Architects of “Hindu terror” are nervous

BY RSN SINGH

It is now more than six years since Lt Col Srikant Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya have been incarcerated in prison without charge sheet. The previous dispensation, motivated solely by vote-bank politics, labeled them as Hindu terrorists, in its sinister bid to balance Jihadi terror by inventing Hindu terror. There was also the evil design to balance Pakistani terror with Indian terror for benefit of Pakistan. Human rights activists therefore remain unmoved.

Finally the Supreme Court of India has swung into action and has questioned the very basis of continued detention of Purohit and Pragya under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), as they had no criminal record. The court also observed that there was “considerable doubt” about their involvement in Malegaon blasts. It directed that their bail plea should be examined by a special trial court.

In the Court of Inquiry conducted by the Army some 50 witnesses, officers and men gave their testimony in favour of Purohit. Some of them hailed him as a dedicated professional who had infiltrated into Jihadi organisations like SIMI and Indian Mujahideen, with full knowledge and concurrence of his seniors. These legal developments have sent shivers in the ‘Hindu Terror’ fabrication industry. The members of this industry have ganged up to fight their last desperate battle.

Media Offensive

The public prosecutor Rohini Salian appointed by the previous Maharashtra dispensation to prosecute so called “Hindu terrorists” allegedly involved in Malegaon blasts in 2008, decided to go public with a statement that she was being pressurized by an NIA (National Investigative Agency) official to “go soft on Hindu Terrorists”. Only the guilty and the weak succumb to pressure!

In an interview to a newspaper, she said that she took up the case at “Hemant Karkare’s insistence”. She further said “his (Karkare) voice was shaking and he sounded very disturbed…. Then I heard accused were all Hindus and I was surprised…..From morning to evening I read newspapers. I started crying and got emotionally upset. In that matter I also got to know about Samjhauta and Modasa. Long after his death we were very upset. Then one day I went to ATS and shouted at the police—what are we doing –we have to make the soul happy.”

This interview was given to a media outlet which was at the forefront of Hindu Terror campaign. As it was being fed stories by the crooks in the government, desperate to fabricate Hindu terror, it was masqueraded as investigative journalism. The story telling was however of a very poor quality. The contradictions on two consecutive editions were hilarious. If one day the report said that Lt Col Purohit pilfered RDX from Indian Army for Samjhauta blasts, the very next day it had to eat crow in face of the clarification that the Indian Army does not use RDX.

Since the interview, the Indian media has been on overdrive to project Rohini Salian as some great crusader. One of the media feature “The Lawyer Who Leaves Womanhood Behind” tried to portray a larger than life image of her. Then former cop Julio Rieberio was roped in to write “Why we must listen to Rohini Salian”. Then there was a newspaper report that said after the revelation of the NIA pressure theory “six clerics, three advocates, a father of 2008 blast victim and brother of one of the accused in 2006 Malegaon blast case took the first long distance train to meet Rohini”. The bias of Salian and the media in general is evident. She has been speaking and behaving more like a judge than a prosecutor. Her bitterness or frustration at the unraveling of “Hindu Terror” theory can be sampled from this statement: “In future, if in any other case the NIA makes fresh arrest, then I would go on record that I would like to take up the case of the accused as an independent.”

Selective Sensitivity

It may be mentioned that Rohini Salian was engaged as public prosecutor after the blasts in Malegaon in end September 2008. These blasts were effected just two months before 26/11. This incident was used by the government to create the specter of Hindu Terror. The ruling dispensation, but for apprehension of Ajmal Kasab, had almost succeeded in facilitating the portrayal of 26/11 as act of so called Hindu terrorists. The setback however did not prevent Digvijay Singh from releasing a book called “26/11 RSS ki Sazish”. The same Digvijay proclaimed that he was in constant touch with ‘Karkare on matters regarding so called Hindu terror. Now it is same Karkare on whose insistence Rohini Salian claims to have relented to assume the mantle of Special Public Prosecutor. Karkare must have been really persuasive as she had resigned as Public Prosecutor in 2007. On hearing that the accused of 2008 Malegaon blasts were all Hindus she tells that she started crying. In the 2008 Malegaon blasts eight people were killed. By her sensitivity standards, Rohan Salian must have been really inconsolable between 2004 and 2008 as unremitting bomb blasts devoured innocents in Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Varanasi, Ayodhya, Pune and Bangalore. She must have been devastated when two years before i.e in 2006, 37 were killed in the same Malegaon, wherein unlike 2008, RDX was used. Ironically the brother of one of the accused in 2006 blasts travelled all the way to meet Rohini after she began to vilify the current dispensation.

It is again a huge coincidence that all Hindu terror cases were confined to courts in Congress ruled states –Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Haryana.

Whose soul to be trusted?

It is significant that the “low intensity blasts” in Malegaon in 2008 was used by the plotters as the central plot to weave the story of Hindu terror. The idea being to sell the story that all blasts wherein Muslims were victims was act of Hindu terror. Accordingly, the blasts in Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Sharif were revisited. Also on this revisit trip was Rohini Salian. In her interviews to various media outlets she says she got to know “about Samjhauta and Modasa as well” from newspapers. She particularly revisited 2006- Malegaon blasts.

