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India: Statement on Home Minister’s Apology: Cowardly Capitulation to the RSS and BJP

21 February 2013

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21.02.2012

After frankly acknowledging the organizational role of the RSS and BJP in spawning terrorism in the country Home Minister Mr Sushil Kuamr Shinde has suddenly backtracked, buckled under pressure and apologized to the BJP.

Mr. Shinde’s statement at Jaipur about ‘training camps of both BJP and RSS promoting Hindu terrorism’ were factually correct given the political and religious identity of those involved in the Samjhauta, Malegaon and Mecca Masjid blasts. His clubbing the term ‘ Hindu’ with ‘terrorism’ is nothing to apologise for in a country where state agencies, politicians and the media routinely refer to ‘jihadi terrorism’ without any compunction.

By making this apology Mr. Shinde has sent a dubious message to agencies investigating the activities of terrorists linked to the RSS and its associated organisations such as the Sansathan Sanstha, Jai Vande Matram Kalyani Samiti and Abhinav Bharat. His apology will only serve to strengthen current prejudice and institutional bias against the minority community in terror investigations. While terror may have no religion, as Congress and BJP agree with TV anchors, ‘the fact remains that Indian police and other agencies routinely target and vilify the Muslim community whenever a terrorist attack takes place.

With Mr Shinde’s apology coming as it does just days after the secret execution of Afzal Guru, another condemnable act of cowardly capitulation by the UPA government we can only wonder how far the Congress will go to adopt the fascist and communal agenda of the RSS as its very own?

1. Adv.Mohd Shoaib, Rihai Manch

2. Amit Sengupta, Senior Journalist

3. Anivar Aravind, Activist, Bangalore

4. Bhavna Sharma, Anhad

5. Dr Zafrul Islam, Editor, The Milli Gazette

6. Mahtab Alam, Writer & Activist

7. Manisha Sethi, and Saghamitra Misra, JTSA

8. Mansi Sharma, Activist

9. Masihuddin Sanjari, Rihai Manch

10. Musab Iqbal, Journalist, Banglore

11. N. Jayaram, Independent Journalist, Bangalore

12. Navaid Hamid, Member, National Integration Council

13. Nilofer Bhagwat, Lawyer and Activist, Mumbai

14. Rajeev Yadav,Rihai Manch

15. Ram Puniyani, All India Secular Forum

16. Satya Sivaraman, Senior Journalist

17. Seema Mustafa, Senior Journalist

18. Shabnam Hashmi, Anhad

19. Shahnawaz Alam,Rihai Manch

20. Syed Zafar Mehdi, Journalist & Blogger

21. Wilfred D’Costa, INSAF

22. Kavita Srivastava, National secretary, PUCL

23. Vineet Tiwari, Secretary, MP PWA

24. Rimmi Sharma, Journalist

25. Sukumar Murlidharan, Senior Journalist

26. Subhash Gatade, Writer and Activist

27. Kiran Shaheen, Senior Journalist

28. Jamal Kidwai, Activist, Delhi

29. Sandeep Samwad, Activist, Delhi

30. Dilnawaz Pasha, Journalist

31. Vidya Bhushan Rawat, Activist, delhi

32. Shahnawaz Malik, Journalist

33. Mathew Jacob & Anupam Kishore, HRLN

34. Syed Hassan Kazim, Journalist

35. Xavier Dais, Activist, Ranchi

Iqbal Ahmed, Journalist and many others.

This joint public statement, signed by 34 citizens whose names are given at the end, was put out on 25 January 13.

While one may or may not agree with the terminology employed by the Home Minister in his recent speech at Jaipur, we feel that for long prejudice has ruled investigations, obscuring the role of organizations and their multiple affiliates in planning and executing of attacks and bombings in the country. The veneer of ‘nationalism’ — narrow, exclusionary and based on hatred for minorities as it is– cannot hide the violence that Sangh and its affiliates beget and peddle.

