"Hindu terror" and "Saffron terror" are terms concocted on the basis of weak evidence by a discredited, corrupt political elite which thinks nothing of sacrificing human lives for petty electoral gains. But how long can you fool all the people?
Since the formation of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in 2004 there has been a marked rise in the number of sleeper modules of jihadi organisations across India. The high priority accorded by UPA-1 to the repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002, had a significant bearing on the career of Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
This terrorist group, which acted on direct orders of the Lashkar- e-Tayyeba (LeT) found the latitude accorded by a pseudo-secular regime in Delhi to reinvent itself as "Indian Mujahideen", "Deccan Mujahideen" and "Popular Front of India."
Between 2004 and 2008 terrorist strikes either in the form of bomb blasts or sudden attacks by armed jihadis, became almost a monthly affair. The incompetence of the UPA government in fighting terror was exposed.
The Maharashtra ATS led by Hemant Karkare conducted political investigations into the Malegon blasts and exposed itself through select arrests and selective leakages of investigations to the media. In order to add weight to its claims, the ATS opined that the same accused were also involved in the Ajmer, Hyderabad Mecca Masjid and Samjhauta Express blasts. The credibility of the investigations vanished when its bluff on "Sadhvi's motorcycle" "Colonel Purohit's RDX" failed to impress the nation, despite the support of a conniving mainstream media. The credibility hit rock bottom when the ATS came out with the story that the Malegon accused had also conspired to kill RSS leaders.
Even while the 26/11 attack was raging, a 'Hindu-Zionist' conspiracy theory was concocted and spread through the Internet. Suspicion was engendered that the fall of ATS chief Karkare to a hail of terrorist bullets was actually a "Hindu-Zionist" job, carried out to get even with him for carrying out the Maelgon probe. Abdul Rehaman Antulay, the then Minority Affairs Minister, became the first official personality to spread this canard. Congress bigwig leaders like Digvijay Singh and Shakeel Ahmed came out openly in support of Antulay. Abishek Manu Singhvi, the party's high-profile spokesman, said: "BJP has advantages and will gain from the terror attack." The then Home Minister of Maharashtra, RR Patil, opined that Karkare had met him on the fateful evening and complained bitterly about the RSS for focusing on its 'role' in the Malegon blast. The same lie was sought to be spread by Digvijay Singh.
The HRD Minister, Kapil Sibal, said after Karkare's death: "The terrorists knew exactly whom they were targeting." The then Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Vilasrao Deshmukh, hurt the sentiments of the people by commenting that only 200 deaths had resulted in 26/11 which was insignificant compared to Mumbai's population of more than 1.5 crore. But Congess leader Narayan Rane hit out at his colleague's irresponsible statements and revealed that some of them had indeed financed terrorists and provided terrorists safe haven in the country. He accepted full responsibility for this statement and added that he would provide all the details with proof at the "appropriate time."
Statements such as this by Congress and UPA leaders in various media might have sounded like Freudian slips, but they have assumed special importance over time, perhaps in direct proportion to the revelations of corruption perpetrated by the Congress leaders. Corruption is a way of life in India's grand old party. With so many scams being blown in recent months by a media elite which has suddenly rediscovered its conscience, the Congress has been left with no alternative but add fuel to the fire under the old communal pot.
During the DGP's Conference in August 2010, Home Minister P Chidambaram audaciously warned about a "new phenomenon" called "saffron terror". This was around the time when the Commonwealth Games scam was being blown in the national media and the global image of the nation taking a hit. The Congress could think of no other diversionary tactic but raise the "Hindu terror" scepter because that was the only way it could remind its 'reliable' voters that at the end of the day only one thing mattered in India — the perceived "safety" of Islam. When Chidambaram faced criticism for mouthing such objectionable lies, he refused to yield. Rather, he had the audacity to say that his remark had brought the message home and that its "purpose" had been served. It was no secret to anybody what that "purpose" was. The demonification of Hindutva forces.
In early December, when the people of India were shaken of confidence in their nation by the magnitude of the UPA's scams, the Congress organised a plenary session to celebrate the 150th year of the founding of the Indian National Congress — an organisation with which it has no organic or inorganic linkage. At that event, Sonia Gandhi made sure not to mention the corruption and nepotism with which her family enterprise had come to be identified. Instead, she chose to hit out at the RSS; linking it with "Hindu terror". Pranab Mukherjee contributed his mite to the foul atmosphere. Rahul Gandhi, who was partying at the wedding of his friend's son while Mumbai was under attack by jihadi terrorists, equated the RSS with SIMI. When the entire nation protested in one voice against his position, Rahul neither repented nor withdrew his words. Later, Wikileaks revealed that he was indeed damaging India in the international arena by serving the cooked-up story of Hindu terror. He had talked about a "bigger" threat to jihadism emanating from "radicalised Hindu groups". United States Ambassador Timothy Roemer made a note of this which Wikileaks revealed.
One should not make the mistake of assuming that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is aloof from all this. In fact, he was the first to talk about Hindu terror. While on board a special aircraft to Havana in the immediate aftermath of the September 2008 Malegon blasts, he had said: "Involvement of Hindu fundamentalist outfits cannot be ruled out". From that point on, it was a consistent Congress policy to pin the blame for blasts in Muslim-dominated neighbourhoods on Hindus. It is based on the assumption that jihadi groups, being peopled by Muslims, do not target fellow Muslims. This attacks the universal, politically correct axiom that terrorists are religion neutral. The double face of the Congress was exposed at this point itself.
The National Investigation Agency, to please its political masters, foolishly opposed the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the US Department of Treasury which have identified LeT with Samjhauta and other terror attacks in India. American investigators have also established the involvement of LeT and HUJI (Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami) behind the Mecca Masjid blasts. Moreover, many journalists have vouched for the character of Swami Aseemananda. Now, the NIA's job has become more complicated, for it has to prove UNSC, the US Treasury Department and other credible agencies wrong.
The Congress and its pseudo-secular allies have a dangerous agenda. They want to protect their vote banks by diluting the fight against jihad and evangelisation. "Hindu terror" and "saffron terror" are nothing but aspects of a conspiracy to emasculate and destroy the idea of India.
The writer is a political commentator based in Chennai