ENGLISH BAZAAR PATRIKA

Terrorism Worldwide has assumed horrific proportions. We have witnessed worsening acts of terror from 9/11 2001. After this terrible act; terrorism got to be linked a religion, and the term ‘Islamic terrorism’ was popularized by American media. The turmoil’s in West Asian countries due to intervention of American Imperialism for the control over oil resources created an unprecedented crisis in this region. Acts of terror became the everyday affair. The reactionary backlash was not too far behind and surfaced when Andres Behring Berwick, a Norwegian young man, shot 86 youth with his machine gun in 2011. The phobia created against immigrant Muslims in ‘White majority countries’ and global Islamophia are supplanting each other to create the scene, where terrorism is assuming horrendous proportions.

The attack by suicide bombers in three Churches and two luxury hotels in Sri Lanka killed nearly 250 innocent Christians celebrating the Easter on 20th April 2019. While ISIS has taken the credit for the same, Sri Lankan Administration attributed it to local National Thowheeth Jama’ath, a militant Islamist group. As per defense minister of Sri Lanka Ruwan Wijewardane the attack seems to be in retaliation against attack on Muslims in New Zealand, Christchurch mosques in which nearly 53 people died. This attack in New Zealand was done by an Australian immigrant, who is a white supremacist. The Jamath has been banned now in Srilanka.

In the aftermath of the grave tragedy in Sri Lanka, the media was abuzz again with narratives centered around ‘Islamic terrorism’ blaming Islam for such acts of terror. We need to have a deeper understanding of the issue in order to label and analyze today’s terror tales. The major story begins with the America’s planning and funding of the Mujahedeen, Taliban in especially set up Madrasssas of Pakistan. The use of Wahabi-Salafi version of Islam, prevalent in Saudi Arabia for indoctrination into acts of terror is the beginning point. This version of Islam is ultra conservative, focuses on Sharia and targets those opposing it.

In these madarassas meanings of words Jihad and Kafir were distorted to train the youth into what emerged as Al Qaeda. America’s funding of this enterprise to the tune of 8000 million dollars and seven thousand tons of armaments was the key to raise a group which led the anti Russian forces. The key to unravel the mystery lies here. In post Vietnam demoralization of US army, US planners banked on raising the terror force through training Asian Muslim youth. The primary goal was hegemonic control over oil resources in West Asia.

The trajectory of Mujahedeen, Taliban, Al Qaeda, ISIS and then IS and its local offshoots, are a grave tragedy for human society. Not only this goal of controlling West Asia by America has given birth to Islamophobia, now it’s equal and opposite reaction in the form of Anders Behring Berwick and Brenton Tarrant has completed the circle of insanity. ‘An eye for an eye’ seems to be ruling the globe. The cancer of terrorism could be given birth by indoctrinating the youth; but to put the genie back in the bottle is much more difficult. Now Muslim immigration is being used a pretext by the likes of Berwick and Tarrant. There may be many more supporting this superficial understanding about the issue of immigration.

There is a great deal of overlap in ethnic and terrorist violence also. Right in Sri Lanka Bodu Bala Sena (Budhhist Power Force) has been targeting Muslims and Christians. In Sri Lanka itself the Tamil (Hindus) have been targeted. In Myanmar Ashin Wirathu, a Buddhist monk, is advocating the use of violence and has been targeting Rohingya Muslims. In India the likes of Pragya Thakur, the terror accused in Malegaon and Ajmer blasts, had targeting the places where Muslims congregate in big numbers. Currently the sectarian politics is not only wearing the clothes of religion it is justifying the use of violence for its narrow political goals. The tragedy is that since its language is laced in that of the religion, the whole religious communities get colored in the vicious hatred spread by these groups.

One fallout of it has been the demand for banning burqa by Mumbai Shiv Sena mouth piece Saamana’s editor Raut. He taunted that burqa has been banned in Ravan’s Lanka, when will it be banned in Ram’s Ayodhya. This is as such a distortion of what happened in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka President, using his special powers has put a restriction on any apparel which hinders identification the face. Niqab or Burqua was not named in particular.

This has set cat among the pigeons in India. Following Raut’s statement, Javed Akhtar, the noted poet-writer, said that he was not averse to such a ban on Burqa so far as it is accompanied by a similar measure against Ghundhat, the practice which is prevalent among Hindus in some parts of the country. Meanwhile Kerala’s Muslim Educational Society put out a notice which prohibits girls from wearing “any dress which covers the face” in its 150 educational institutions across the state. This is a laudable move in social reform, the move coming from within the community. Still no one has a right to impose any dress code on the women. We have witnessed regular campaigns by the likes of Bajrang dal, opposing girls wearing jeans. Dress code for women is one of the mechanisms of strengthening patriarchal values in the society.

The Sri Lanka suicide bombing, New Zealand shootings are a wake up for the global community to put this cancer to rest, the cancer of using religion for the political goals. One of the major reasons for genesis and perpetuation of this violence is the interference of imperialism in the oil rich zone and America’s promotion of retrograde leaderships in the region. The promotion of democratic impulse at global level coupled with restrain the US designs in the area do remain the key in wiping out terror of all shades from the World!

