Isn’t it time that Rahul Gandhi’s family think of justice to more than 160m ‘dehumanised Indian Muslims’, asks writer LATHEEF FAROOK as he sheds light on the politics behind the Congress leader’s recent remarks in Chennai about Sri Lankan Tamils
Indian Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has assured that he would ensure that Sri Lankan Tamils got justice. He has stated this during a brief interaction with a group of intellectuals in Chennai on Wednesday 22 December 2010. However Rahul Gandhi, general secretary of the All India Congress Committee, has conveniently ignored justice for the island’s second largest minority Muslims.
Isn’t it time that the Gandhi family, responsible to a very great extend for Sri Lanka bleeding for more than three decades, leave the island alone and pay attention to India’s dehumanised and terrorized Muslim minority.
To prick the pride of then President J R Jayawardene, Rahul Gandhi’s grandmother then Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi financed trained, armed Tamil militants and send them to fight in the island. Continuing the same policy of interference Rahul Gandhi’s father, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, blackmailed and forced the 13th amendment on the throat of Jayewardene.
What happened later remains common knowledge.
Under the circumstance isn’t it time that Rahul Gandhi, tipped and groomed to be Indian’s prime minister leave the island alone and concentrate on alleviating the endless sufferings of India’s more than 160 million minority Muslims.
For example, Kashmiri Muslims were some of most peaceful people in the world. However they were a discarded lot. Their peaceful cry for freedom and justice went unheard in the corridors of power in New Delhi.
Frustrated and fed up with the political manoeuvrings of the central government in Delhi, the rigging of elections in 1987 and in 1996, economic problems and poverty, combined with many other factors, Kashmiri Muslims rose up in 1989 demanding justice and freedom-two essential ingredients of democracy. What did New Delhi, the corrupt, criminalised, commercialised a largest democracy in the world, do? Instead of listening to their grievances, unleashed unprecedented brutalities in their arrogant and senseless drive to crush the uprising. Highlighting the atrocities Rahul Gandhi’s father former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi said at a press conference in New Delhi in August 1991 that ‘the brutalities of the Indian army and the Central Reserve Police meant that India may have lost Kashmir’”.
Despite this warning Indian atrocities on Kashmiri Muslims continue to date unabated. According to figures released in the March 2010, 93,142 people were killed, 105,832 houses and shops destroyed, 107,326 orphaned, 9901 women molested and 22,719 widowed. More than 100 youths in peaceful demonstrations were killed during this summer forcing well known human rights activist and author Arundhati Roy to state that ”Kashmiris live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world”.
This is the plight of Kashmiri Muslims! What about the plight of Muslims in rest of India. Here is a report of starling disclosures of the plight of the Muslims in this largest democracy hijacked by Hindu terrorists. According to ANHAD, an Indian NGO working for communal harmony in India, despite this huge size, Indian Muslims feel “an intense, almost universal sentiment of fear and growing despair. In a seminar held by the NGO in October 2009 on the status of Muslims in India, many Muslims testified they felt reduced to second class citizenship.They shared their mounting disillusionment with all institutions of governance, but especially with the police, judiciary, political parties and the media. The meet thus exposed the hollowness of the Indian claims of democracy, secularism, and the rule of law.
Among the Muslims, there is the constant dread of being profiled as terrorists, with the attendant fears of illegal and prolonged detention, denial of bail, torture, unfair and biased investigation and trial, and extra-judicial killings. The pervasive sense of insecurity reported from various corners of the country derivers greatly from the prejudice, illegality and impunity with which police forces deal with the “challenges of terror”. This is a regular pattern that occurs after every terror attack. Worse, it occurs sometimes even when there have been no actual terror episodes. The state authorities simply claim that there was a conspiracy which they detected and prevented.
Testimonies from many states in the country outlined this chilling pattern, of Muslim, mostly male youth, usually with no criminal records, being illegally picked up by men in plain clothes, and taken blind-folded in unmarked vehicles to illegal locations like farm houses which are not police station. There they are tortured to coerce them to confess to terror crimes. Many men testified in the meet to brutal and terrifying torture. They were brutally beaten up along. All of them were kept and tortured in different rooms. The police beat them all over the body with lathis, two men stood on thighs of Iqbal, one of the victims, and legs stretched wide using the filthiest language possible.
Zaheer, another victim, was stripped naked and given electric shocks all over his body many times a day. They caught him by his hair and banged his head against the walls repeatedly. Abusing him, they called him a Taliban and a terrorist, and degraded his community and mother and sisters. Zaheer’s hands were tied to the roof and he was not allowed to sleep for days.
