Archive for the Indias Oppression of Minorities Category

The Ignored World of Indian Terrorism

Posted in Indias Oppression of Minorities on August 18, 2009 by dimension117

by Havi Zayed

For years major terrorist organizations in India have been given a free hand to massacre and terrorize minorities. Thousands of innocent people have been murdered by them and they continue to operate putting not only India but also the entire region at risk. The Successive Indian governments have for years not only allowed these organizations to operate but have also denied and hidden the terror related activities of these fascist outfits denying the minorities justice who have suffered at their hands. These fascist outfits are largely ignored and kept away from the attention of the World Media leaving no chance of minorities getting justice for the crimes committed by them or any chance for the World to know about their doings.

It is true that no religion deserves to be highlighted for terrorism and harmony must be promoted at all costs. Also it must be understood that it is not the religion that promotes terrorism but there are certain elements that move away from that religion that promote such anarchy. However the issue in India remains despite the level of destruction and damage these terrorist organizations are causing there is an absolute denial of such criminal and terrorist elements even though they have taken part in the murder of thousands of innocent people.

Terrorist Organizations such as the Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, VHP (Vishva Hindu Parisad) and the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) are all ignored and their horrible crimes not only being hidden by members of the government but also being promoted by them. Several members of the Indian government themselves are part of this campaign of terror and have massacred thousands of innocent civilians and not on one occasion is action taken against them.

It is noticeable in almost all past incidents of such religious violence passed off as riots (even though they resulted in a systematic massacre of a certain religious group which can be defined as genocide) that members of these terrorist organizations are actively involved. If we look at all the instances of such violence in the past 30 years we will see this trend and will notice the damage they have caused to the Indian State:

·         In 1984 there was a planned massacre of Sikhs by these same extremists after the tragic death of Indira Gandhi. Over 5000 Sikhs were killed and it has been defined by several Sikh Writers as a “Genocide against the Sikh Community” and a “War against the Sikh Faith” considering the fact that just a few months ago Operation Bluestar had resulted in death of at least 8000 Sikhs. The figures are highly disputed with vast variations between the figures by Humanitarian Organizations, the Indian government and the Sikh Freedom Movements. The fact however is that the people belonging to the same organizations struck here as well. It is also interesting to note that several Politicians as well have been blamed for having a part in this massacre such as Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler and RK Anand who are in the government even now. The police and government did absolutely nothing allowing mobs to loot Sikh property, torture, rape and murder.

·         In 1992 they struck again and Babri Masjid a Seventh Century Islamic Mosque was burned down to the ground by Hindu Terrorists resulting in a major culmination of riots which resulted in the death of at least 5000 Muslims according to several Islamic Groups and Humanitarian Groups. Again the trend was the same with politicians and police taking a part in the massacre. According to Tehelka News the police not only remained silent spectators but even participated in the genocide often attacking Muslims and pointing them out for the mobs.  There was also proof against Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thakarey who ordered his followers to murder Muslims in the riots and also in the riots that ensued after the Bombay Blast which is claimed to be by Underworld Don Dawood Ibrahim. Madhukar Sarpotdar a Shiv Sena MP was jailed for his connections to Hindu terrorists and for inciting them to attack Muslims. Other leaders joined the rhetoric by calling for attacks on Muslims including Girijaj Kishore.

·         In 2003 a major massacre of Muslims was committed in the Province of Gujarat and this massacre is often attributed to Nirender Modi who is still the Chief Minister of Gujarat and a member of the Right Wing Hindu Nationalist Party BJP. Almost all humanitarian organizations and all groups found exclusive proof that the trail to the massacre indeed did lead to him. However he has been elected for another year as Chief Minister of Gujarat despite this and no action has ever been taken against him. Nirender Modi is also said to have protected a terrorist known as Babu Bajrangi an Ex VHP Leader who has now become a leader of the Terrorist Organization Bajrang Dal. He famously boasted to Tehelka News how he “ripped open a pregnant woman’s stomach” and how he wanted to wipe out 25000-50000 Muslims. Another criminal leader is Giriraj Kishore who is a leader of the VHP and is known to have incited the mobs to attack and kill Muslims just like in . These are not the only people from these terrorist organizations to have taken part in this massacre but there are many more. This was undoubtedly the most horrible pre planned attack on any minority in India and has resulted in over 20000 deaths whereas several claims go up to the 200000 mark and can by all means be defined as a Genocide. The massacre and the fact that none of the leaders associated with it have been punished proves that several Hindu terrorists have high jacked the government and are already in a position where they can destroy the lives of innocents. India has admitted that there are links to these people in these attacks but says it will “hurt the country” if any action is taken against them.

