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Terror Tales
By Ram Puniyani

July 11, 2006, witnessed one of the worst disasters which the city of Mumbai has seen. In a series of explosions nearly 200 precious, innocents lives were lost in the senseless act of terror. This is the third major terrorist attack on this metropolis known for a modern and progressive profile. The first such attack was in the aftermath of Mumbai riots in which nearly thousand innocent lives were lost, majority of them Muslim. In the wake of Gujarat carnage four blasts shook the city and took the toll of several lives. This, latest one is again severe in its extent and various theses are going on about whodunit? The 1993 blasts were masterminded by the underworld in collaboration with local elements that were deeply hurt and mauled by the anti Muslim nature of the violence led by Shiva Sena and assisted by the local administration. While the accused of the blasts are rotting in jails for over a decade awaiting the judgment, those named in Shrikrishna report have neither been convicted nor are in jails. As a matter of fact several of them were promoted in status, like Bala Saheb Thackeray promoted himself to Hindu Hridaya Samrat (Emperor of Hindu hearts) and the R.D. Tyagi the one who led the killings of several Muslims in the Suleiman Bakery was promoted a few notches up.

The responsibility of post 2002 Gujarat genocide was taken by a group, Gujarat Muslim Revenge group, which came into being after the Gujarat genocide led by Modi. Incidentally here also while the blast accused are behind the bars, Modi has had a promotion to the much exalted status of Hindu Hriday Samrat II, with Mumbai's Balasaheb having the distinction of being the first one to assume this throne. Here again as the state itself was actively involved in the carnage, many a state officials have moved upwards like P.C. Pandey who was 'good' enough to act as per Modi?s bidding. In the present one various theories are floating, but nothing definitive has emerged, as only a non descript terrorist group has taken the responsibility of the same. While the major ones like Al Qaeda has expressed happiness over the tragedy without owning it, and some of them have expressed sorrow over the incident. The other suspect SIMI, the outlawed right wing Islamic students group has not issued any statement so far.

Before trying to understand the direction of needle of suspicion, it will be imperative to see the state of affairs in Gujarat after the carnage and also what has been happening here. After the carnage, Gujarat Muslims have been ghettoized to the worst possible level and the division in the society along communal lines has reached unimaginable proportions, where the prefix of Hindu and Muslim has to accompany before every persons name. The isolation and boycott of Muslims in social life is intense, the guilty of the carnage are roaming freely and even adequate and just compensation has not been paid to the victims. In Maharashtra, in a interior remote place called Nanded, two Bajrang dal activists were killed while making an explosive device and the diary with the bomb making tips was found on the location along with the artificial moustache and beard. The place belonged to an RSS sympathizer and saffron flag adorned the top of the house. After this, huge piles of explosives were detected in the nearby places and later three alleged terrorists were killed by the police in an encounter near the RSS head office in Nagpur. An investigation team under the chairmanship of a retired Judge of Mumbai High Court went into the matter facing the full hostility from the police, and came out with a report which pointed out several holes in the police version of the encounter. There was no eye witness to the act of police. As usual the necessary diary with the names and addresses of the ?terrorists? was found on the bodies of slain terrorist to ease the work of the police to identify the links of the terrorists. Lately, in Bhivandi, in the scuffle between police and local Muslim groups, who were opposing the police move to build a police station near or on the land of graveyard, led to the killing of two policemen and few Muslims. Shiv Sena was hyperactive in taking the cudgels against the Muslim leadership. Close on the heels of it, the Shiv Sainiks all over Maharashtra burnt buses and indulged in hooliganism, after the defilement of the statue of the wife of their supremo, Balsaheb Thackeray.

To build a conclusion from these antecedents is very difficult. For the investigating authorities all angels are important but the one related to Nanded blasts by RSS affiliates has been put under the carpet. While the civic society and social groups rose to the occasion to lend a helping hand to the victims of violence, by offering prayers for peace and the Muslim leadership went overboard to condemn the blasts. One can understand the hyper response of Muslim political and religious leadership in condemning this and meeting the state authorities to urge upon them not to harass the innocent Muslim youth as is the wont of the police for whom Muslim youth are equal to criminals and terrorists, and so no proof is needed to put them behind the bars. Incidentally it also comes as an easy option to prove that police are working.

For BJP this occasion is serving multiple purposes. On one hand it has got the opportunity to come out from the oblivion. This tragedy is being seen as an opportunity and the rallies are being organized against the terrorism. Who are they opposing, a faceless enemy, and an insane organization, which is already illegal. At such times the only possible message comes from a white ribbon or a rose. Also its accusation that lifting of POTA and soft policies of the UPA are responsible for the acts of terrorists hold no water as the nation has seen that the terror acts were no lesser when POTA was operative and when the NDA was ruling.

The reasons for such acts of terror are multiple. One can not be superficial to think that these are due to teachings of Islam and due to Muslims. This is what is being strengthened in the popular psyche by a section of media and the right wingers. There are people belonging to different religions operating on the terrain of terror, ULFA, Irish Republican Army, LTTE and too far back in time, the Khalistanis. As far as Muslims are concerned three major causes of terror involving them can be specifically pin pointed. One is the politics of control over oil wells, in pursuit of which the outfits like Al Qaeda were floated through the U.S.'s CIA. Even if this ghastly organization has outlived its original purpose of throwing out such Soviet armies from Afghanistan, such terror outfits are like cancerous growths, which begin from a irritating point and than even if the original purpose is no more in existence they perpetuate themselves in an uncontrolled way like a cancer. In this case the ideological indoctrination of a political need of U.S. in the language of Islam, i.e. Al Qaeda to fight against Soviet armies, has done immense harm to the Muslims all over the world.

The second one relates to the unresolved Kashmir issue, which superficially sounds to be the problem between Pakistan and India, or the one of Muslim separatism, but surely Pakistan itself has been small puppet in the hands of imperialists is forgotten most of the times. Many an institutions in Pakistan are supra government. So this should not come in the way of peace process. The third one can be divided into two parts, one is the insane thinking of a section of Muslims for taking the revenge of anti Muslim carnage in Mumbai and Gujarat. The two previous blasts in Mumbai showed in a clear-cut manner correlations to these episodes of violence. In the current one the additional aspect of Nanded blasts and their implications have to be thought of, more so in the light of the fact that Mumbai blasts did not use the dreaded RDX.

All said and done, at all times, one simple rule of punish the guilty and protect the innocent has to be the norm of state authorities. And revenge has no place in the democratic polity, so the upholders of Newton's action reaction have to be outlawed in moral and legal arena. The mandatory state behavior of implicating Muslim youth in these acts and making them suffer the long ordeals till the judgments comes is too harsh a punishment for belonging to a particular religion. The demonization of Muslims will be taken a few steps further by the some political streams and a section of media. These terrorists are the worst enemies of Islam and Muslims in general. While a section of RSS sympathizers argue that all Muslims are suspect as they give shelter to these terrorists, one has to recall that in Punjab, the average Sikh was not giving shelter to Sikh terrorists due to religious sameness but due to the threat of bullet piercing one?s chest. While saluting the civic society for its magnanimity in handling the post terror situation with grace, one hopes that political elements also wake up to the fact that demonizing the Muslims due to this will be against the teachings of saint tradition of Hinduism.