Both Zaheer and Iqbal were not allowed to break their fast till 11 pm. The youth alleged that the police kept on forcing them to admit that they were going to bomb the Ganesh Visarjan procession and kill people. Zaheer pleaded with the police to spare him as he was innocent and he had no idea about the allegations. The policemen taunted him and said if you are tired of torture we will shoot you dead and made him run across a field all the time aiming at him to shoot him down.
Shockingly, even police commissioner and other senior officials were involved in this illegal picking up, detention and torture of youth. The Farm House where the youth were taken and tortured belongs to a close associate of the police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana.
Almost no one who bears a Muslim identity is exempt from the fear that they, or members of their families, can be subjected to the same allegations of terror links, and to similar processes of detention, torture, encounter killings or prolonged, multiple and biased trails. It has been noted that completely different standards are applied in the cases of the Hindutva terror organizations which have come to light.
Many sensitive and senior positions in both central and state government departments, including in the home, education, social welfare and information departments, continue to be held by officials with sympathies with communal ideologies and organisations, and the UPA role in reinforcing communal stereotypes, and in uncritically broadcasting the police version in terror-related arrests and encounter killings. Textbooks often show similar bias, and this is particularly dangerous because for millions of poor and especially rural children, the textbook is the only source of the printed word which they can access.
India is notorious for it’s staged “police encounters.” Especially, the Narendra Modi government in the state of Gujarat has been well known nationally for staging fake encounters to kill “criminals” or Muslim youths. In a disturbing trend, the Indian government as well as concerned state governments has adopted double standards in dealing with the two equally deadly phenomenons of terrorist bombings and communal violence. On one hand throughout the country Muslim youth are being targeted, without any or little evidence, as responsible for terrorist attacks. On the other hand Hindutva extremists behind the communal violence in Orissa. Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh against Christian population are being allowed to go scot-free. The term’ terrorism’ is never associated with the Hindutva extremist outfits like the Bajrang Dal,Vishwa Hindu Parishad or the Shiv Sena despite their clear and acknowledged role in the murder and injury of hundreds of innocent Indian citizens.
Hundutva religious terrorists have also been found time and again planting bombs in Muslim religious places or localities in Nanded and Malegaon in Maharashtra. Tenkasi in Tamil Nadu and suspected of carrying out the heinous bomb blasts on the Samjhauta Express in 2007. The attacks on Christian religious institutions are in fact openly claimed by Hindutva terrorist groups, like the Bajrang Dal, in front of television news cameras and yet no action is taken against them.
Indian society has been plagued many pogroms like the one’s of 1984 (Delhi), 1992-3 (Mumbai and Gujarat (2002). Contrary to common belief, a Lot of organization and planning was put in these pogroms. However, successive governments have failed to provide any justice to the victims belonging to the Minority communities especially Muslims. Most of the culprits of blasts so far indicated have been from the Muslim community, while those who suffered maximum during the pogroms were also from the same community.
The present punishments have been meted out to the culprits of Mumbai blasts of 1993, which followed the Mumbai violence in the aftermath of Babri demolition.
The violence which looked to the spontaneous was investigated by sitting judge Shrikrishna who after five years of painstaking investigation concluded many a things relating to violence and blasts. About the spread of violence it put the square blame on the failure of police machinery, the role of provocative writings in Shjiv Sena paper Saamana and another paper Navakaal, and the role played by Shiv Sena-BJP as a whole, Shiv Sena had later started Maha Aarti, which was meant to mobilize people and give provocation to them.
It also shows how the Hidutva parties, Shiv Sena in particular coordinated the whole violence, in which around thousand people lost their lives and 86% of those killed belonged to Muslim minority. The commission meticulously documented the direct involvement of many leaders in instigating and participating in violence. About the second phase of riots, which began from January 8, the commission points out, “there is not doubt that Shiv Sena and Shiv sainiks took lead in organizing attacks on Muslims and their properties under the guidance of several leaders of Shiv Sena from the level of Shakha pramukh to Shi vena Pramukh Bal Thackeray, who like a veteran general commanded his loyal Shiv Sainiks, to retaliate by organized attacks against Muslims”.
There are two sets of “justice system” in the county. Those belonging to minority community suffer maximum in the communal carnage. They get killed, their properties are destroyed. The guilty from Hindu community in these cases are generally not punished. Those aiding and abetting these crimes get away with it and sometimes even promoted. In other cases of blasts and acts of terror, if Muslims are involved, the cases are investigated and punishments are meted out in due course.
It is reflective of the political parties, the political system and the bureaucratic structure which is coming to be. While some parties like BJP-Shiv Sena are aggressively pursuing the communal agenda, the others are opportunistic enough not to think of justice in a principled way. Congress, while paying lip service to secular values has mostly compromised with the communal elements and most of the times it does not have the spine or perhaps even the will to take the challenge of rising communalism. (Nation)