Elections Are Over but Muslim-Bashing Continues

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi meeting victims of maoists attack at a hospital in Raipur on May 26, 2013. Photo: IANS
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi meeting victims of maoists attack at a hospital in Raipur on May 26, 2013. Top politicians of the ruling Congress were killed in the attack.  IANS
As if the communal polarization during the Election campaign wasn’t enough, BJP politician Giriraj Singh is once again out to target a “particular community” as the terrorists, pointing to the shape of things to come. But what is the truth? Facts speak for themselves
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]NDIA’S General Elections have finally ended. Exit polls have already positioned Narendra Modi in the Prime Minister’s seat. Within a couple of days, the new government will take the office. But if the post-poll events are any indication, we may be heading for a difficult time. As if the communal polarization during the Election campaign was not enough, the BJP candidate Giri Raj Singh has come up again with a statement, which points to the aggressive intents of the new leaders of the country. “Those who want to stop Modi”, he roared, “have their Makkah and Madina in Pakistan”. He went further to ask “why all those arrested on the charges of terrorism belong to a particular community.”
A few days back, on a TV debate, my co-panelist was Vijay Sonkar Shastri, BJP spokesman and former MP. He expressed the same sentiment though in a little more polished way. “This is extremely unfortunate”, he said, “but the truth is that Muslims alone are terrorists”. When I started countering him giving data on terrorism, which showed that Hindu terrorism has been the biggest menace in the world including India, he smiled and said, “You are a dangerous debater Dr. Jamil, and if I pass a few hours with you, I will end up having ‘hridaya parivartan’ (change of heart”.
The trend in recent years has been that while the Hindutva lobbies and the media try to project all terrorist violence as Muslim, some Muslim leaders and mediamen behave as if a Muslim cannot be a terrorist at all. Both are extreme positions that need to be dismissed with the contempt they deserve.
The truth is that while the majority of terrorism related violence in India in last 40 years has been non-Muslim, a few terrorist attacks might have been perpetrated by Muslims. But If we count the deaths in all the terrorist attacks allegedly by Muslim outfits, these do no cross 1500. These include all the major attacks including the serial Mumbai attacks after Babri Masjid demolition and 26/11 attack in Mumbai.
Now let’s have a look at the other terrorist attacks in the country.
                                               Deaths Related to Naxalite Violence
Period                 Civilians          Security forces           Insurgents         Total per period
1989–2001       1,610                   432                                 1,007                                 3,049 [79]
2002                       382                   100                                      141                                     623  [80]
2003                       410                   105                                      216                                      731 [80]
2004                      466                     —                                          87                                       653 [80]
2005                      524                    153                                      225                                         90  [81]
2006                      521                    157                                     274                                          95  [81]
2007                     460                    236                                      141                                        837 [81]
2008                      399                    221                                                                                     520
2009                      586                   317                                       217                                   1,120 [84]
2010                      713                   285                                        171                                   1,169 [85]
2011                      275                    128                                       199                                      602  [86]
2012                      144                      04                                        116                                      364  [87]
TOTAL         6,432       2,312                       2,965                    11,709
Based on the above displayed statistics, it can be determined that more than 11,700 people have been killed since the start of the insurgency in 1980, of which more than half died in the last ten years. The unofficial figures put the toll several times higher.
In the violence related to Sikhs, several hundreds have been killed by Sikh militants. In Hindu-Sikh riots following the assassination of Indira Gandhi, more than 2000 Sikhs died.
Then there are killings related to ULFA. According to a Wikipedia report, .”In the past two decades some 18,000 people have died in the clash between the rebels and the security forces.
So it can be seen that the violence involving Sikhs, Naxalites and ULFA has killed more than 30000 people in last 30 years.
Hindu violence is not confined to India. In Sri Lanka, more than 60000 people have died in Tamil related violence. (http://netwmd.com/articles/article1120.html)
In Nepal, Maoist violence has also killed hundreds.
There are people who try to argue that Naxalites, Maoists and ULFA activists are not religion-inspired. But the truth remains that they are all Hindus according to demographic records. And violence is violence, whether related to communal sentiments or to any other cause. Violence in the name of religion cannot be described as more condemnable than that related to any other ideology. Violence has to be condemned in proportion to the casualties it causes.
Moreover, the killers of Sikhs in Delhi riots and those of Muslims in various riots have been the hardcore believers in Hindu scriptures. This does not in any way mean that Hinduism or any other religion is responsible for such violence. This shows that mutual hatred often leads people to indulge in violent attacks against one another. The majority communities or powerful groups anywhere in the world routinely indulge in riots or the government forces act on their behalf. The weaker communities and groups resort to terrorism and other forms of hit and run strategies.
It is clear that the percentage of deaths in terrorist attacks in India attributed to Muslims is not more than 4-5 percent. In my previous article on riots, I have already shown that the number of Muslims killed in riots in India is at least three times the number of Hindus killed.
Riots and Roots of Terror
While it will be wrong to assume that the anti-Muslim riots and Babri Masjid demolition were the only factors responsible for the rise of some alleged Muslim terrorist organizations, it will be totally out of place as well to dismiss this factor altogether. Some analysts have argued that “terrorists” are the product of a certain mindset. They may be partially right. But it is also right that such a mindset needs fuel to prosper, and events like Babri Masjid demolition and Gujarat riots multiplied with a widespread feeling of discrimination provide sufficient fuel for that purpose to be achieved.
While on one hand, terrorism, in fact violence of all hues and colors, whoever the culprits, whoever the victims, whatever the place, has to be condemned in no uncertain  terms, on the other hand, all the factors related to the rise of terrorism of any color have to be addressed if it is to be controlled.
The role of the precipitating factors, the media in fanning hatred, the politicians, community leaders and executives, the military and the police – all have to be analysed. On top of tem, all communities have to be socioeconomically empowered and all kinds of discrimination have to be eradicated. Only then we can hope of a lasting peace.
If the impression has gathered momentum that all or almost all terrorists are Muslims, it is on account of the media and biased activists. Every month, several Naxalite and Maoist attacks take place killing scores of people. But the electronic media hardly covers them except for a few hours. On the contrary, if an attack is believed to be caused by some Muslim terrorists, the coverage continues for days.
Nobody in India knows the names of the leaders of Naxalites and other such organizations but, thanks to the media and communal organizations, the names of the Muslim terrorists are widely known. Even the Muslim spokesmen of parties like Congress appear to be taking apologetic and defensive approach on this issue and nobody bothers to present the true statistics nailing the malicious propaganda against Muslims.

All opinions and views expressed in columns and blogs are those of individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Caravan


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