·         Finally even in Mid 2008 after the murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati Hindu Mobs from these organizations have become thirsty for Christian blood and till now may have murdered over a 1000 Christians burning over 1800 Christian homes and many churches and left about 60000 Christians homeless. Most have either fled to the woods or are in refugee camps. Again the figures are highly disputed and different sources have different estimates. The highest claim is by the Union of Catholic Asian News which claims that over 100,000 Christians could have been killed between August 23 and September 4. This is considered a smaller massacre but several analysts have suggested that the growing agitation against Christians in the area may result in a much larger pogrom next time.

Though these are not all the incidents of violence where members of these terrorist organizations have shown the world their true colours it is noticeable that in all these cases it has been activists of Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena RSS and other such terrorist organizations involved in the violence which is proven by the accounts of survivors and people who saw the terrorists. It is also very concerning that the police and several government ministers have supported the violence and there is at least one influential person who has either turned a blind eye on the matter, worked to protect these terrorist elements or even worse support them in their horrible deeds. It proves the level of hatred these elements have and how the terrorists have infiltrated all fields of Indian society. All of them have called for the elimination of Pakistan and Islam.

Not only this but these leaders are inspired by Hitler and his genocide of Jews. That is why they are known as representatives of a Fascist ideology since they call for the elimination of certain groups and want to form a “Hindu Rashtra”, an India only for Hindus. Bal Thakarey himself is a great admirer of Hitler.

The fact is India is one of the only Countries where Terrorist leaders like Jagdish Tytler, Bal Thakarey and Nirender Modi who are responsible for past violence are allowed to operate with impunity and endanger the lives of innocent people in the process. All three of these leaders have called for violence against Minorities and are well known to have ordered and commanded their followers to attack minorities yet no action is taken against them or the perpetrators of these horrible and violent crimes. Will all those killed by them ever get justice?

In India there is very heavy handed action against Islamic terror outfits and organizations but this same action is never taken against Hindu terrorists who operate in India with impunity. Therefore there is absolutely no balance and no system of justice for minorities. Several people especially Pakistanis tend to laugh when India blames Pakistan for violence within its borders and “infiltration” considering the fact that these are the sort of people who are present in the Nation. Is it not likely that such a massive campaign of violence will naturally result in Terrorism?

What is even more dangerous is that the terrorists do not even leave those who raise their voice against the atrocities of the Hindu Terrorist organizations and their supporters. It has now become a crime to even speak out against them because any such person who dares to raise his voice is being sent death threats and becomes a victim of a massive harassment and bullying. On the net the terrorists are even worse than Bal Thackeray and conveniently hide behind their computers spreading their campaign of hatred, freely admitting murder rape and torture and sending death threats as if there is no big deal in it and they will never get caught. This extremely worrying trend of death threats, admission of murder rape and torture has all been reported by several other Writers and Rights Workers who have decided to expose the wrong doings. By resorting to these cheap acts these individuals are now expecting to cause fear in Rights Workers and Journalists to somehow make them stop their campaign for justice completely.

Despite all this several Indians continue to claim that it is the internal matter of India and if anyone from Pakistan raises a voice he is interfering in “India’s Affairs”. On the other hand if it is a Local Indian especially from a Minority Community, then he almost immediately becomes Anti-Indian or Anti-Hindu just because he raises his voice for minority rights! In any case the fact is that Pakistanis have a right to speak out because these terrorist groups have not only called for violence on Pakistan and have encouraged their followers to kill Pakistanis but have also attacked Pakistanis before. It must be remembered that the Samjhauta Express attacks where Hemant Karkare pointed out that Colonel Purohit with the help of several Hindu terrorists was responsible for the attack resulted in the death of several Pakistanis.

India must deal with these dangerous elements, ban these organizations and arrest their leaders that are spreading hatred and calling for violence and the Indian politicians who have supported such people and are known to have committed acts of murder on minorities before should be brought to book because in the end it is not Pakistanis nor the Muslims Sikhs or Christians that suffer but all Indians that suffer.


Being a Muslim in Mumbai

Posted in Indias Oppression of Minorities with tags on August 1, 2009 by dimension117

By Daipayan Halder

The last thing you would expect my colleague Rehan Ansari, foreign editor of the newspaper I work for, to be is a jihadi. I know he learns kickboxing, but I suspect it is more for upping his fitness levels than kicking a kafir’s butt. He’s well-mannered, well-read and as far as I am concerned, well-intentioned. We have chatted a couple of times near the office coffee-machine on how best to thrash out odd thoughts. By odd thoughts he meant subjects that are unpalatable to our publishers. Thoughts on naxalism, communalism, casteism and several such isms that are best left unwritten in the paper we work for. Our readers don’t want to start their days with a negative thought after all!

Brief, but our conversations have always been interesting. He chided me more than once for neglecting my writing. This Rehan, the Rehan I just described, is a different Rehan from the one I met this Monday. The new Rehan, with eyes that betrayed hurt, disgust and anger in equal measure, told me he takes the cab from his rented apartment in Bandra to Lower Parel, where our office is located. I asked why. He said after the train blasts last year, the Mumbai police conduct random checks in local trains. It gets very uncomfortable if you happen to be a Muslim. Doubts are raised about your loyalty and if you are unlucky you may hear a snide or two about Pakistan being your rightful place. Rehan said he fears he might retaliate one day and hence he has decided to take the cab instead.

We were discussing Salman Rushdie’s Mumbai visit and his interview to NDTV where he said Mumbai is just like New York, a truly cosmopolitan city. “Has he ever travelled in local trains?” Rehan said. “If he had he wouldn’t be saying such things. He would know the Mumbai that exists is different from the Mumbai he fancies.”

My wife Insiya doesn’t bother herself with such existential dilemmas. But I remember when she moved in with me to my swanky, new flat in Thane, she had frowned. She had frowned because I told her she is the only Muslim in that entire complex (it has six apartment buildings and more are coming up). The promoters of my housing complex don’t sell flats to Muslims because “they mean trouble”. It is okay in a way to them if Insiya stays because having married a Hindu she is now in the Hindu fold. But she could not have bought the flat in her name. There are other Muslims in Thane, India’s largest district that is witnessing a real estate boom due its proximity to Mumbai, but they stay in ghettos. And from what I have seen and heard, it would be difficult for Insiya or any other Muslim to buy a flat in any of the big housing complexes that are coming up. She shrugs it off, saying: such things happen.

Such things, in fact, happen with unfailing regularity to Muslims in Mumbai, irrespective of their social standing. City tabloid Mumbai Mirror reported that Bollywood actors Shabana Azmi and Emraan Hashmi couldn’t buy apartments of their choice in the city because promoters wouldn’t sell to Muslims. Other papers have also carried stories on Muslims being forced to stay in ghettos in Mumbai. But my friend Adnan insisted that we journalists have a tendency of sensationalising things. “It’s not that bad, come on,” Adnan had told me. “There are jerks everywhere. You can’t dump a city because of them, can you?”

Adnan at that time was high on Mumbai. He had switched jobs, landed in Mumbai and rented a spacious two-bedroom apartment in Bandra. “Told you, journos invent stories. I got my flat in a jiffy.” “But Adnan, Bandra is unlike the rest of Mumbai. It is one of the very few truly cosmopolitan places. It’s got a sizable Muslim and Christian population, the corporator himself is a Muslim and the real estate prices are prohibitive. What about those Muslims who can’t afford Bandra? It’s either the ghetto or nowhere for them,” I had argued. “Deep, you guys cook up stories to sensationalise. Admit it, my friend,” he had chided me. My protests had fallen on deaf ears.

Adnan’s Mumbai honeymoon had lasted for a few months. During which time, he had got himself a promotion, a car and a girlfriend. Life was a breeze before he encountered a friendly, neighbourhood pandu (slang for a beat constable). It was Adnan’s fault to begin with. He had oversped on the eastern express highway and got caught by the constable. The man asked for his licence, when Adnan handed it to him, he sneered: Bhag kyun rahe the. Gaadi mein bomb hai kya? (Why were you running away? Have you hidden a bomb in your car?) “What do you mean?” Adnan had screamed. “Mian, aap log bahut tez bhaag rahe ho aaj kaal. Thoda sambhal jao” (Mian, you people are on the fast track these days. Better mend your ways.)

