HATRED – Terror’s only religion Himanshu Shekhar

2 10 2008
Source: Zee News
Himanshu Shekhar

“What people in the West simply don’t understand is that we love death even more than they love life.” – Osama bin Laden, November 1996.

It was 2002 when I was in first year of my college when an image released on Israeli television and published in leading magazines across the world hit me. The image titled ‘Hebron’s Baby Bomber’ sparked a worldwide debate. A debate which still remains relevant. Which religion teaches one to engage an infant baby of hardly 18 months for killing others? Definitely not Islam.

We are in times when the world is reeling under terror strikes which have a lasting impact and India is no exception. Terrorism is back in focus or perhaps it was never out of frame. That brings us to a simple question- why do some people love death more than life? As a modern civic society/ state are we prepared to counter the menace?

It is a basic challenge to locate and fix the problem first before embarking on curative measures. Who are these people? What is their religion? What is their mission?

London, Karachi, Bangalore, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Delhi – blasts had one thing in common and that was their techno savvy nature. An email sent from a laptop with a Wi-Fi connection just before all these attacks from ‘Indian-Mujahideen,’ clearly means that terrorists were with a mission or at least they projected one. Once again the name given to such dastardly coward act was ‘Jihad’.

It is true that those who are lured to indulge in such acts are misguided. People who are frustrated because of the political climate are the first targets. There’s no denying the fact the socio- economic factors are the ingredients in making of terror.

SIMI’s indoctrination

As the investigations reveal, the act was perpetrated by a new group named Indian Mujahideen which worked in tandem with the banned outfit SIMI. The roots of most serial blasts, which sent down jitters in India, were traced to Azamgarh – now referred to as India’s ‘terror hub.’ To say that it’s only the socio economic backwardness of the people is the only reason which pushes them towards these acts would be totally wrong. It’s the rich, the more affluent, highly educated and technologically advanced men who have been involved in the masterminding of these plots.

All the accused arrested in recent spate of blasts are in early 20s and one thing they had in mind was injustice meted out to people of their community in Gujarat riots. The mail sent by IM was just a confirmation of the sentiment. It is this sense of being denied due justice that lead the masterminds picking disgruntled youth.

A paper submitted by Marc Sagemen, a renowned expert on understanding of terror network, to the Tiffin University in Ohio says, “It is not a specific organization but a social movement consisting of a set more or less formal organizations, linked in patterns of interaction ranging from the fairly centralized to the more decentralized.”

Sagemen in his report further adds, “Some nodes are more popular and are attached to more links, connecting them to more isolated nodes.” Azamgarh was probably that isolated node to which these groups have now connected. Internet has definitely aided that inter-linkage.

Technology has increasingly helped terror groups in a way that they can successfully share their failure and success world wide. While the Delhi Police raided the ‘Batla House’ in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar, it was believed that these terrorists were doing a case study.

It is a really dangerous sign as it questions the very base of India’s secular credentials. The fact that a chunk of Indian Muslims feel they are ‘others’ when incidents like Gujarat or Babri demolition occur, in itself is disturbing because it hits the very ‘Idea of India’.

I- Factor

That brings us to another rudimentary question of terror’s linkage with religion. Are those who are perpetrators of this heinous and ghastly act there to spread Caliphate? Answer probably is big NO. Islam also means: as Salam, a word that signifies surrender. MJ Akbar in his book Shade of Swords writes, “But the Islamic faith from time to time also demands a holy war defined by specific circumstances, blood of the faithful in defence of the faith.”

Akbar further adds, “Shahada: Lailaha- il- Allah, Muhammad-ur-Rasul-Allah” – which means there is but one Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet. And those who become martyrs of Allah are the Shaheed.

It is these lines which are misinterpreted the most. A report submitted by Adam Fosson on cause and effect of ‘Martyrdom’ quotes Sheikh Yasin (a Hamas leader) as saying, “Love of martyrdom is something deep inside the heart. But these rewards are not in themselves the goal of a martyr. The only aim is to win Allah’s satisfaction. And it is Allah who selects martyrs.”

Indian Mujahideen clearly seem to get their inspiration from such misinterpretations. Probably Prophet Mohammad insisted on holy war against the enemy inside. For that matter the feeling shared by Indian Muslims can be really heart wrenching. ‘What can you say if after every terror attacks your own friends see you suspiciously just because you also follow the religion of those involved in these ghastly acts?” Their feelings can be best explained by these immortal lines of Iqbal in his masterpiece ‘Shikwa’;

Hai baja shewa-e-taslim mein mashhoor hain hum Kissa –e- dard sunate hain ki majboor hain hum.

(We won renown for submitting to Your will – and it is so; We speak out now, we are compelled to repeat our tale of woe.) Translation by: Khuswant Singh

It would be wrong for anyone to question Islam or Muslims as that would erroneously include all those Indian Muslims who have led their lives as good citizens trying to improve the lot of their country. India today is the emerging power in the world because all sections of society be it Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Parsees and all others have contributed towards it. Can one question Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s patriotism?

All those people who decided to choose India as their country during partition are Indian first and alienating or seeing them through cataract eyes would just be questioning the very concept of secular India. The fight against terror can begin only after killing its religion which undoubtedly is ‘HATRED’.

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The unseemly politics of terrorism in India (Commentary)

25 05 2008

The unseemly politics of terrorism in India (Commentary)

May 25th, 2008
Courtesy: thaindian.com

By K. Subrahmanyam
Following the Jaipur terror blasts resulting in over 60 deaths, there is an intense debate in the country on how to deal with terrorism. As is very characteristic of the political culture of this country, this outrage, instead of bringing our political parties together in a united effort to fight terrorism, has led to mutual recrimination. This would give a great deal of comfort and encouragement to the trans-national and intra-national terrorist organisations that target this country. The debate is about the policies towards terrorists advocated by different parties, the laws available to counter them, the jurisdiction of various central and state agencies, adequacies and capabilities of organisations at centre and states etc. All these are very legitimate issues needing to be debated constructively. Instead of using those arguments to score points against political rivals there is an imperative need for political parties to get into a meaningful dialogue among themselves.

Contrast the behaviour of Indian political parties with that of parties in other mature democracies such as the US, Britain and European Union countries. In no other country claiming to be a democracy do we see as much acrimony in facing what is recognised as a national threat. This is the situation in a country that has been engaged in fighting terrorism for well over a quarter of a century.

This calls for a serious introspection among our people, academia, media and politicians on the basic features of our society and political culture that makes this country so vulnerable to terrorism and so difficult to unify in countering it.

Though the UN may not have succeeded in formulating an agreed definition of terrorism, there is commonly accepted definition largely acceptable to the social scientists. Terrorism is the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence against people or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies often to achieve political, religious or ideological objectives.

While explosions like those in Jaipur, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Malegaon, Bangalore and Varanasi are recognised as terrorist acts, the killing of people during the election violence (as in West Bengal recently) has been happening routinely and is not considered as terrorism for some inexplicable reasons. Similarly, when civilians are killed in ‘bandhs’ called by political parties, they are also not described as terrorism.

But since terrorism is violence or threatened violence against people and property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies to achieve political, religious or ideological purposes, in fact all such violence should be treated as terrorism. Further, when the presiding officer of a legislature is prevented from discharging his legal duties by members storming into the Well of the house or through various moves such as shouting, that too amounts to violence to intimidate the presiding officer to achieve political objectives.

In other words, the behaviour of legislators amount to terrorism. One does not see such behaviour of parliamentary terrorism, bandh terrorism and electoral terrorism in other mature democracies. It is submitted here that all these categories of terrorism form a continuum and to arrive at the place and role of religious extremist terrorism, one must look at the whole spectrum of terrorism.

When parliamentary terrorism, bandh terrorism and electoral terrorism are tolerated by the majority in the country, that too often in the name of democracy, freedom, right to protest — all of which are permissible only if violence is scrupulously avoided — then some others push the envelope further and resort to political, religious and ideological terrorism.

It must also be clear that violence does not necessarily mean inflicting bodily harm to another person. It also means preventing and intimidating the other person’s legitimate freedom of action or legal functions. Preventing the presiding officer from discharging his legitimate duties by slogan shouting and storming the Well of the house are clear cases of violence. Stopping traffic on roads and compelling shopkeepers to shut down through intimidation are also acts of violence. They are being undertaken for political, ideological or religious purposes. Therefore they are all acts of terrorism.

While in some other parts of the world it has been argued that one man’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter, it would appear in India that one man’s terrorism is projected as another person’s legitimate democratic political activity: Often it becomes a matter of double standard that one’s own terrorism is permissible political activity the other person’s is not.

