Hindutva: Ugly defence of the indefensible
When someone takes to offence as a form of defence of the unjustifiable, the outcome turns nasty. The Bharatiya Janata Party, which was on the political offensive over the last decade on an anti-Islamist terrorism plank, is clearly shaken by the revelations of the role of extremist Hindutva elements in the Malegaon bomb explosions and some other terrorist attacks. As news broke of the alleged involvement of Sadhvi Pragnya Singh Thakur in the bomb blasts, BJP leaders first tried to distance themselves from her. On October 30, party president Rajnath Singh said he was embarrassed to find that he had been photographed with her. The next day the party’s prime-minister-in-waiting, L.K. Advani, took the politically correct stand that the sadhvi should be punished if found guilty. All this changed quickly enough with the Hindutva command centre, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, deciding to back her to the hilt. Mr. Singh went over the top, claiming that those who believed in “cultural nationalism” — a euphemism for the sangh parivar’s highly toxic communal politics — could never take to terror and voicing his suspicion of a frame-up. But more significantly, the heavyweight Mr. Advani spelt out a new line, condemning the “barbaric treatment” of a “spiritual person,” seeking a judicial probe into her dramatised allegations of torture, and assailing “the manner in which unsubstantiated allegations have been made against serving Army personnel [Lt. Col. Shrikant Purohit].” No one can miss the irony of such statements coming from the top leaders of a party that has tried to position itself as India’s foremost adversary of terrorism. Indeed the BJP, which attacked the Jamia Millia Islamia’s offer of legal assistance to two Muslim students accused of involvement in bomb blasts, now has no qualms about supporting alleged terrorists of the saffron kind. Every accused is constitutionally entitled to legal assistance but political support to those accused of serious crimes, especially terrorist acts, is an entirely different matter. Clearly, the BJP’s stance on Malegaon has nothing to do with the principle that a person must be presumed innocent unless proved guilty. It is a stance of blanket opposition to the law of the land bringing to justice sangh parivar elements accused of terrorist crimes. The double standard aside, the BJP is guilty of seeking to politicise, pressure, and derail the legal investigation of the Malegaon explosions and the conspiracy behind them by Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad. It is particularly shocking that Mr. Advani, a former Union Home Minister, going on nothing but the hysterical words of an accused, charged the ATS with being politically motivated and unprofessional in its investigation. The parivar has a track record of applauding the ATS whenever it acted against alleged Islamist terrorists. Blinded by its communal agenda, the main opposition party has gone dangerously over the top in the cause of Hindutva.
BJP & terrorism
The article “BJP and the challenge of terrorism” (Nov. 19) effectively exposed the Bharatiya Janata Party’s dual policy on terrorism. The disclosures on the alleged involvement of Sadhvi Pragnya Thakur and others in the Malegaon blasts and the party’s reaction have unmasked the BJP. They have helped people realise that the Hindutva brigade is not the true representative of Hindus. Its proponents are Nathuram Godses at heart and hide their vicious faces behind the masks of Hinduism and cultural nationalism. The Anti-Terrorism Squad has conclusively unveiled the saffron terror agenda.
The BJP is making futile attempts to defend the indefensible. Even as it summarily condemns jihadi terror, it unabashedly condones Hindutva terror citing non-existent extenuating circumstances. The heinousness of terrorist attacks remains the same in all cases, notwithstanding the dissimilar political or religious affiliations of the perpetrators. The future of the country is at stake. For its sake, the BJP should abandon its sectarianism and monopolistic patriotism.
G. David Milton,
The alleged involvement in crime of persons expected to be preaching religion and peace, and armymen guarding the national borders is really shocking. Making wild accusations against the government and investigating agencies is no way to control damage. The BJP should face the truth and take corrective steps.
HyderabadIt is a pity that BJP leaders view the Malegaon blasts as a political issue, not as a matter of national concern. Their hasty reaction to the arrests exposes how inadequate they are to tackle terrorism in a balanced and comprehensive manner. Will our politicians grow up to the situation, act like statesmen and put an end to the growing menace of terrorism?
BJP president Rajnath Singh’s statement that his party will defend the Malegaon blasts accused raises a few questions. Does he have no faith in the criminal justice system? Why doesn’t he wait for the law to take its course without passing a judgment? Is he or is he not keen on bringing those responsible for the killing of innocent citizens to justice? Or, is it his case that only those who belong to the opposite camp should be proceeded against? Does he know that a leader needs to exhibit qualities of fairness, tolerance and honesty?
The BJP’s stand — if it is Muslims, the burden of proof of innocence should be on the accused and therefore POTA must be revived but for Hindu accused, the presumption of innocence must apply — has been thoroughly exposed.
Abdul Rasheed Qureshi,
Terrorism is serious, whether Islamist or Hindutva. The BJP’s stand on the Malegaon blasts will further dent its image. It will hinder the investigation process. Let the law take its course.
Sravan Kumar Tiwari,
The Hindutva brigade’s newfound belligerence points to its double standards and politics of opportunism. It has never failed to highlight the UPA government’s so-called soft policy on terror. It has called for restoration of draconian laws like POTA. Yet ever since the Malegaon blasts suspects’ links to Hindu organisations have become known, the party has gone on the offensive and even accused the Congress of communalising terrorism. A typical case of the pot calling the kettle black!
The BJP has a double face — one that condemns Islamist terrorism and the other which defends Hindu terror. The BJP would do well to remember that terrorism has no religion and no religion supports terror. As for its allegation that the Congress is playing a political game by sponsoring investigations to secure its so-called vote bank, it should not forget that Muslims account for only 13.4 per cent of India’s population. The Congress certainly would not want to win their support to win elections.
Both the Congress and the BJP practise double standards on terrorism. The Congress has been signing pacts at the international level to combat terrorism but it is perceived as being soft on terror in India. The BJP, which advocates no leniency for terrorists, is now raising a hue and cry over the arrest of Pragnya Singh and others for their alleged involvement in the Malegaon blasts.
The parties should stop politicising terrorism for settling political scores because it not only affects their image but also undermines the nation’s dignity at the international level. We should stop associating religion with terrorism as terrorists don’t belong to any religion. They are socially maladjusted persons.
New DelhiLeaders across the political spectrum are vying with one another in asserting that no religion has any link with terrorism. But the fact of the matter is that every religion breeds terrorism. A very thin line divides religious sentiment from religious fanaticism. What we need is not religion but science and a world government with a mature legal system to ensure an organised and peaceful coexistence.