Adnan didn’t know what to say. To have a beat constable raise aspersions about his community in broad daylight in a city like Mumbai, his Mumbai, was unthinkable to him. “It felt surreal Deep. In the badlands of Bihar, yes; in Modi’s Gujarat most definitely; but to be told in middle of Mumbai that people of my faith will always be suspect was a rude jolt to me,” he told me later that day. Adnan had taken the day off, he was too dazed to concentrate on work, I had met him in the evening to buy him a drink and talk him out of his depression. It didn’t work. “You were so right Deep. So right,” he said.

I told him it’s a stray incident and he should put it behind him. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that what happened to him is far less shocking than what was reported in Mumbai Mirror on July 17, 2006.

Correspondent Aditi Sharma had met a certain Hamid Pir Mohammed Ghojaria, who was yet to recover from his shock even a week after he was assaulted. Ghojaria (39) was attacked on a running train between Marine Lines and Churchgate railway stations for no fault of his. On that day, the Jogeshwari resident had gone to Marine Lines to submit his son’s college admission forms at Ismail Yusuf Trust. After completing the formalities, he decided to visit his brother-in-law who owns a watch shop near Churchgate. Around 5.15 pm, he went to Marine Lines railway station to catch a Churchgate-bound local. “As soon as I entered the train, I saw some commuters beating up a Pathani-clad man. Even before I could realise what was happening, two of the commuters saw me and started hitting me as well. They just kept saying ‘get out of this country, go back to Pakistan, you do not belong here, you are the ones responsible for the blasts in the city’,” says a shocked Ghojaria.

The watch repair mechanic was all the more stunned when he was asked to take the name of Lord Ram and Lord Krishna. “When they started hitting me, I screamed ‘Allah’. That’s when they told me to call out to Ram and Krishna instead. They said they wouldn’t let go of me if I did not chant the names,” alleges Ghojaria, adding that the mob even pulled his beard. The abuse stopped only when the train reached Churchgate terminal. “Nobody came forward to help me. I felt utterly helpless throughout. When the train came to a halt at Churchgate, all the commuters, including the attackers, simply walked away,” adds Ghojaria. After alighting from the train, he reported the matter to the police at the station, who first sent him to GT Hospital for a checkup and later registered a case under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) and 34 (common intent) of the Indian Penal Code against unknown persons in Ghojaria’s case. “Investigations are on, we should be able to locate the men soon,” Deepak Bagwe, senior inspector, railway police, Churchgate told Mumbai Mirror. Nothing happened.

I couldn’t narrate this incident to Adnan. I didn’t have the heart. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that my friend Atif’s grandparents have been living in Mumbai for six decades now. They have never wanted to live anywhere else. But in the last three decades, they have gradually withdrawn into a shell. There is a Shiv Sena sakha in front of their house. Every day when they pass it, they shudder. They shudder as they remember how their next door neighbour was cut to pieces in the 1993 Mumbai riots and his wife and teenaged daughter gang-raped. They shudder because they see those men sometimes on the streets, walking tall and walking free.

I didn’t remind Adnan that between December 1992 and January 1993, the city set a record for itself in the matter of communal madness. In the riots that followed the destruction of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, more than a thousand people were killed. Unlike previous riots, violence spread to relatively new urbanised areas. Violence affected not only slums but also apartment blocks and chawls. What was common to all the areas was the systematic targeting of Muslims, who comprised 17 per cent of the city’s population.

The relief work that followed the riots helped members of the Muslim community resume their everyday lives. However, although successive governments promised to do away with communal forces and civic organisations worked towards communal amity, stray communal incidents still occur in Mumbai. “Mumbai changed after 1993″ is a common refrain of long-time residents.

I didn’t need to. The encounter with the Pandu broke Adnan. He had a long-standing offer from an Ahmedabad-based company. He had refused to consider it earlier. “That city gives me the jitters man. After what Narendra Modi did, you can’t stay in the city,” he had said. He has decided to take it now.

On the nature of fear, Jodie Foster’s character says in The Brave One: “It’s not like anyone has gassed the subway. And yet now we have this ongoing fear that pretty much sits on top of you every minute. So it’s the fear in some ways that’s the bad thing. It feeds on people. It turns people against people.” If you are a Muslim in Mumbai, chances are you might feel the same way.