Which decent democracy will need hundreds and thousands of police and paramilitary personnel will be required to guard the elementary right in democracy — voting in the election — to be exercised? We take pride that the country has held successive free and fair elections under such conditions of strict policing to avoid largescale political terrorism being resorted to by our political parties. Our Election Commission is not in a position to assure our people that they will be in a position to hold a one-day poll all over the country without terrorist violence resorted to by political parties. There is yet no sense of shame or remorse among our political parties on this kind of political culture nurtured in this democracy.

In other genuine democratic countries, it is easier for security services to gather intelligence about preparations to resort to terrorism from the common citizen since such activities involving potential violence will be an aberration in the society. In India there is no rapport between the common citizen and the police force as the latter has been politicised and made an instrumentality of the ruling party.

Secondly, given the Indian political culture where local dons turn into ‘netas’ and often enjoy political power and patronage, the common citizen is not willing to take the risk of communicating to the police or security services such aberrant activities.

The politicians themselves have denigrated the reputation of the police and security services with their charges that all cases against political persons are foisted ones at the instigation of the parties in power. We have situations in which political dons are able to run their criminal empires dealing with extortion (which invariably involves terrorism) from jail cells.

While terrorism is a specific threat in other democracies, in India it is part of our present political culture. In these circumstances it is difficult to expect terrorism of the Jaipur, Bombay, Hyderabad type to be overcome before the country is able to cleanse our parliament of the scourge and to a significant extent our electoral process. But there is not even adequate awareness in the country about the nature of terrorism that is afflicting the country.

It is extremely unlikely the present generation of senior political leaders can be expected to be de-conditioned from their mindsets that accept terrorism of certain categories as part of politics. It is now up to the civil society to bring about a basic change in the perception of our politicians.

(K. Subrahmanyam is India’s pre-eminent analyst on strategic and international affairs. He can be contacted at ksubrahmanyam51@gmail.com)





Editorial: Defiance of Terror (arab news)

18 05 2008

Editorial: Defiance of Terror
17 May 2008
Source: arabnews

It is still unclear who was behind the horrific series of bomb attacks in the Indian city of Jaipur on Tuesday which killed 63 people and left some 200 injured. Suspicions, however, are being pointed at a Jihadist group, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (Huji) which is thought to be based in Bangladesh. Its leader in India, Mohammed Jalaluddin, who claimed to have been behind the 2006 Mumbai train bombings which killed 187 people, was arrested in Lucknow last year and reportedly told police at the time that Jaipur was one of his organization’s top targets.

If this is true, then sadly once again deviants have been responsible for what is a crime against humanity. Given that possibility, we state again the most important fact here: What twisted minds did in Jaipur is at variance with everything Islam stands for. They and their actions stand utterly condemned by the overwhelming majority of Muslims here, in India, in Bangladesh, everywhere.

If the intention was to divide Jaipur, the majority of whose inhabitants are Hindus, although there is a substantial Muslim community, it has gratifyingly done the exact opposite. The shock has resulted in both communities getting together and talking together. That is no surprise. The inhabitants of Jaipur, whatever their faith, have a strong sense of identity as Jaipuris. In the aftermath, they did not ask if a victim was Muslim or Hindu or Christian, they mourned them all regardless. In fact, at least 12 who died in the blasts were Muslim and 30 Muslims were injured — another indication that Muslims are as much in danger from the fanatics as anyone else. Already, Jaipur is shaking off the dust and getting back to work now that the curfew is lifted. There is a resilience there, a determination not to be intimidated. It is not a particularly Jaipuri thing. It is the same resilience that has been seen after in New York, London, Madrid, Sri Lanka, Bali and anywhere else where terrorists have struck in the belief that they can effect political change. It is a human refusal not to bow to terror — which is why the terrorists have never succeeded in changing anything and never will.

That refusal to be cowed is linked to another factor that the terrorist fails to comprehend. India has faced violence from a various sources — Jihadists, Maoists and Naxalites, Sikh militants, militants in the northeast wanting independence. Two of its prime ministers were assassinated; intercommunal violence is a beast that remains unvanquished. But, horrific though they are, bombs in Jaipur are of no long-term significance, other than to the victims and their families. That is because the overwhelming majority of Indians have confidence in their political system — just as the overwhelming majority of Spaniards, Britons or Americans have confidence in theirs. That is the reason why terrorism and violence in India will not succeed. Indian democracy will not be undermined; the drive to Indian prosperity will not be halted. Nor even will the Rajasthan tourist industry will be destroyed — because the world has confidence in India.





