Terror’s Surname by Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam (SEPTEMBER 28, 2012)

Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam on a recent Supreme Court judgment cautioning police against tagging terror label on an entire community.

Before coming to the substance of a Supreme Court judgment of September 26, I would like to recall the permanent refrain of Sangh organisations’-BJP,VHP, Bajrang Dal etc.-that “every Muslim is not a terrorist, but every terrorist is a Muslim.”

This was a particularly favourite line of the braggart Praveen Todadia, who added, almost like a parrot, “My favourites are Ariel Sharon (then Prime Minister of Israel and the major accused in Sabra and Shatilla massacres) and George W. Bush (then President of the US and the originator of war against Muslim countries).

Togadia saw himself as a vegetarian version of Sharon and Bush like MS Golwalkar, the second RSS chief, saw himself as an Indian version of Hitler vis-à-vis Indian Muslims.

After the bust-up of Hindutva terror by Hemant Karkare and his ATS team, the refrain changed gradually to the extent that this line was dropped from the Sangh’s political script.

Since Karkare’s death more Hindutva terrorists have been exposed. Appropriately, the Sangh’s new line is just the opposite of what it was earlier. The new talking point is that religion is not associated with terrorism.

Almost imperceptively, BJP has watered down its claimed profile as “people with zero tolerance for terrorism.” In election campaigns, too, the earlier priority given to “fight against terror” has been de-emphasised. For them terrorism means only Muslim terrorism. For them once Hindutva terrorists come into the picture, there would be no need for the fight against terror.

Now coming to the judgment in question, the learned judges acquitted eleven Muslims convicted by a TADA court and observed that the law keepers should do nothing that led to the misuse of law.

No community or individual should be harassed just because of their religion. Nobody should be forced to declare, “My name is Khan but I am not a terrorist,” they observed.

The eleven Muslims were charged with conspiracy to ignite communal violence in 1994 during Jagannath Yatra in Ahmedabad.

With this we hope that the police, intelligence and men like Togadia would abstain from irresponsible talk and labeling of Muslims as terrorists.

 

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