Category :- English Bazaar Patrika / OPED

Having communalised us, the BJP unfolds its Hindutva agenda to the full

In the general election of 2019, endless sectarian issues are being thrown up by the ruling BJP. To top issues like the Citizenship Amendment Bill, Kabristan, Vande Mataram, pseudo-nationalism, now the BJP has put up Pragya Thakur as its candidate from the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat.

Thakur is one of the key accused in acts of terror, particularly in cases related to the Malegaon, Ajmer, Makkah Masjid and Samjhauta Express bomb blasts, in which many innocents lost their lives and hundreds were injured.

Since joining the BJP a fortnight ago and being nominated as a Lok Sabha candidate Thakur has issued many statements, which are very disturbing at one level and at another show her mindset and the RSS-BJP’s.

After the Malegaon terror attack of 2008, in which six people died and over a hundred were injured, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief heading the investigation, Hemant Karkare, after painstaking investigation got a vital clue.

It related to the motorcycle used in the Malegaon blast. Based on the chassis number of the motorcycle he caught hold of Pragya Thakur, in whose name the vehicle was registered.

This led to a series of arrests in which Lt Col Purohit, Major Upadhyay, Swami Dayanand Pandey and Swami Aseemanand among others were found to have been involved. The laptops, the conversation and other meticulously collected evidence led to the unearthing of a deeper plot, in which many of the accused were related to the RSS in some way.

One of the crucial pieces of evidence was the confession of Swami Aseemanand. In a legally valid confession in front of a magistrate he revealed the whole plot.

After NDA II, comprised mostly of the BJP, came to power in 2014, the National Investigation Agency started pursuing the cases with a different approach. The biggest evidence of this was the statement of Rohini Salian, the public prosecutor concerned, who stated that she had been told to go softer on the cases. She refused to do so and was removed from her role as public prosecutor.

In Thakur’s case, the NIA in 2016 approached the courts with a chargesheet exonerating her of the crime. It also stated that she had breast cancer and was unable to walk even with support. The court in its wisdom framed the chargesheet against her and granted her bail purely on medical grounds, without exonerating her of the crime.

As matters stand, she is accused of terrorist activity and is on bail on medical grounds.

After her nomination from Bhopal Thakur announced that Hemant Karkare was killed due to her curse (shrap). Karkare along with two other police officers died in the 26/11/2008 terror attack sponsored from Pakistan. Karkare, a brave officer chose to fight the terror attack on the streets and died from terrorists’ bullets.

Now Pragya Thakur’s statement is the worst insult to a martyr who died while performing his duties, trying to save the nation from a terror attack. Later she retracted her statement saying she was doing so as it may benefit the enemies!

Some pointed out that if she has the mythical power of dealing curses, why didn’t she do so to the terror masterminds sitting in Pakistan?

Thakur also alleged that Karkare had tortured her, so she cursed him. But the National Human Rights Commission investigated this issue and found no evidence of torture whatsoever. Karkare’s investigation was based purely on the grounds of evidence collected by him and his team of professionals.

In the aftermath of this insult many wellknown names from the police force, known for their integrity and upright work like Julio Rebeiro, Prakash Singh and Meeran Borwankar among others, came forward through articles or TV interviews to share their opinion of Karkare. As per them, Karkare was an upright, honest officer with a professional approach to his work. During his lifetime he was called deshdrohi (traitor, anti-national) by many leaders of Hindutva.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi came forward to defend the BJP’s nomination of terror-accused Pragya Thakur, by saying that to accuse her of being involved in an act of terror is to insult the five thousand year old Hindu civilisation!

Does Pragya Thakur represent the civilisational values of this land? Far from it. India’s past is plural, interactive and accepting with open arms of traditions which prevail within and without. India’s civilisation is represented by likes of Gautam Buddh, Bhagwan Mahavir, Kabir, Guru Nanak, Nizamuddin Auliya and Gandhi among others – who talked of love, tolerance and peace – and not by the likes of Pragya Thakur.

Thakur’s suffering from breast cancer is another mystery. The medical board headed by the JJ Hospital dean found her not to be suffering from any cancer. She claims to have been cured by cow urine and panchgavya. Panch Gavya is a mixture of cow milk, urine, dung, curd and ghee.

Such preposterous claims are in line with the blind faith being promoted by sectarian nationalism, which is propounded by the ideology to which she belongs. Her illness, and its cure by panch gavya is a mystery in itself.

Thakur also claims to have been part of the Babri monument demolition squad. The Election Commission has given her a notice on this issue. So this is a self confessed crime! Apart from being the major accused in Malegaon blasts for which the case against her is still on, she is confessing to her crime in the Babri demolition. What type of signal is being given by the BJP in naming her as a candidate for Parliament?

Surely the BJP is unfolding its Hindutva agenda to the full by now. Earlier with people like Vajpayee at the helm, the moderate image was the electoral compulsion. Now with increased communalisation after 2002, Ram Temple and Holy Cow, the BJP is feeling emboldened enough to reveal its true colour: divisiveness, violence and sectarianism.

It stands for something which is totally against the values of the Indian Constitution.

https://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/en/NewsDetail/index/4/16839/Pragya-Thakur-for-Parliament-Her-Past-and-Portents-for-the-Future

Category :- English Bazaar Patrika / OPED