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Tolerating Terrorism
11/26/2008
By Ram Puniyani

Things have been changing by the day on the issue of terrorism investigation since the proof of Sadhvi Prgya Singh Thakur's involvement in the Malegaon blast has come to the surface. So far the word Islamic terrorism has been in the air in the post 9/11 phase when the US administration ensured that media takes up this new word and propagates it. The social common sense that 'all terrorists are Muslims' went to such a pass that many a lawyers taking up the cases of terror suspects were not only  beaten up but also some of the Bar Associations passed the resolutions, contrary to their own professional ethics, that they will not take up the cases of the terror suspects. The basic adage that one is innocent till proved guilty was turned upside down. The legal aid to many of these suspects was meager if at all.

Matters change with Sadhvi being arrested by the Maharashtra ATS. The RSS associates, VHP, Shiv Sena rushed to put together the team of lawyers to stand for the terror accused. The Shiv Sena is calling a bandh in support of Pragya and Co. We are hearing strange arguments; Hindus can't be terrorists as it is not in their genes. This statement also subtly hinted that terrorism is in the genes of 'some' other community. But lets be clear terrorism is not a genetic problem, it is due to social, political and economic reasons.

It was stated that Maharashtra Government is doing all this at the behest of the Government, reducing all investigations to being merely politically motivated one. Not that these things don't happen but one has also to see that in the prevailing situation where the social mind set accepts the formulation that 'all terrorists are Muslims', to suspect a non Muslim will require more than a mere grain of truth to venture and touch any non Muslim and that too one with divine robe adorning on one's body or the one wearing the green fatigues of army with its holy cow image. Logically no officer in the right frame of mind can even dare think of such a move unless impeccable evidence is there.

In pre-Sadhvi period of terrorism RSS affiliates accused the Congress of being soft on terrorism, in turn encouraging terrorism. They came up with the formulation that they will provide a Government with Zero tolerance for terrorism, meaning a total high handed ness in case of terror accused. Now the matters stand turned upside down and no question of zero tolerance for terror accused, special efforts are being made to ensure that popular pressure is built up to save the likes of Sadhvi, Acharya or Lt Col. Not only that, the issue is being communalized and many right wing political parties are offering the accused the tickets for the forthcoming elections. At the same time propaganda is launched that the holy person like sadhvi is being targeted for political reasons or that the noble institution of army is being sullied by the Congress Government. Both these are baseless as the investigation seems to be proceeding with extreme caution and the leads provided by Sadhvi's motor cycle, used in Malegaon blasts is being pursued meticulously. 

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and the Lt Col. Prasad Purohit have alleged that they were tortured in the police custody. A major morning newspaper reports that the training camp conducted by Abhinav Bharat, instructed the trainees that in order to deflect the investigation, all should be done to implicate the investigation authorities themselves. So one does not know whether they were tortured or they have been tutored to say so. One waits with baited breath for the real truth to come out. It goes without saying that torture of accused in police custody is not a matter of surprise, it must be condemned and there is no place for compromising with the human rights of accused, who so ever one is. One will condemn the authorities if the torture of Sadhvi and company has taken place.

So far no one from RSS affiliates talked of human rights of accused. Now this section is talking that the terror accused are being tortured and that their human rights are being violated. One must ensure the truth behind this. While police is capable of using its usual arms twisting methods to extort confession, one will doubt if the police can dare touch a saffron robed sadhvi or green uniformed Lt Col. Let the inquiry decide, whether it is a genuine complaint or a ploy to deflect the investigation.

One interesting aside to the investigation of acts of terror is that so far during last few years, the Muslim youth were caught hold of after every terror attack, for a couple of days the media was abuzz with the same news and then once they were produced in the court for the lack of evidence many of them were quietly let off. This part was generally not in the news. While a wrong person is accused, that person does suffer all the humiliation etc, the additional point is that because of this the real culprit merrily keeps planning the further things. And that seems to be the case. As despite the leads provided by Nanded blasts, where two Bajrang Dal workers were killed while making bomb. Despite this the other acts of terror were not investigated on this line, so one after the other the tragedy kept happening. Hopefully with this the further blasts will be arrested in the tracks.

Overall the logic of the events as unfolding makes it clear that the RSS affiliates have been caught with their pants down. How so ever much they deny the ideological and organizational difference, it seems that there is lot of proof to point the finger towards the Abhinav Bharat and ex workers of ABVP as a part of the plot of Malegaon blasts, Ajmer blasts and Samjhauta express blasts. The proximity of the accused to many a top brass of the organizations is being reported day in and day out.

To deflect from the issue a campaign has been started to defame the ATS, the Mahrashtra Government and even the Sonia Gandhi. Rumors are being spread that these are the one's who are framing and torturing the accused. One is amazed at the double standards of those saying this. Till yesterday when the police was blindly apprehending the Muslim youth for all these crimes, especially police was being cheered for the investigation. In the aftermath of Ahmedabad blasts and the series of bombs found in Surat, hanging on trees and all that, Modi took the credit for showing the way to deal with terrorism. Now with his own ideological associates accused in the acts of terror, another type of offensive has been launched to wriggle out of the situation. One hopes that truth alone will prevail and guilty, irrespective of their religion, holiness, and military uniform are given punishment for the suffering they have inflicted on the nation.