Are we a Soft State ? India

17 05 2008

Congress Spokesperson, Veerapa Moily — ironically — said, ” I agree. Laws must be tougher.”

With 2,300 lives lost in 2007 because of terrorism, many are now asking India to look westwards and borrow from their version of war on terror.

In the UK, the Terrorism Act 2006, enacted after the July 7 2005 London bombings, allows detention for 28 days of any suspect without any charges.

The US has the Patriot Act, passed a month after the 9/11 bombings. Provisions under the Act range from allowing police to conduct raids on private property without notice, to indefinite detention of non citizens without any charge.

In Australia, the Anti-Terrorism Act 2005 enables the investigating authorities to deny the right for a detainee to question as to why he or she is being detained.

India has a long list of cities which have suffered terrorist bomb attacks: Mumbai, Delhi, Malegaon, Varanasi, Hyderabad, Ajmer and now Jaipur.

The two attacks in Hyderabad, the blast on Samjhauta Express train, the blast outside a mosque in Malegaon and the attack in Varanasi have not been conclusively solved. Often, the masterminds behind the blasts are never caught.

Does the recurring terrorist attacks and the authorities inability to prevent them prove that India a safe haven for terrorists?





Major bomb blasts in places of worship

14 05 2008

courtesy : IBNLIVE.COM

Terrorists have been targetting places of worship for some time now in what seems to be an attempt to fuel communal tensions in states. While blasts targetting mosques seem to be happening on Fridays, during the sacred Friday prayers, when temples are the targets, the day chosen is usually a Tuesday — the Hindu religious day.

There seems to be a clear cut design and the idea is to disturb peace, which is why the attackers choose soft spots like places of worship and the result is not an attack on a mosque or temple, but an attack on India’s religious harmony

Here are some of the major blasts that have rocked places of worship in India:

bullet May 7, 2006: At least 20 people were killed and many others injured when two high-intensity blasts rocked the Sankatmochan Temple in Varanasi. The blast happened on a Tuesday evening.

bulletSeptember 8, 2006: At least 37 people were killed and 56 were seriously injured when three bombs concealed on cycles went off near a mosque in Maharashtra’s Malegaon town when people were coming out after Friday afternoon prayers. Thousands of people were out on the streets on Friday for Shab-e-Barat, a festival during which people offer prayers to dead relatives.

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bullet May 18, 2007: A bomb exploded at the Mecca mosque in Hyderabad, killing 11 people. The blast shook the crowded mosque, which is situated near the historic Charminar. At least 1,000 people were offering Friday prayers at the mosque, which is the city’s largest.

bullet October 11, 2007: At least two people were killed and 20 others injured when a blast ripped through the sufi shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer. The blast took place shortly after the custom of Iftaar, when evening prayers were on and at least 500 devotees were packed inside the shrine.

RECENT BOMB BLASTS IN INDIA
bullet January 2008: Terrorist attack on CRPF camp in Rampur kills eight.
bullet October 2007: 2 killed in a blast inside Ajmer Sharif shrine during Ramadan, in Rajasthan. August 2007: 30 dead, 60 hurt in Hyderabad ‘terror’ strike.
bullet May 2007: A bomb at Mecca mosque in Hyderabad kills 11 people.
bullet February, 2007: Two bombs explode aboard a train bound from India to Pakistan, burning to death at least 66 passengers, most of them Pakistanis.
bullet September 2006: 30 dead and 100 hurt in twin blasts at a mosque in Malegaon.
bullet July 2006: Seven bombs on Mumbai’s trains kill over 200 and injure 700 others.
bullet March 2006: Twin bombings at a train station and a temple in Varanasi kill 20 people.
bullet October 2005: Three bombs placed in busy New Delhi markets a day before Diwali kill 62 people and injure hundreds.




Shivaji paintings

7 11 2007

79Q70151, originally uploaded by vee4ru.

Francois gautier with Dr. sumeendhra painter, he worked on Aurangazeb exhibitions n now is working on Shivaji exhibition.