Civil rights groups have been arguing for long that the investigations into bomb blasts and terror attacks have degenerated into communal witch-hunts. Bomb blasts are followed predictably by mass arrests of Muslim youth, raids in Muslim-dominated localities, detentions, arrests and torture; media trials, charge sheets and prosecution based on custodial confessions and little real evidence. It has been assumed, and accepted widely, that no further proof of guilt need be offered than the fact that the accused belonged to a particular community. Leads which pointed to the hands of groups affiliated to Sangh organisations and their complicity in planning and executing acts of terror were ignored, never seriously pursued. The agencies, showing their abject bias, instead chose to pursue the beaten track of investigating Islamic terrorist organizations such—despite clear evidence pointing in the opposite direction. This was true of Nanded blasts in 2006, as well as of Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Sharif bombings.

The only exception was Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare, who had, as far back as 2008 conclusively brought into the public domain the nefarious designs of Abhinav Bharat and its foot soldiers of hate: (Sadhvi) Pragya Singh of the ABVP, serving army officer Col. Purohit, and Sunil Joshi, Indresh and Swami Aseemanand belonging to the RSS. Karkare had communicated to the Hyderabad Police the sensational claim by Col. Purohit that he had procured RDX from an army inventory when he was posted in Jammu and Kashmir in 2006. The Hyderabad Police however ignored his messages, having already detained close to 70 youth belonging to the Muslim community.

We demand that:

· Although the Indian government has belatedly acknowledged the heinous terrorist acts of the Sangh groups we feel that a genuine probe must also perforce encompass a thorough enquiry into the terror nexus straddling Abhinav Bharat, RSS, VHP, BJP and Bajrang Dal leaders together with sections of the Indian intelligence and security agencies who deliberately subverted the probes as well as the due process of law.

· It must also be investigated whether the network of Hindutva terrorists have been provided not just political but also financial and logistical support by various governments

· There must be a thorough investigation into the foreign sources of funding of the Hindutva organizations.

We hope that the acknowledgement of Hindutva terror will not remain a statement only but that the investigations will be seriously and sincerely pursued.

Signatories

1. Manisha Sethi and Ahmed Sohaib, Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association

2. Shabnam Hashmi, Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD)

3. Mahtab Alam, Writer and Activist, Delhi

4. Mansi Sharma, Activist, Delhi

5. Subhash Gatade, Activist and Author, Godse’s Children: Hindutva Terror in India

6. Rajeev Yadav, Adv. Mohd. Shoaib and Shahnawaz Alam, Rihai Manch, UP

7. Amit sen Gupta, Senior Journalist, Delhi

8. Abu Zafar, Journalist, Delhi

9. Harsh Kapoor, South Asian Citizens Web

10. Seema Mustafa, Senior Journalist, Delhi

11. Ram Puniyani, Activist and Author, Mumbai

12. Sukumar Muralidharan, Senior Journalist

13. Syed Zafar Mehdi, Journalist

14. Dr. John Dayal, All India Christian Council

15. Prof. Kamal Mitra Chenoy, JNU

16. Navaid Hamid, Member, National Integration Council, GoI

17. Prof Anuradha Chenoy, JNU

18. Saba Naqvi, Senior Journalist, Delhi

19. Wilfred Dcosta, Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF)

20. Harsh Dobhal, Human Rights Law Network (HRLN)

21. Kaviata Krishnan, All India Progressive Women Association (AIPWA)

22. Badri Raina, Author and former Prof. Delhi University

23. Prof. Mohan Rao, JNU

24. Dr. Peggy Mohan, Linguist and Author

25. Dr. MMP Singh, Janwadi Lekhak Sangh

26. Dr. Rekha Awasthi, Author

27. Asad Zaidi, Three Essays Collective

28. Subodh Lal, Activist and Author

29. Shereen Ratnagar, Historian

30. Ashok Vajpeyi, Author

31. K N Panikkar, Historian and Author

32. Prof. Jairus Banaji, Historian

33. Vinay Bhatt, Activist

34. Shaheen Nazar, Senior Journalist