Speaking on the 2006 Malegaon blasts, the DGP of Maharashtra in a press conference in November 2006 said: “We have successfully cracked Malegaon serial blasts case, and have arrested eight men, all of them former SIMI members. We are in lookout for eight others.” He pointedly mentioned: “Two Pakistanis were involved in the blast. One of them is Muzammil who came to India in third week of July and helped fashion the improvised explosive devices. One of the accused Mohd Ali sent Shabir Batterywalah, another accused, for training at a terrorist camp near Karachi. After 7/11 blasts in Mumbai – Ali supplied RDX to Batterywalah.”

Can it get more specific?

These investigations were also carried out by the Maharashtra ATS before Karkare took over. It filed charge sheets in MCOCA court (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) against nine accused. It is the same ATS where Rohini Salian claims to have visited after Karkare’s death and shouted at the police: “What we are doing, we have to make the soul happy”. It may be mentioned that the same MCOCA type act that the Gujarat government under Narendra Modi demanded in the past was constantly denied by the Centre then. Subsequently, in 2007, the Malegaon (2006) case was handed over to CBI whose findings were similar to that of ATS.

The Central Government did not give up. By then it had another agency to juggle with. It then handed over the case to NIA in 2011. The story of Malegaon (2006), being handiwork of Hindu terrorists, was re-invented. The NIA is a post 26/11 creation. The NIA of that period obviously suited Rohini Salian. The so called Hindu terrorists were conveniently blamed. Consequently, as expected and scripted there was a hue and cry from the vested quarters. They demanded that since the real perpetrators had been identified, the nine accused should be released, and indeed they were.

On release, like most accused, they said that they were implicated and signed their confessions under duress. One of them by the name of Abrar blamed his wife and brother-in-law for implicating him for a price of Rs 25 lakh.

Now which soul is to be believed — DGP Pasricha’s soul, the collective soul of the ATS (before Karkare) and the CBI and the NIA, or late Hemant Karkare’s soul or Rohini Salian’s soul? It is for the reader to decide.

Service to Pakistan

Meanwhile Rohini Salian is making waves in the Pakistani press. The Pakistan news carried the headlines “Prosecutor claims – was told to go soft on Hindu terrorists”. Also, now Pakistan has begun to equate Lakhvi, the mastermind of 26/11 with Lt Col Purohit. This is the balancing the architects of “Hindu Terror” wanted. The US Treasury Department blames the LeT for Samjhauta blasts. David Headley’s Moroccon wife said her husband was involved, but the previous dispensation, which Rohini Salian found convenient to work with, was steadfast in its claim that it was perpetrated by Hindu terrorists which included Lt Col Purohit.

Conclusion

Majority Indians have understood the game and the Hindu terror story is increasingly becoming untenable, legally and otherwise. It is therefore natural for the Hindu terror industry, so assiduously cultivated by the previous dispensation, to be nervous and to go on overdrive.

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(RSN Singh is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research & Analysis Wing. The author of two books: Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and Military Factor in Pakistan, he is also a Guest Blogger with Canary Trap. The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Canary Trap or any employee thereof)

Greece’s Tsipras And Tripura’s Manik Sarkar: Two Communists In Perspective

BY SAEED NAQVI

Upon my return from a driving trip around Europe, the front page anchor of the Indian Express caught my eye. It showed Union Minister for Communication and Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad in a warm handshake with the Communist Chief Minister of Tripura, Manik Sarkar, at the inauguration of an Internet Gateway in Agartala.

Even more striking was the treatment the newspaper gave to the headline which encapsuled raw, facts: the state has an astounding record in the incidence of crime, civilians killed, security personnel killed, kidnappings, encounters, rebels killed. The figure on every count is ZERO.

When a former Director General of Police in Tripura, B.L. Vohra a year ago gave me similar figures for the previous year, I rubbed my eyes with disbelief. I had never imagined a senior police officer, conservative to the core, in such ecstatic praise of a communist Chief Minister.

So, last April, I turned up in Agartala. Lo and behold, I found myself seated in the presence of the present DG Police, K. Nagaraj, endorsing all the figures I see on page one of the newspaper today.

Ofcourse, at the top of the page, across six columns, are stories related to the Vyapam scam, but I found the Tripura story heartwarming. This, for a variety of reasons including the unstated petrifaction at Europe grappling with communism in Greece, then possibly Pablo Iglesias’s Leftism in Spain and similar streaks in all of Latin Europe.

India had its first communist government in Kerala in 1957 snuffed out by Indira Gandhi.

For 35 years, Jyoti Basu, a communist to boot, ruled West Bengal until his successors fatally mishandled the land issue.

All of that later. Let me, for my immediate purposes, try and explain the Tripura phenomenon, from my notebook.

The State has been ploughing its furrow diligently with some quite extraordinary results on the Human Development scale and which no one discusses. Has the State with a population of 40 lakhs, not been in focus because it is small? Only Sikkim and Goa are smaller. Or has the media thus far been squeamish about applauding a State which for 32 of the past 37 years has been under Left Front rule? It was for this reason the page one display was striking. I had seen nothing positive about the new Greek political preference in European newspapers. The contrast was refreshing.

