Hindu terror does exist

The conviction of Devendra Gupta and Sunil Joshi by the National Investigation Agency special court in Jaipur last week in the 2007 Ajmer blast case proves that Hindu terror does exist. For Gupta and Joshi had been Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) pracharaks. Joshi was murdered in December 2007. Swami Aseemanand, long portrayed as the face of saffron terror, and six others were acquitted.

The blast took place at the 13th century dargah of Sufi mystic Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti on October 11, 2007, during Ramzan. It killed three persons and injured 17. The bomb exploded at the time of iftaar (breaking of fast).

Four points need to be made here. First, no amount of sophistry would whitewash the fact that at least some of the culprits were Hindu nationalists. Perhaps, they were not members of the Sangh Parivar when they planned and perpetrated the attack. The RSS spokespersons would emphatically assert that the organization had nothing to do with the blast. But it won’t able to escape the taint because of ideological kinship, as in the case of Nathuram Godse. That Indian communists escape the opprobrium of philosophical kinship with Stalin and Mao is another story.

The second point is that while Hindu terror does exist, any comparison with Muslim terror would be odious and misleading. The former is minuscule, scattered, and nascent; the latter is monstrous, global, and entrenched.

The third point to be emphasized is that the proof of the existence of Hindu terror doesn’t absolve the Congress of its culpability of maliciously magnifying its magnitude and intensity. In its zeal to malign Hindutva, the grand old party did not leave any stone unturned. It went to the extent of undermining the national interest when it accused Hindu extremists of carrying out the Samjhauta Express blast in 2007; this was despite the fact that the entire world was convinced of the Pakistan role in it. On January 7, 2009, the US Department of the Treasury “targeted the support networks of al Qaida and Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LET) in Pakistan by designating four individuals, Fazeel-A-Tul Shaykh Abu Mohammed Ameen Al-Peshawari, Arif Qasmani, Mohammed Yahya Mujahid, and Nasir Javaid… The designated individuals have provided direct support to al Qaida and LET and have facilitated terrorist attacks, including the July 2006 train bombing in Mumbai, India.”

In fact, the Congress was hell-bent on magnifying the danger of Hindu terror and downplaying jihad. According to a cable by former US ambassador to India Timothy Roemer, released by Wikileaks, in December 2010, party vice-president, Rahul Gandhi told him that “the bigger threat [to India] may be the growth of radicalized Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community.”

Finally, the conviction of Hindutva activists in the terror act should disabuse us of fashionable views like ‘a Hindu can never be a terrorist’ and ‘no religion preaches violence.’ I said fashionable because such statements can be made only by those who lack knowledge as well as commonsense. Often, such statements are accompanied with more baloney: Hinduism is so great (its philosophical insights, spiritual accomplishments, et al) that it is inconceivable that it would degenerate into terror; Islam is the religion of peace; the real jihad is internal, about purifying oneself…

All this is claptrap. Hinduism may be a great way or view of life; its schools of philosophy and spiritual practices may be estimable; but all this is cold comfort to the Shudras or lower caste people who suffered indignities and iniquity because of the religious dogma. It may be argued that Hinduism was misunderstood, that that was not real Hinduism; but the sufferings of the millions for centuries were real.

Similarly, the homilies that Islam is the religion of peace and that the real jihad is internal are facetious at best; these fine points mean nothing to the folks who died in WTC towers in September 2001 and in Taj Hotel in November 2008.

In a nutshell, the votaries of Hindutva should stop peddling myths like no religion preaches violence. They should fight Muslim terror, but they should also ensure that their own flock does not cross the line.

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