Ajmal Kasab’s love for life probably spoilt the script!

Why the desperate emphasis on Ishrat Jahan, an established LeT operative? At whose behest? The desperation could not have been more indicative than that in the CBI summoning a special director of IB for questioning. The job of intelligence officials is to disseminate intelligence to designated consumers and it is done after a thorough internal appraisal and vetting process. This development is unprecedented in independent India and, hereafter, the apolitical character of intelligence organisations will be in question.

In yet another case of the Malegaon blast in 2006, the investigation of the Maharastra ATS and the CBI has been nearly overturned by the NIA. As a consequence, all the nine accused are clamouring for release from prison on the grounds that NIA has already labeled the incident as the handiwork of so-called ‘Hindu terrorists’. Will NIA now prosecute the CBI and the Maharashtra ATS?

B Raman, inarguably India’s best intelligence analyst, had decried the creation of the non-existent phenomenon called ‘Hindu terror’. In an article, where he disabused this fabrication, he was visited by some most unsavory comments. Some of the respondents went on to the extent of labeling him as a BJP ideologue looking for sinecures in case the party came to power. A completely distraught Raman blogged that he was in terminal stages of cancer and the only sinecure was the ‘inevitable’. Raman departed for the heavenly abode on June 16, 2013.

CBI versus IB, NIA versus CBI and ATS—the country’s intelligence apparatus is being wrecked not by external forces, but by inimical forces from within.

The ISI has been funding politicians earlier. In the intelligence circles the identity of these politicians is very well known. Has the ISI found new recruits?

By RSN Singh

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