By Ram Puniyani
By now the acts of terror, Islam and Muslims have become synonymous terms in popular imagination, propagated by US media globally and supplemented by Hindu right wing here at home. A large section of the media has added to the manufacturing of this stereotype. Most of the times the alleged terrorists are shot after the incident and their pockets very obligingly produce a letter of their identity and the intentions which are accepted without any probe. Most of the times the questions raised about the holes in the official version are ignored and forgotten over a period of time.
Many a times the blasts come in handy for BJP to sweep the elections as happened in the aftermath of Akshardham attack in Gujarat. No doubt investigating the acts of terror are not easy, no doubt many of these terrorists are the left over of Al Qaeda and many other groups still carrying on their agenda of creating terror and rift in the society, no doubt some of these groups have bases in Pakistan or Bangla Desh. But is that the end of the tally?
On 6th August (2006) in the middle of the night, a powerful bomb exploded in remote place in Maharashtra, Nanded. The house where it exploded belongs to the RSS sympathizer with Bajarang Dal flag flying a top the house. The impact of the blast could be felt in the whole town, in the perimeter of two kilometers, some people felt as if it is an earth quake. The house where the blast took place, all the furniture was blown apart and two members of Bajarang Dal were killed on the spot and three other were seriously injured. It was a single explosion, not multiple one as happens with crackers.
Next day the local Superintendent of police was prompt to offer the cover to the Bajrang Dal and its activists by declaring that it was due to crackers, which have accidentally been exploded. The house search revealed the powerful bomb, I. E. D. with timer and remote control, after which the Inspector General of police had to concede that it was a bomb blat and that those involved in the blast are the members of Bajrang Dal. Local papers reported that a diary has been found at the spot, which has the details of bomb making techniques and other relevant information. The Local BJP MP started dishing out the subtle instructions by saying that innocent should not be implicated and that it was a minor incident.
The police, despite the severe implications of the incident are dealing with this blast with kid gloves. They did arrest some fourteen people, who were close to the one's who died. But they all have been released as the charges framed, deliberately or by default, were under the minor clauses and not adequate to reflect the seriousness of the crime so according court granted the bail. Also the police/state pleader had no objections if the bail is granted to the arrested ones. Police is working on the theory as if such a massive exercise could have been done by a bunch of youth in an isolated manner.
The Bajrang Dal chief and other activists of the Bajrang dal are roaming freely. Apart from the overall intentions of the bomb makers, one has also to examine the intentions of the bomb making in the context of the local events and the profile of Nanded. events. Nanded is a city where the major Sikh Gurudwra is located and Sikhs are present in substantial number. Just a month ago one Sikh girl and a Muslim youth eloped and got married. This incident left bitter feelings and tensions amongst the two communities. At the site of the bomb making false beard and moustache has been recovered. One has to recall that during last two years three major incidents of bomb blasts have taken place in the nearby towns of Parbhani, Purna and Jalna.
The surprising aspects of the episode is, the soft peddling of the incident by the local police, the apathy of the guardian minister and the home minister of the state, the non cognizance of the event by the Central government and the national media, print and electronic both. Congress ruling coalition has its own calculations and it has never shown the will power to take the Hindutva forces on democratic grounds. There is nothing new about its showing disinterest in investigating the incident properly and bringing to book the volunteers of RSS, Bajrang Dal and other associates of this multi-headed hydra.
Barring two investigations, one by a Nagpur based team of Secular Citizens Forum with PUCL and other by Mumbai based Forum against War and Terror, not much has been done to take the implications of the events seriously. Of course a section of local media has done good job but it has failed to attract the national attention. The contrasting scenario can very well be imagined. If by chance any Muslim would have been a part of the ghastly incident, by now hundreds of Muslims and many an organizations would have been rotting in the jail and all the national media and the concerned authorities would have swooped down the city and apprehended the culprits and detected/discovered the links with Al Qaeda/ISI and what not. No such probability exists here as by now state administrations and social common sense has associate terrorism and blasts with a particular religious community.
The RSS and its affiliates who began with the lathi drill have come a long way, from lathi wielding to the making of the bomb and giving the training to its volunteers in using knives, disguised as Trishuls, guns and lately the bomb as this incident shows. At what time to use which of the weapons through which of the volunteers and than to disown the volunteer is nothing new for this outfit. Nathuram Godse, the killer of father of the nation was disowned, so was Dara Singh, the killer of Pastor Graham Stains. No wonder this episode in the remote interior of Mahrashtra may get suppressed, forgotten and a major source of terrorism will go uninvestigated with guilty remaining unpunished and the organization behind that continuing its divisive journey as before.
(Issues in Secular Politics) [08-05-06].