People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXII

No. 46

November 23, 2008

 

BJP Defending Terror Practitioners

Prakash Karat


THE BJP has come out in support of Pragya Thakur and Lt Col Purohit who are being investigated in the Malegaon blast case. L K Advani is the latest leader to demand that a judicial enquiry be instituted to probe the charges of torture by Pragya Thakur; he also demanded that the ATS team investigating the case be changed. Earlier on October 31, Advani had told reporters that if Pragya Thakur were found guilty, she should be punished. He went on to say that she has nothing to do with the BJP and if anyone from any Sangh outfit were found guilty of any crime, that person should be brought to book.

This changed stance of Advani follows what the BJP president Rajnath Singh has been saying. Rajnath Singh has declared that Hindu religious leaders are being targeted. At the RSS-VHP sponsored meeting of sadhus in Panipat on November 16, Rajnath Singh shared the platform with the RSS chief Sudharshan, the VHP president Ashok Singhal and the VHP sadhus. In this meeting, Rajnath Singh stated that the BJP would take to the streets if Hindu religious leaders continued to be maligned. The RSS has dictated that those accused in the Malegaon bomb blast should be defended, otherwise the whole campaign against Islamic terrorism would fall flat. That is why, after the initial hesitation, the BJP has come out openly supporting the likes of Pragya Thakur and Lt Col Purohit.


THREAT TO BJP PLATFORM

The campaign being launched by the RSS and its outfits was spelt out in the Panipat meeting: Hindu religious figures are being targeted by the Maharashtra government and the UPA so that “Hindu” terrorism can be propagated. Pragya Thakur and Purohit are being falsely accused by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) which is acting under the instructions of the government. The army is being maligned by false allegations against a serving officer. Hindus cannot be terrorists and therefore no Hindutva organisation is capable of terror.

The reason why the BJP leadership has adopted the dangerous posture of defending those being investigated for practising terror, and is constructing a false set of arguments to support this stance, must be understood.

The BJP has been relentlessly conducting a ‘campaign against terrorism’ by alleging that the UPA government is soft on terror because of minority appeasement. It has been alleging that the secular parties are unwilling to take firm steps against terror because they want to protect their Muslim vote banks. The ‘anti-terrorist campaign’ of the BJP and the Hindutva outfits have targeted the Muslim community. But though the BJP integrated the issue of terrorism into its Hindu communal platform and targeted the Muslim community for all the terror attacks in India, the ATS investigation into the Malegaon blast threatens to explode this carefully constructed communal platform.

That is why the earlier reasonable reaction of L K Advani --- that if there were proof against anyone from the Sangh Parivar outfits, he or she should be punished --- got transformed into a stance that no one from a Hindutva organisation can be investigated for terrorist offences.

By adopting the stand that no pro-Hindutva person can be guilty of terrorist activities, the BJP has now landed itself in a position of defending a fake shankaracharya like Dayanand Pandey. Why is the BJP unwilling to wait for the completion of the investigations into the Malegaon blasts and other related terrorist incidents?

The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate was being disingenuous in disowning the use of the term Muslim terror when he declared in Chandigarh that “we have never used terms like Sikh terrorism and Muslim terrorism.” The October 27editorial of the People’s Democracy has cited a resolution recently adopted by the RSS all-India executive, titled “Curb Islamic Terrorism with an Iron Hand.” And another BJP leader, Kalyan Singh, made the infamous remark some time back that “Let us not be shy of saying that all terrorists are Muslims.” In all, the Sangh Parivar has thus sought all along to put the blame of terrorism on the door of the Muslim community.

There is no such thing as Islamic terrorism or Hindu terrorism, though in India there is definitely the phenomenon of certain extremist elements from within the Muslim community resorting to terrorist activities --- just as there are extremists within the Hindu community who are practicing terror. The claim that no Hindu is involved in any terrorist activity is as untenable as the claim that no Muslim is involved in the terrorist attacks. One variety of terrorism in India is directly linked to the pernicious effects of communalism. Representing a particularly vicious brand of communalism, the RSS is as responsible for sowing the seeds of the politics of terror in India as is an extremist organisation belonging to the minority community. India has also witnessed terrorism due to ethnic and regional chauvinism. In the North East, the ULFA is one such organisation which has conducted terrorist blasts in Assam.

Motivated by the Hindutva ideology, the BJP had sought to straitjacket all forms of terrorist violence under the rubric of “Islamic terrorism.” Now that the evidence in the Malegaon blasts of September 2008 is getting linked to the facts of the 2006 Nanded blast in which two Bajrang Dal men were killed while making bombs, the BJP-RSS combine’s stance on terrorism has got fatally wounded. It is no more possible to deny the Hindutva antecedents of those who set up the “Abhinav Bharat” organisation or the role played by the RSS sponsored Bhonsala Military School.

The stereotyping of Islamic terrorism has been facilitated by the role of the state machinery and investigative agencies. If the 2006 Nanded blasts had been properly investigated and its links exposed, some of the later attacks could have been curbed and needless persecution of innocent Muslims (as in the Mecca Masjid case) avoided. The BJP and the RSS are now mounting pressure to call off the investigations into the widening circle of Hindutva linked elements. This should be firmly rebuffed. It is all the more important, therefore, to ensure that the whole truth behind the extremist Hindutva network is uncovered by efficient investigation and all the culprits brought to trial.

A rational political party would have taken the stand that certain rogue elements within the Hindutva fold could have resorted to such terrorist violence and disowned them. But the RSS cannot allow the BJP to do so. It is an organisation wedded to not only spreading hatred against the minorities but one which believes in the cult of the bomb. Only a few days ago, the police in Kerala recovered 125 bombs from RSS hideouts in Kannur district. Pogroms against minorities by the Bajrang Dal in places like Kandhamal are openly defended. From the platforms of the RSS-VHP, speeches are made justifying retaliatory attacks against Muslim terrorism --- in the presence of BJP chief ministers.

By adopting the RSS stand wholesale, the BJP is now liable to the charge of undermining the fight against terrorism, of being soft on terror, precisely for protecting its Hindutva mentors and for weakening the state agencies which should impartially investigate all acts of terror, whatever be their source.