No Curb on Hindutva Terror by Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam (SEPTEMBER 22, 2008)

UPA would have to pay a heavy price for the relentless attacks on Christians, writes Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam.

It is already a month since the latest round of Hindutva terror began in Orissa. It is continuing unabated: churches being burnt, Christian villages burnt, schools attacked. The chief minister, Naveen Patnaik sits idle, the police and administration as a whole look the other way, giving unmistakable encouraging signals to the hordes to continue the attacks.

The present round began only after a brief reprieve from a similar series of attacks earlier this year. Impunity encourages criminal behaviour, and the attackers, led by BJP-RSS-VHP-Bajrang Dal leaders, have always enjoyed impunity.

In a way, it is an open season on India's Christians. Strangely, there is very little mention of these attacks in the media. The play given to such reports in the print media is insignificant. Rarely there is a front-page report, much less a banner, normal lead or second lead. There is very little by way of editorial comment, no horror or loathing, condemnation or disapproval of the mass hysteria engineered by the Sangh.

No wonder, seeing the BJP ally Patnaik's encouraging behaviour towards Sangh terrorism other BJP chief ministers have adopted a similar posture. Priests, churches, Christian people and institution are being targeted intermittently in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh. Here too the criminal bands are being allowed to destroy Christian property and attack Christians as a whole. Impunity is encouraging criminal behaviour as usual. With BJP in power you can not expect any better deal.

Karnataka, where BJP is in power for the first time, is another focus of Hindutva terror for the last several weeks. Like Orissa and Madhya Pradesh, in Karnataka also the pattern of violence is the same: Christians, their churches, their priests, their nuns, their institutions being targeted. The anti-Christian violence has seeped into Kerala in areas close to Karnataka.

This is an unprecedented scale of Hindutva terror against Christians. Only the Union government can explain as to what it has done to stem the tide of Hindutva terror. No tangible proof of any Central intervention is visible on the ground on those states where terror remains unabated. One wonder why can't the RSS, VHP Bajrang Dal and other violent organisations be banned and criminal proceedings initiated against the perpetrators.

Already Lalu Prasad Yadav has demanded a ban on these outfits. Ram Vilas Paswan, another senior member of the Union cabinet, has pleaded for similar action. After all, these are the people who have engineered anti-Muslim riots over the last six decades. Their terrorism was evident in the speeches of Uma Bharati and Sadhvi Rithambra as far back as in the 80s and 90s.

The worst terrorist act they perpetrated was a spate of riots accompanying LK Advani's Somnath to Ayodhya yatra which ended in the demolition of Babri Masjid and 22 other mosques and mazars on December 6, 1992. Then followed a spate of anti-Muslim riots all over India. Jurist NC Seetalvad wrote at the time that criminal proceedings should be instituted against Advani, Joshi Bharti & Co under the law against terrorism. Even the CBI in its report suggested action under the same law.

No action was taken. Advani, Joshi and Bharati became Union ministers. Far from being punished for their terrorist act they were rewarded for it. Advani, in a twist of irony, became (of all things) Union home minister, responsible for law and order. Imagine a law-breaker being the number one law-keeper of a country. He went on to become deputy prime minister of India. Now he is stated to be the prime minister.

Instead of being punished they have consistently been rewarded for their depredations. Can we ever imagine that people rewarded for their acts of terror will ever stop their terrorist activities? No wonder, the attacks against Christians are growing in intensity and spreading to ever newer states.

On their part Congress leaders are content with mere announcements and empty warnings. Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natrajan has said the "time for banning VHP and Bajrang Dal has come". Chairman of Administrative Reforms Commission M Veerappa Moily has said that if the violence does not stop Sangh outfits would have to be banned. At that Vinay Katiyar, one of the accused in Ayodhya demolition and riots, has scoffed at Congress leaders' ideas. This former Bajrang Dal leader knows from experience that attacks on minorities bring rewards, not punishment. This brings us to the role of Congress and UPA in all this. One can only say that UPA is a helpless spectator of the chaos and anarchy spread by Hindutva. That is going to extract a heavy price from it in the coming elections.


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