By Sajjad Shaukat
US President Obama who just concluded his India visit, announced on November 6 a $10 billion in trade deals with New Delhi to create more than 50,000 US jobs. He also declared the measures, America would take regarding removal of Indian space and defence companies from a restricted “entities list” and supported Indian demand for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council including membership of four key global nuclear nonproliferation regimes, paid a tribute to victims of the Mumbai attacks.
While describing “win-win” relationship with India, Obama’s main focus was Indo-US united front against terrorism, which relates to the Islamic militancy in the region, but he totally neglected the home grown and state sponsored Hindu terrorism.
During his trip, President Obama did not take cognizance of the misdeeds of Hindu fundamentalist parties like the BJP, RSS, VHP, Shiv Sina and Bajrang Dal which have missed no opportunity to communalise national politics of India even under the Congress rule. With the backing of Indian officials, these parties have intensified anti-Christian and anti-Muslim bloodshed in the last decade coupled with thedissemination of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism).
Obama should know that besidesprevious genocide of Muslims and destruction of the Babri Mosque, more than 2500 Muslims were massacred in2002 in the BJP-ruled Indian state of Gujarat. Regarding that massive genocide, bothHuman Rights Watch in 2002 and Amnesty International in 2003 chargedthe “Gujarat state administration” for involvement in “a massive cover-up of the state’s role in that massacre” and pointed out numerous police officials—specifically ministers, high officials and leaders of the VHP, BJP and Bajrang Dal as participants.
OnSeptember 13, 2008, the communal riots in Uttar Pradesh killed more than 200 Muslims. In one of the most tragic incidents in Assam, Hindu extremists burnt alive six members of a Muslim family.
It is mentionable that after the BJP came to power in February 2006, unlike the previous similar tragic events, Christian persecution rose to new heights in the state of Karnataka. Attacks on Christian holidays became common in the state like other areas. On the Christmas Eve of 2007, Hindu extremists led a series of violent attacks on Christians and their property in the state of Orissa, killing six Christians and razing at least 800 houses and 100 churches.
According to a report of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), “in one of the events, in March, 2008, more than 150 intolerant nationalist Hindus stormed two Easter Sunday services and beat at least 16 Christians including two pastors in Bangalore and in Shimoga district…before almost every assault, the mob of the Hindu extremist of RSS, VHPand Bajrang Dal, armed with bamboo poles, sticks and rods, while beating drums shout slogans in Hindi—he “who talks in favour of only Hindus will rule the nation.”
Nevertheless, assaults on Christians and their property have continued by the Hindu mobs in Orissa, Assam, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. Even the recent past witnessed a number of incidents of religious intolerance. In this respect, at least 60 Christians have been assassinated in the recent past by Hindu fundamentalists in Orissa.
Under the mask of democracy and secularism, Indian subsequent regimes dominated by politicians from the Hindi heartland—Hindutva have been using brutal force ruthlessly against any move to free Assam, Kashmir, Khalistan, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu and Tripura where wars of independence are alive in one or the other form.
As regards the Indian-held Kashmir, since 1947, Indian forces have intermittently been employing all the possible techniques of military terrorism such as curfews, crackdowns, sieges, massacre, targeted killings etc. to maintain their alien rule. However, under the new puppet regime in the occupied Kashmir, Indian brutalities keep on going against the current phase of Kashmiri uprising. In the last two years, more than 3000 unmarked graves of the unidentified bodies were uncovered in villages of Indian-held Kashmir. Sources have suggested that these graves include bodies of extrajudicial executions committed by the Indian military and paramilitary forces.
In Maharashtra, non-Hindu communities have lived in constant fear and awe since the advent of the fundamentalist party, Shiv Sena whose Chief Bal Thackeray has organised army of hoodlums to beat up any religious minority, openly directing the Hindu terrorists to loot and stone any of their shop or house. Silence of the subsequent governments on every challenge of Shiv Sena and lack of serious action against Thackeray’s vandalism have clearly defeated the secular echoes of India which is in fact a secular terroist state. More alarming point is that Bajrang Dal has also been imparting arms training to its members near Ayodhya.
It is worth-mentioning that ideology of Hindu nationalism prevails in every field at the cost of other minorities. It is even supported by Indian defence forces clandestinely. This fact could be judged from the recent past, when on April 6, 2008 in the house of Bajrang Dal fundamentalists in Nanded, a bomb went off. The investigations proved that the militants belonging to the Bajrang Dal were found in the bomb-making and attack on a mosque in Parbhani in 2003. Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra arrested a serving Lt. Col. Srikant Purohit along with other army officials, indicating that they were helping in training the Hindu terrorists, providing them with the military-grade explosive RDX, used in the Malegaon bombings and terrorist attacks in other Indian cities. ATS further disclosed that Lt. Col. Purohit confessed that in 2007, he was involved in bombing of Samjhota express, which brunt alive 69 Pakistanis. Leaders of the Indian extremist parties, Shiv Sena, BJP, VHP and RSS are now pressurising the Congress regime to release the culprits.
Before these revelations about Hindu terrorism, Indian government has been accusing the Islamic organizations in contact with Pakistani or Bangladeshi intelligence agencies in carrying out bomb blasts in Malegaon and other Indian places.
As regard Hindu terrorism, BBC indicated on November 21, 2008 that a new phrase has entered the sometimes cliche-riddled Indian press: “Hindu terrorism”, calling it the latest addition to the media lexicon.
Nonetheless, it is due to the ignorance of the US Administration that New Delhi which has been using Hindu terrorists to create frenzy against the other religious communities has further been encouraged by the President Obama who is silent over Hindu terrorism.
In the aftermath of the Mumbai tragedy, instead of showing any evidence about Hindu terrorism, Indian leaders and their media have coined a number of fabricated stories about the arrested gunman, Ajmal Kasab to prove the involvement of Pakistan, banned Lashkar-i-Taiba and even our intelligence agency, ISI which is the first defence line of our country in castigating the plot of foreign enemies. Nevertheless, the sole purpose behind Indian senseless accusations against Islamabad is to conceal the misdeeds of Hindu terrorism which have got no coverage by US-led European media because of the pro-Indian tilt of these countries.
Obama’s ignorance of Hindu terrorism could be judged from the decision of the United Nations Security Council’s Al-Qaida-related committee which added Pakistan-based Jamaatud Dawa, already banned Lashkar-i-Taiba and four of its leaders to the list of terrorists. Meanwhile, India had started increasing pressure on Islamabad with the backing of the US which had played a key role in passing the UN resolution 1267. However, encouraged by the resolution and emboldened by America, the then Indian Minister for External Affairs, Parnab Mukerjee indicated that “India has all options open.” Indian defence minister has also stated in the same terms, while its Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called Pakistan, the epicenter of terrorism.
Notably, America has its political and economic interests in India which serves as the largest market. And the US has its strategic interests in the region, while New Delhi is its main ally to counterbalance China in Asia. In this regard, US, India and Israeli want to ‘denuclearise’ and ‘destablise’ Pakistan which is the only nuclear Islamic country. It is owing to these collective interests that like his predecessor, President Bush, Obama neglects Hindu terrorism which has now become a dangerous reality for international community.
Here, question also arises as to why Indian fundamentalist parties such as Shiv Sena, RSS, Bajrang Dal and BJP which are unleashing the forces of terrorism, are not being added to the UN or US terrorist lists. In this context, negligence of Hindu terrorism by Obama displays double standards of the west.
Sajjad Shaukat is a regular writer for Opinion Maker. He writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations.