Indian Mujahideen: poison fruit of saffron politics, jehadi mindset (Comment)

December 11th, 2010 - 2:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party By Amulya Ganguli
Two factors have complicated the terrorism problem in India. One is Pakistan’s, or rather, the Pakistan Army’s implacable hostility. This animus has acquired a nihilistic dimension with the involvement of suicide squads patronised by the army and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which has been described as a rogue agency by none other than A.Q. Khan, “father” of the Pakistani nuclear programme.The other factor is the saffron brotherhood’s sustained role in fostering anger among Muslims by its longstanding anti-minority philosophy, which led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 and the Gujarat riots 10 years later. For years before the demolition, the Hindutva lobby led by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had carried on a relentless campaign to portray Muslims and Christians as unpatriotic.

Arguably, if the RSS and its political wing, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had not been so persistent in their venomous anti-minority propaganda, the only form of terrorism which India would have had to face was the one sponsored by Pakistan. In that event, the Lashkar-e-Taiba would have been the main terrorist outfit endangering India.

But the humiliation and anger bred by the saffron targeting of the Babri Masjid, and then again by the Gujarat riots, have undoubtedly played a part in the formation of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) by disaffected and alienated Muslims. The IM, therefore, can be said to be the poison fruit of saffron politics - the right-wing politics of Hindu nationalists.

What is interesting is that the diminishing electoral returns from this kind of frenzied, fascistic policies have convinced even the BJP today that pluralism remains the best bet for success. As a result, the man who is suspected to be behind the Gujarat outbreak, Chief Minister Narendra Modi, has virtually turned over a new leaf since 2002 to focus on development.

The same rejection of religious sectarianism in favour of development helped Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar rout his rivals in the recent elections in the state and emerge as a front-runner for leadership of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) because of his secular credentials.

If the BJP leaders had realised this basic truth of the virtues of multiculturalism in the 1990s, then they might have desisted from playing such an incendiary pro-Hindu role. But now it is too late. The seeds of communal divisiveness have not only been planted but seem to have taken root among a small section of Muslims. The latter are also undoubtedly aided and abetted by Pakistan-based terror groups.

Banned outfits like the IM and the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) could have been gradually weaned away from their destructive path if the BJP was forthright in its rejection of its policies of the 1990s, which were based on the stridently anti-minority philosophy of Savarkar and Golwalkar. But while the BJP is either unable or unwilling to break away completely from the past, the RSS and other rabid constituents of the Sangh Parivar like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal continue to be devoted followers of Savarkar’s and Golwalkar’s sectarian line.

The recent Allahabad High Court judgment’s virtual acceptance of the site of the Babri Masjid as the birthplace of Hindu deity Ram has been grist to their mill.

To quote from an article in the RSS journal Organiser, “the temple-favouring verdict … will never be acceptable to the Jilanis, Ansaris, Bukharis, Shahabuddins, who along with Babar’s descendants will sooner or later reveal their true colours”.

What such a provocative stand means is that the IM and SIMI will always have enough inflammable material in their hands to persuade their gullible followers, however small in number, to pursue the jehadi path of indiscriminate violence aimed at setting off communal riots.

It is another matter that an overwhelming majority of Hindus and Muslims have woken up to the realities of their mischievous plans and learnt to ignore such acts of provocation, as the calm reaction to the Dec 7 blast in Varanasi showed. Even the Mumbai mayhem of Nov 26, 2008, did not disturb communal peace.

But the fact remains that the IM and SIMI cannot be wiped out, as the Khalistani outfits of the militant Sikhs have been, as long as the RSS and other members of the Parivar do not give up their cherished dream of converting India into a Hindu Rashtra (nation). To quote from Organiser again: “We shall engage ourselves in the godly mission of freeing the entire country…the entire Ramjanmabhoomi, the entire Mother India from the clutches of every shade of traitor”.

The misuse of religion for political purposes has been the bane of Indian politics. It led to the partition of 1947 because the Muslim League’s poor performance in the 1937 elections convinced it that it could make no headway without concocting the slogan of “Islam in danger” in a Hindu India. Similarly, the BJP’s reduction to a party with only two Lok Sabha seats in 1984 made it turn to the RSS-VHP line of “freeing” Mother India from the Jilanis, Ansaris and their co-religionists. The militancy of the IM and SIMI has been the result.

(11.12.2010 - Amulya Ganguli is a political analyst. He can be reached at

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