People's Democracy

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


No. 37

September 21 , 2008



                                                                                                                Unite To Defeat Terror

IT is indeed very unfortunate that when the country needs to unite to combat the fresh wave of terrorist attacks, the saffron brigade is hell bent to prove that the anti-Christian violence first in Orissa, then in Karnataka, and now spilling over to Kerala is a significant part of its nationwide hate campaign. Even when the attacks on churches, prayer houses and other Christian institutions in the Kandhamal district of Orissa were continuing, violence was unleashed against the Christian minority in Karnataka with great ferocity. Starting from the southern coastal districts of South Kannada, Udupi and Chikmagaloor, the wave of well-planned attacks has now reached Mangalore.

The systematically planned nature of these attacks on a Sunday morning, with each attack launched within 15 minutes of the preceding one, is clearly intended to strike terror in the Christian minority in the state.

Now the various arms of the saffron brigade do not even try to camouflage their role in these attacks. Following the example of other terrorist outfits, initially the Bajrang Dal even owned the responsibility of the attacks. A feeble attempt was then made to justify the violence as a spontaneous reaction to conversions and to the murder of a VHP leader, Lakshmananand in Orissa.

It was not surprising that the BJP-dominated administration of Karnataka was either actively conniving in or was a silent spectator to this orgy of violence. It became more than obvious when the Karnataka government decided to act --- it arrested hundreds of protesting victims, dragged them out of prayer houses and threatened them with dire consequences, while the perpetrators of violence were treated with kid gloves. The BJP chief minister has rejected the demand for a judicial enquiry. In all the states ruled by the BJP --- Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and now Karnataka --- the Christian minority, along with the Muslims, is already being treated as second-class citizens.

Just a week before the current spate started in Karnataka, notices were issued to Christian institutions which were protesting against the Orissa violence, and punitive action was threatened. Such actions of the state government only emboldened the lumpen saffron brigade.

It is not the first time that attacks have been unleashed against the Christians in Karnataka. The attacks on the Christian minority in Karnataka were first mounted when the BJP was a partner in a coalition government with the JD(S). It was then that Karnataka witnessed the violence against minorities with the administration's connivance first in Mangalore and then in Bangalore. The BJP had thus, in this southern state, already vitiated the atmosphere through its hate campaign on the Hubli Idgah and Budangiri shrine issues.

Not surprisingly, these attacks have come in the aftermath of the BJP national executive meeting in Bangalore, which has unveiled its communal agenda for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. The attacks on the Christian minority are a part of this strategy. The most dangerous message that is being sent out by the BJP-ruled states is that the minorities cannot expect a just and equal treatment a citizens. This creates the most fertile ground for the terrorists of all hues.

It is becoming obvious that reliance only on tough terror laws is not going to curb terrorism. It needs to be repeated once again that when POTA adorned the statute books, terrorist attacks took place on the parliament, Red Fort, the Raghunath temple (J&K) and Akshardham temple in Gujarat. Clearly, it is not the inadequacy of the law that is preventing the needed fight against terror but the lack of resolute will and determination to fight terrorism unitedly. It is this necessary unity that the saffron brigade disrupts with its rabid communal agenda.

One should also not ignore the terrorist activity that is being indulged in by various outfits of the saffron brigade. The blasts in Nanded, then the Thane-Vasi blasts, and the latest ones in Kanpur need to be investigated with full vigour. It is clear that terrorism has no particular religious affiliation. The UPA government can effectively tackle terrorism only by adhering to this reality.

There is no gainsaying that we have to defeat terrorism, expose and cut off all its external links and eliminate the terror network. It is of utmost necessity that the intelligence and security apparatus be urgently beefed up and all lapses be identified and eliminated. It is also necessary for achieving success in this battle against terrorism that all citizens in the country, especially the minorities and weaker sections, are treated equally. They need to be assured that they can depend on the administration for just and fair treatment. Eliminating terrorism requires that we strengthen the democratic and secular character of the Indian State.

Those who are weakening the democratic and secular character of the Indian State --- like the Sangh Parivar is doing --- are not fighting terrorism in real terms but only promoting the vote bank politics. The attacks on the Christian minority in Karnataka, a day after the Delhi terror blasts, do not portend well for an effective fight against terror. One important prerequisite of fighting terrorism is that we defeat the hate politics of the Sangh Parivar.