By Sajjad Shaukat
Since the US started global war against terrorism, after the 9/11 tragedy, various political experts have opined that as part of the insurgency, terrorism comes in a variety of forms such as religious terrorism, secular terrorism and so on.
Bruce Hoffman, in his book ‘Inside Terrorism’ writes: “For the religious terrorist, violence is the foremost divine duty executed in direct response to some demand or imperative.”
Hoffman further explains, “The secular terrorist sense leads to a sanctioning of almost limitless violence against a virtually open-ended category of targets.”
Although modern insurgency or terrorism has many meanings, but its main aim is to create fear in order to achieve political or social ends, while a terrorist is one who deliberately creates this climate of fear by employing violent means.
Judging in these terms, either it is religious terrorism or secular terrorism, or any form of insurgency, India which claims to be a secular state, has broken all the records of violence, genocide and massacre against various ethnic and religious groups, entailing the community of its own lower castes.
While, the Constitution declares India to be a secular state, granting equal rights to the religious minorities, but in practice ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) prevails. Hindu politics and culture, dominated by the fundamentalists parties such as BJP, RSS, VHP, Shiv Sena and other similar groups have been propagating Hindutva. Provocative utterances of their extremist leaders have resulted into unending violence against the Muslim and Christians including other minority groups.
It is notable that in 1992, a large crowd of Hindu Karsevaks (volunteers) in accordance with a preplanned scheme of the Indian high officials entirely demolished the 16th-century Babri Masjid (mosque) to reclaim the land known as RAM Janmabhoomi–birthplace of the god. The destruction of the Babri Masjid sparked Muslim outrage around the country, provoking several months of inter-communal rioting between Hindu and Muslim communities, causing the death of at least 2,000 people, majority of whom were Muslims.
Besides previous massacre of Muslims, more than 2500 Muslims were massacred in 2002 in the BJP-ruled Indian state of Gujarat. Regarding that massive genocide, both Human Rights Watch in 2002 and Amnesty International in 2003 charged the “Gujarat state administration” for involvement in “a massive cover-up of the state’s role in that massacres” and pointed out numerous police officials-specifically ministers, high officials and leaders of the VHP, BJP and Bajrang Dal as participants.
Similarly, in the recent years, assaults on Christians, their churches and property have been executed by the Hindu mobs in various cities of India. In this context, at least 100 Christians have been assassinated by Hindu extremists, mostly in the state of Orissa.
In Maharashtra, non-Hindu communities have lived in constant fear and awe since the advent of the fundamentalist party, Shiv Sena whose Chief Bal Thackeray (The late) has organized army of hoodlums to beat up any religious minority, openly directing the Hindu terrorists to loot and stone any of their shop or house. Lack of serious action by the subsequent governments against Shiv Sena’s vandalism has clearly defeated the secular echoes of India which is in fact a secular terrorist state.
As regards the forced conversions, Bajrang Dal, an offshoot of the RSS, converted at least 57 Muslim families (200 people) into Hindus at a ‘Purkhon Ki Ghar Vapsi’ (Coming home of the ancestors) ceremony in Agra, Uttar Pradesh.
Previously, in early September 2014, Christians were also forcefully converted to Hindus which created unrest among Christian clergy. Three months ago, a similar event in Aligarh saw Christian families converting to Hinduism. BJP is trying to portray the event as wishful conversions; however, since installment of BJP government in the center, RSS and its offshoots have accelerated their efforts for minorities’ conversion into Hindus.
Regarding Hindu insurgency, it is of particular attention that on November 7, 2011, leader of the VHP, Pravin Togadia, in his furious speech questioned the past of Muslims and Christians, and further gave a call to Hindus to capture the Islamic holy places in Arab and Vatican of Europe.
And, since 1989, Indian military troops have been employing every possible tactic of state terrorism and ethnic cleansing to disturb the majority population of Kashmiris. During and after the so-called elections, intermittent curfews, crackdowns and massacre of the innocent Kashmiri people by the Indian security forces keep on going to crush the war of liberation of the Kashmiris. Moreover in the recent years, discovery of thousands of unmarked graves of the innocent Muslims who were killed by the Indian security forces in the fake encounters in the occupied Kashmir etc. might be cited as another instance in this respect.
It is noteworthy that on January 20, 2013, Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde confessed the nexus between BJP and the RSS, disclosing that organized training camps run by these fundamentalist parties were promoting Hindu terrorism. They also revealed that these parties were behind the Samjhauta Express, Meccca Masjid and Malegaon blasts including Gujarat and Babri Masjid incidents.
In fact, Hinduvta agenda enabled BJP hardliner, Narendra Modi to get a land sliding triumph in the Indian elections 2014 and become the prime minister of India. Muslim anxiety in India is multiplying due the fact that during the election campaign, Hindu majority was mobilized on ‘hate Muslim’ slogans. Hence, Modi regime is likely to target and persecute Muslims in India.
However, as part of anti-Muslim move of the BJP including other Hindu extremist parties, Indian Prime Minister Modi is giving impetus to Hindu chauvinism. Encouraged by the election-victory of the BJP, on May 28, 2014, in a provocative act to disturb communal harmony in India, Rashtriya Hindu Andolan, a little known Mangalore-based Hindutva outfit and activists from various right wing groups organized a protest in Mangalore in front of the office of Deputy Commissioner by demanding the authorities to ban the morning Muslim call to prayer (Azan) across the country.
Nevertheless, under the mask of democracy and secularism, Indian subsequent regimes dominated by politicians from the Hindi heartland—Hindutva have been using brutal force ruthlessly against any move to free Assam, Kashmir, Khalistan, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu and Tripura where wars of independence continue in one or the other form. In the recent years, Maoists intensified their struggle, attacking official installments in the major Indian cities.
Undoubtedly, India is witnessing increased incidents of violence and killings related to communal violence, insurgencies and terrorism. However, such incidents are not covered with the requisite sensitivity and impartiality by the international media, as it will project security weaknesses and failures of Indian government in curbing insurgent tendencies and problems of the public.
It is expected that mass conversions of Muslims and Christians minorities at the hands of extremist Hindu organization RSS and other extremist groups will further give impetus to weakening of Indian secular outlook. It is highly likely that incidents related to conversions may also be extended a muted response by the international media.
As compared to India, any terrorist incident happening in Pakistan is covered and commented by international media in a way that projects Pakistan negatively. In fact, Western media is showing duplicity and hypocrisy regarding insurgency or terrorism in the Sub-continent. While, silence of the Western World including their media on various terror-related incidents and developments inside India have been encouraging Indian top officials and fundamentalist Hindus to continue their acts of terrorism in intimidating other ethnic and religious communities.
It is the right hour that the West must abandon its double standard by taking appropriate steps against glaring human rights violations by the Indian security forces and Hindu terrorists. Otherwise, Hindu terrorists may cause World War 111 or clash of civilizations.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations