Muslim, the Usual Fifth Columnist?

DR S. AUSAF SAIED VASFI wonders why Muslims are arrested and harassed in a selective manner whenever a terror attack occurs while there is ample proof of involvement of Bajrang Dal and other Sangh Parivar activists in such terror attacks.

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DR S. AUSAF SAIED VASFI wonders why Muslims are arrested and harassed in a selective manner whenever a terror attack occurs while there is ample proof of involvement of Bajrang Dal and other Sangh Parivar activists in such terror attacks.

“My world died on that day”, recalled Shakeela Banu, the 36-year old widow of a small time tailor, Rafique Ahmed, the sole bread-earner of the family, who was killed in the September 8, 2006 bomb blast at Malegaon. He is still alive in her memory. “I remember my husband each moment. It seems it was only yesterday that we ate together.”
This, however, is not the operative part of the 770-word story, done by Mubasshir Ahmed in the Asian Age (September 8, 2007). The operative part is: Ms Banu believes that all the accused are innocent and “real culprits” have not been caught. “Ek Mussalman doosre Mussalman ko kyon Qatal Karega? Kya Hum Pakistan mein rah rahien hain? (Why would a Muslim kill a fellow-Muslim? Are we living in Pakistan?)”, she questions.
Nine persons of the Muslim community have been arrested by the Anti-Terrorist Squad, accused of masterminding the blasts that killed 31 people and injured more than 300. Almost all victims were Muslims. Interestingly, the case was handed over to the CBI on the day when the ATS had filed the charge sheet. Shakeela, however, sympathises with the wives of the accused. “I deeply shared their grief.”
It is this pain, this grief that neither State Government nor the Central Government understands. The Muslim leadership, the Muslim community as a whole have, in the light of their public and private reaction, refused to buy the laboriously fabricated theory that it was local Muslims, who launched the attack near Noorani Masjid in Malegaon on September 8, 2006. With equal vehemence, the Muslims deny the motivated and fictitious charge that it was the minority people who in August 2007, attacked Hyderabad; or it was they who staged a tandav nirtya in the Makkah Masjid in May 2007 in the same city. For the July 2006 train blast, again Muslims were charged without sufficient, concrete, or legal basis.
Nadir Touched
Nadir was touched when in some cases, much before the investigation, the suspect organisations were named and “laud thinking” was made about their “contacts” with local Muslims. Now the bewildered nation is being asked to believe the Laskhar-e-Toiba of Pakistan or/and Harkat-ul Jehad-e-Islami of Bangladesh might have a hand in recent Hyderabad bloodshed.
Till date, the Maharashtra dispensation has not come clean on the Muslim reading that possibly it is the Bajrang Dal and other Sangh Parivar zealots who have, under a plan, been fiddling with life and property to systematically tarnish the image of Indian Muslims. The basis of Muslim suspicion is the well-known recovery of fake beards and the dress that Muslims usually wear – of course, along with a large haul of arms – from the Nanded residence of a retired irrigation department engineer and RSS worker, Lakshman Rajkondawar following the April 6, 2006 blast which killed his son Naresh Lakshman Rajkondawar, and one Himanshu Venkatesh Panse and left three others Yogesh Ravindra Deshpande Vidholkar, Maroti Kishore Wagh and Gururaj Jayaram Tuptewar seriously injured. Another injured, Rahul Manoharao Pande, managed to flee from the scene of the explosion, but was arrested later. We are afraid this angle has, for too obvious reasons, been given a short shrift. It needs a thorough probe.
Midnight Knock
With the suspected connivance of the power-that-be in Andhra Pradesh, the dubious game that had earlier been played in Mumbai is now being played in Hyderabad. Anxiety is writ large over each and every Muslim face, including madrasa pupils, women and children. The reason is the impending midnight knock and the subsequent arrest of young boys and educated youth and students of ITs and Medicine. It is also alleged neither the accused are presented in courts nor parents nor relatives are informed following the arrests, as stipulated by the Supreme Court.
It should be of interest to note here that besides the 1993 Bombay blasts or the attack on Parliament in 2001 and the Coimbatore blasts of 1998, there have been no convictions in any other cases. Recall that in Tada cases, in which Muslim suspects were in majority, the conviction vote was minimal. The inference is: breaking down the backbone and morals of the minority is the chief objective. Destruction of Muslim students’ careers is the “collateral gain.” We feel this conspiracy to keep Muslims from the national reconstruction is not possible without the active cooperation of the RSS-brainwashed bureaucracy.
