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India & saffron terrorism

January 28, 2013

REPORTS coming in from a Congress meeting in Jaipur, India, quoted Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde as saying: “Reports have come during investigations that the BJP and RSS conduct terror training camps in India to spread terrorism ... Bombs were planted in the Samjhauta Express and Makkah Masjid while an explosion took place in Malegaon. We will have to think about it seriously and will have to remain alert. This is saffron terrorism that I have talked about.”

This is a rare admission coming from the Indian National Congress that seems to be under considerable pressure from the Hindu right in view of the next elections. Although there has been an immediate denial coming from the Bharatiya Janata Party quarters, this admission explains some of the problems also that India and Pakistan have in their dealing with terrorism that is, as we can see, not a Pakistani problem alone.

Still, why did then the Indian prime minister at the same meeting allege that Pakistan was exporting terrorism? Does this imply that Hindu nationalist terrorism is the answer to the Muslim one that comes exclusively from Pakistan?

Once India is on the way to recognising some of the realties in its own country, why not proceed and acknowledge some more home truths?

While there is no denial that there is a Pakistani connection in some of the terrorist attacks in India such as the Mumbai incident, there should also be no doubt about the fact that Indian Muslims themselves have many reasons to fight back in the Indian state that is treating them unfairly for more than 60 years.

Indian Muslims are fighting not only in Kashmir which will be, of course, a separate source of resentment and militancy, but also in the rest of India just keeping in view the Babri Masjid attack and murder of Muslims and the Gujarat massacre in which thousands of Muslims were killed.

In an increasingly violent world where the West is waging war for colonisation of natural resources and political influence everywhere, one should not be surprised to find out that violence creates new violence.

ALI ASHRAF KHAN Karachi