Friday, November 2, 2007


A stranger, visiting India for the first time with no previous knowledge of the sub continent, can easily be led to believe that Muslims live only in India and that there are almost no Muslims in Pakistan! Surprising?

The ‘Muslim Factor’ in determining the response of some of our major political parties and elements of the media to two major issues engaging the country would seem to suggest that the country cannot take certain steps in its national interest because Muslims would be angered.

The country has been fighting terrorism for over two decades now. And the problem is only getting worse. Slowly, it has spread to almost the whole country and is periodically manifesting itself through sinister acts of violence, aimed at generating communal hatred and divide which is logically expected to erupt into full scale communal violence. Once that happens regularly, even more recruits will be available to spread the terror network and take it to the next level.

So far riots have not erupted after acts of terror. But will things stay this way if no counter measures are taken to check the spread of terror?

Pakistan, the father of the terrorism that has taken thousands of lives in India, put in place an anti-terrorism act way back in 1998, immediately after terrorists bred by that country to operate against India and the Soviets in Afghanistan, began attacking civil society in its mother country, to make it ‘Islamic’ as per their own definition. Pakistan even went to the extent of setting up military courts to administer most stringent punishment to terrorists swiftly.

See the irony? The Muslim country which gave birth to Islamic terror has not batted an eyelid in putting up a responsive, and some would argue a draconian legal system to tackle the menace posed by terrorists who have become Frankenstein’s Monsters there, even though they are Muslims. In India, the target and the victim of that terror, there is no counter-terrorism legislation in place.

The earlier anti terror laws like POTA and TADA have been removed. Terrorists now enjoy the same benign system of justice which ordinary criminals face, put in place when civil society faced far less violence and destruction, and which is wholly inadequate even for normal crimes, given the state of our judiciary. There is no other country in the world affected by terrorism which has put up such a huge ‘Welcome’ sign for terrorists to come and play their Diwali of Death with impunity and virtual immunity.

Why this baffling, almost anti-national stance amounting to treason? Politicians belonging to ‘secular’ parties believe that since all terrorists are Muslims, but Muslims are not terrorists, any such law, which will cause harassment to them, will anger and alienate the Muslims of India! All for the greed of getting Muslim votes, no matter what the cost to the country!

The most laughable reason publicly given by many politicians and some media luminaries is that since despite POTA there was no reduction in terrorist violence, there is no need for any such law! A tough law is essentially a deterrent to ensure that most of those contemplating taking to terrorism do not take the first step. These very politicians, who want to keep the country unprotected from this threat using many such shamelessly dishonest excuses, are the first to ensure that their own protection is regularly reviewed and upgraded to keep pace with the ever changing threat perception!

Some of our leaders live in virtually impregnable fortresses and move around with an obscene amount of protection, so that terrorists are totally deterred from attempting an attack on their person. Rajiv Gandhi and some others were killed despite that security. Doesn’t that similarly establish that like for the nation, no deterrent is required by leaders too and that a normal policeman with a ‘danda’ should be sufficient to deter terrorists and ensure their personal safety?

There is an eerie similarity about the justification for having no terror law and the opposition to the proposed Indo-US Nuclear Deal. There have been a number of articles and discussions in the media where it has been argued that India should not go through with the deal as it is likely to anger Indian Muslims who are against the US!

There is even talk that Sonia Gandhi is now against the deal for the same reason!

Ironically, liberal Indian Muslims too are opposing the need for anti terror law and are silent about the deal for India. Other Indian Muslim leaders are openly opposing both, seeing which ‘secular’ political parties are looking no further than the votes they stand to gain or lose!

This is the same deal, lest we forget, that Muslim Pakistan has desperately tried to get for itself from the same US which Indian Muslims supposedly hate!

What is the damaging message that is unwittingly being conveyed by our leaders to the masses? Muslim interest is distinct from, and even detrimental to, national interest, over which it in any case takes precedence. Also, what is good in national interest for Muslims of Islamic Pakistan is not good for Muslims of Secular India.

A stranger to this land listening to this debate in India may be perfectly justified in concluding that in this sub continent, India is the Islamic state and Pakistan the Secular one.

Our policy makers and leaders are clearly connected to only the electoral mathematics of winning the next elections. Had they remained connected to the masses, they would have certainly sensed the resentment and quiet anger that such messages generate, causing a silently increasing communal divide which can erupt violently at some stage, setting off another such vortex.

May be it does not matter to most of them, blind in their quest for power at any cost, that they are laying the foundation of many more Gujarats in future.

Is not that exactly what terrorists want?

Earlier posts on the subject can be found here.