Occasionally one comes across the Saffron influence on judiciary also as we saw recently in a High Court judge, who just five days before his retirement, recorded his views on the Bhagwad Gita. He not only wanted the scripture to be elevated to the position of “Rashtriya Dharma Shastra” but went on to exhort the plural polity to follow its essence.
As laymen, as “Aam Aadmi”, we hope the learned judge had, and has, read at least two celebrated apex-court judgements: one, S.R. Bomai Vs Union of India and two, Ismail Farooqui Vs Union of India.
RDX Planted
It can be argued that after confessions of Muslim suspects, lethal material has been recovered from the accused.
First, extraction of confession from an accused is dirt easy through the use of third-degree or just keeping him awake for weeks. Secondly, the use of banned drugs in narco-tests – they are not reliable for extraction of true confession – is not unknown to our security agencies. And thirdly, read and re-read the 336-word story in the Times of India by Sachin Prashar, headlined “IB, Cops in Murky Frame Up”. The story datelined New Delhi, September 11 says: “The CBI has found that Intelligence Bureau operatives colluded with the Delhi Police special cell sleuths to ‘plant’ RDX on two youths who were arrested as ‘Al Badr terrorists.” The shocking conclusion comes a month after the agency told the Delhi High Court that the special cell’s probe into the murky affair “didn’t inspire confidence”.
Top CBI sources told TOI that the seized RDX appeared to have been planted on the two ‘terrorists’ Mohd. Moarif Qamar and Irshad Ali. The agency will submit its report, which indicts officers of IB and Delhi Police special cell, to the court on October 24.
While similar episodes in the past have hurt the credibility of the anti-terror agencies, this one stands out because it marks a rare instance of Intelligence Bureau operatives collaborating in the plot hatched by Delhi Police’s special cell against its former informers.
Delhi Police special cell officers in the dock after the CBI probes are Inspector Majid Din, Inspector Sanjay Dutt and Sub-inspectors Vinay Tyagi, Ravinder Tyagi and Subhash Vats. The CBI report said they posed as two other officials of the special cell, inspectors Hriday Bhushan and Lalit Mohan Negi, to make the frame-up appear a genuine anti-terror operation.
Anything Possible
Here a helpless, “Aad Aadmi” and Indian citizen can legitimately ask: What is not possible for the police? Our men in uniform can do any conceivable thing, including planting of RDX. So, the Muslim suspicion is they did in Mumbai and are now doing in Hyderabad!
Shedding light on Muslim feelings, Ms Zoya Hassan, a well-known academic and Member of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) said in an interview on August 27: The most important issue troubling Muslims in Mumbai is the complete lack of justice after the riots of 1992-93 and the urgent need to punish the guilty policemen and politicians involved … In Chennai, minority communities focused on socio-economic rights, but they expressed concern over the targeting of minorities on suspicion of involvement in terrorist violence. But in Mumbai by far the prime issue is justice for victims of the riots. People gave vent to their anger and frustration with the Maharashtra government for its lack of political will to implement the Srikrishna Commission’s report. The Muslims voiced their concern that governance was unfair to them; they expressed a pervasive feeling of insecurity and distrust of the instruments of the state, especially law enforcement agencies. But people also expressed strong faith in the Constitution and many of them repeatedly said they were asking nothing more than fairness and justice from the government.
Sustained HarassmENt
This, in brief, is just one dimension of the sustained harassment of the principal minority people. This harassment is apparently rooted in the biased and prejudiced bureaucracy. What plans, we Muslims ask, have the Andhra, Maharashtra and the Central Governments to root out the menace? We really do not know. Perhaps it is not an issue to them. But the Muslims feel this non-issue is systematically undoing them.
What has since long been adding to the Muslim discomfort is the fact that the law and order happens to be a state-subject. Let it be brought on the central list or concurrent list so that fiddling with Muslim life, honour, dignity and property may be stopped.
Has it ever occurred to the banner-holders of the Saffron why each and every community including Christians, Sikhs and Dalits of plural Bharat has a grievance against them? They believe in making friends or proliferating foes? Their daydream of ruling over heterogeneous Bharat will never see the light of the day with a narrow vision. Large kingdom and small hearts do not go together.