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Mainstream, Vol XLVI No 48

Disturbing Trends

Editorial

Sunday 16 November 2008, by SC

Lately there have been disturbing trends of communalisation of the polity. The “encounter” at Batla House in the Capital’s Jamia Nagar gave a vivid demonstration of the manner in which organs of state power are targetting a particular community thereby engendering widespread resentment and even anger among large sections of the people.

The constituents of the Sangh Parivar have been over-active in this game of stereotyping a specific minority community by going to the extent of even suggesting, sometimes overtly but mostly covertly, that terrorism in this country was basically the handiwork of members of that community. They also want POTA to be used against those whom they brand as terrorists. Today with the probe into the Malegaon blast of September 29 (that killed six persons while injuring 90) having exposed the role of saffron terrorists, these stalwarts of Hindutva (who do not tire of accusing the PM and the entire UPA leadership of being “soft of terror”) have been forced to adopt a defensive posture.

On November 8 Gujarat CM Narendra Modi said in Rajnandgaon that Army officers were being branded terrorists by the UPA leaders. On November 12 BJP chief Rajnath Singh warned in Raipur that the “Congress Government’s” attempts to frame Hindu religious leaders (as terrorists) is causing resentment among Hindus across the nation”. Both need to be made aware that a person resorting to terrorism has no religion; and if the person happens to be in the military service he forfeits his right to be a member of the armed force in that eventuality. The fact is that Hindu extremists have been found to be indulging in terrorist acts and regrettably serving and retired Army officers have also been charged with such serious offences. If meticulous probe is unmasking them they cannot be defended by anyone. Yet it is a matter of shame that the BJP President went out of his way to aggressively defend such persons (not only did he give a clean chit to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in the Malegaon terror act, but also declared that those subscribing to the idea of “cultural nationalism” can never be terrorists).

Saffron communalists have a fascist proclivity. This was best illustrated during the Gujarat carnage of 2002. The latest attack on Prof S.A.R. Geelani in Delhi University (organised by the BJP’s student wing, the ABVP) bears the stamp of such a tendency. In the name of fighting terrorism they are out to destroy the fabric of our pluralism and composite culture.

Now that the hollowness of their anti-terrorist propaganda has been exposed before the public at large they are coming out in their true colours. And this is happening at a time when influential Muslim organisations have openly denounced terrorism following the fatwa issued by Darul Uloom Deoband on May 31 declaring terrorism as un-Islamic. However, the Sangh Parivar’s statements and activities can infuse strength to the fanatic fringe among the minorities.

On the occasion of Jawaharlal Nehru’s 119th birth anniversary this week let us take the solemn pledge to defeat the forces seeking to divide the country on grounds of religion and creed. That would be the best tribute to the memory of the architect of modern India who tirelessly championed the cause of democracy, secularism and pluralism throughout his life braving the heaviest of odds.

November 13 S.C.

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