Some of its records are amazing. Its 96 percent literacy makes it the country’s most literate State. Literacy rate in Gujarat is 83 per cent. Kerala was once the leader but its Human Development record in recent years has been slipping.

Life expectancy of 71 years for men and 73 for women in Tripura too is a record. In Gujarat, it is 64 and 66. Tripura’s Bengali population ruins the absence of gender bias among tribals. Even so, it is 961 as against 918 in Gujarat.

The great genius the leadership has demonstrated is in grasping an essential truth: like politics, good governance too is essentially the art of the possible. Instead of beating its breast and flailing its arm around, the regime picked up all the Central and State schemes, put its head down, called in the officials, party cadres, involved the three tier Panchayati Raj system and gave a sense of real participation to the elected Autonomous District Councils which cover two thirds of the State and all the Tribal areas of Tripura.

This is the key. The basic conflict in the State, one which exploded as the fiercest insurgency in the North East, was on the tribal-non tribal faultline.

Under the Maharajas, who figure in mythology, Tripura was overwhelmingly tribal. But after the creation of East Pakistan (later Bangladesh), Hindu Bengalis from contiguous territories that were once managed by the Maharaja, migrated to Tripura. The tribals, (a total of 19 tribes) became a minority in the State. The 70:30 ratio in favour of the tribals was exactly inverted. Today 70 percent of the population is Bengali.

The Congress, its eye always on the main chance, fell back on the simple divide and rule strategy, pocketing the Bengali vote bank. If ever there was a shortfall, there was always a tribe to be played against the other.

A great tribal, communist leader, Dashrath Deb saw the future. He launched Jana Shiksha Abhiyan or campaign for education among tribals in 1945 forcing the Maharaja to recognize 500 primary schools, which mushroomed and today saturate the State – a school every kilometer.

It was from this wide base that the tribals gravitated towards communism while the Bengalis were turning towards the Congress. While the Congress was content with sectarian divine, a leader like Nripen Chakraborty accurately gauged the difficult social reality: without tribal support all Bengali agenda would be circumscribed. Likewise, tribals would not advance without Bengali help. The call went out: tribal-non tribal unity was the absolute imperative.

The idea flared up, across the State for two reasons. Tribals, who had taken to communism in the 40s and 50s, grasped the idea instantly. In driblets, Bengalis too came into the fold. So, while the Left slowly expanded its platform of unity, the Congress persisted with its Bengali focus, not without electoral gains. True, the Left Front has 50 seats in a House of 60, but the 36 percent of the opposition vote share must be largely credited to the Congress.

What keeps the electorate, indeed the population persistently in the Left’s thrall is the universally accepted incorruptibility of the leadership. Congress MLA Gopal Roy shook his head in agreement “personal incorruptibility cannot be denied”.

The first Left Front Chief Minister Nripen Chakraborty (1978 to 88) entered and left the official residence with same two tin trunks – full of clothes, books, and a shaving kit. Grocery purchases for the CM’s household were made on a ration card. Modern capitalism would probably consider him an outcast because he never had a bank account.

His disciple, Manik Sarkar, Chief Minister for 17 years without a break, is equally austere. His wife, a school teacher, goes to work on a rickshaw.

In efficient implementation of central schemes, the State has no parallels. Clinics, schools, anganwadi, infant and mother care, electricity distribution and, above all, building roads, connecting the remotest areas.

Heaven knows what feedback Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has on his Swatch Bharat or clean India mission, but if he were to send his officers to some of the more remote parts of Tripura, they would rub their eyes with wonder at what has been achieved in such a short period.

The road from Agartala winds around Longtarai hill range to Ambassa, about 80 kms away. A measure of the administration’s reach is Kumardhan Para, at a forbidding height.

A few years ago, folks at the village walked 18 kms to reach grocery stores in Ambassa. Today the Kumardhan peak has been conquered; a motorable road has been laid right upto the village centre. Little wonder Milind Ramteke, IAS, Collector of Ambassa (Dhallai) and his Block Development Officer, Amitabh Chakma, are local heroes, village after village.

The problems of Tripura, in a sense, begin now. The King of Bhutan floated the idea of Gross National Happiness. That, roughly, has been Tripura’s trajectory. It is now on an efficient welfare plateau. What next? It has an inimitable school network. But very little by way of college and technical education. There are no openings for the educated youth. The State, surrounded on three sides by Bangladesh looks admiringly at Shaikh Haseena. Indo-Bangla friendship will give it access to Chittagong port, 70 kms away.

The regime is not paranoid, but it is “aware” that the Church networks affect both college and post college job scene. A middle class so created is inherently anti “Left”, says a CPM leader. Moreover, further penetration by the Church would provide an opening to Hindutva forces to enter the scene with a countervailing sectarian agenda.

(Saeed Naqvi is a senior Indian journalist, television commentator, interviewer, and a Distinguished Fellow at Observer Research Foundation. Mr. Naqvi is also a mentor and a guest blogger with Canary Trap)