It’s time we focus on the growing right-wing terrorism

Till about recently, it was almost a taboo to talk of right-wing terror! It was one of those much-in-circulation theories, that only Muslims could indulge in the acts of terror

 It’s time we focus on the growing right-wing terrorism

Humra Quraishi

Last week’s killings of fifty worshippers in two mosques in New Zealand by a man with Right-Wing leanings, once again reaffirmed the fact that right-wing terrorists are not just lurking around, but even seem laced with that crazy level of confidence to go ahead streamlining massacres on social sites!

The terrorist involved in these killings is an Australian citizen, and it took no time for the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, to not just confirm this fact (that the killer, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, is an Australian citizen) whilst describing him as "an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist.”

In fact, this is not the first time that the right-wing terror has so very blatantly hit on the international level. In 2011, 92 innocents were killed by a 32-year-old right-wing terrorist, Anders Breivik, in Oslo.

And in our country there’s little dearth of the so called ‘proofs’ that right-wing terror is not just flourishing but expanding, with the direct or indirect support or involvement or encouragement of the right-wing rulers of the day. Yet, there is little outcry, even as news reports are laced with facts that Hindutva brigades are openly holding arms training camps to attack the other! Also, the private senas or goon brigades are creating havoc, targeting the minority communities on any given alibi.

In fact, till about very recently, it was almost a taboo to talk of right-wing terror! It was one of those much-in-circulation theories, that only Muslims could indulge in acts of terror. It was almost taken for granted that if there was a blast somewhere, it had to be the handiwork of a Muslim group and with that hundreds of innocents were detained or arrested and thrown into jails. In all probability, they still sit jailed.

Even before police investigations take off in the cases of blasts or killings, names of Muslim outfits get splashed on television channels and also in sections of the print media. The ‘experts’ of the day come out with their communally laced comments.

In the summer of 2006, when within minutes of the Mumbai train blasts (in July 7,2006), even before the police could ascertain the mechanisms used for those blasts, the television channels screamed that Muslim organisations or Muslim individuals were behind those blasts!

And two months after the Mumbai train blasts of 2006, when members of SIMI were projected as suspects, Irfan Ahmad of the 'Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World' wrote a hard-hitting piece in the Times of India (September 25, 2006). I quote from it- "Don't blame SIMI- There is little evidence to suggest that the Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) is involved in plotting terrorist attacks. Yet, after the horrendous Mumbai blasts that claimed 200 lives, SIMI is being looked upon as one of the perpetrators. The media's portrayal of SIMI as a terrorist outfit is misplaced, if not Islamophobic. A closer look at SIMI bears this out. In 1996 SIMI had only 413 as core members called ansar. In 2002 the number of ansar was well below 1000. However, the print media, particularly the Hindi papers gave the impression that they are in thousands. Those who call SIMI a terrorist outfit conveniently overlook the anti-Muslim character of Hindu nationalist forces, which pushed SIMI into radicalising itself for reasons of self-defence. SIMI is supposed to have links with foreign jehad organizations; the focus shifts to Pakistan, while conditions at home are overlooked. Muslims are stigmatized as quislings of the Indian nation. This does not suggest that SIMI may not have foreign connections. But the fact is that SIMI radicalization-a post Babri phenomenon- is predominantly indigenous. Radicalization does not mean acts of violence, rather, it is a radical language of self-defence. SIMI radicalization increased after the Hindu nationalists came to power in the late 1990s. SIMI likened LK Advani to Abu Jehel, the man who routinely tortured Prophet Muhammad…”

Another connected fact that needs to be highlighted is this: though invariably the victims of terror attacks in our country are from the minority communities yet they are portrayed as the accused! If you would recall when blasts shock Malegaon in September 8, 2006, not a single name of a right-wing political outfit was mentioned. Though the majority of the 40 persons killed in the Malegaon blasts were Muslims and that too on a day of religious significance for the Muslims (Shab-e-Raat) yet no needle of suspicion moved towards right-wing outfits. The role of Hindutva outfits, including that of the Bajrang Dal was not initially probed. This, when reports stated that Bajrang Dal had been training its cadres in gun shooting and also in the making of bombs. Ironically, the immediate ‘culprits’ named were Muslim groups. Why were the Bajrang Dal members not named when all indicators were enough to portray them responsible for the Malegaon blasts?

I am quoting from this report from The Milli Gazette - dated 11 September 2006;

“Muslim leaders and liberal opinion in India are suspecting Hindu extremist hand behind the recent bombings of a mosque/qabristan in Malegaon in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. A corpse with a fake beard was discovered by Muslims while lifting dead bodies killed in the blasts. The police in Malegaon immediately took over that particular body and claimed to have sent it to Nasik the same day. Next day, September 10, it denied that any such body was ever found. The news of the discovery was carried by Delhi's Urdu daily Hindustan Express on September 9. The same paper the following day carried the Malegaon police's denial of the same. Urdu daily Inquilab of Mumbai carried the following report on 11 September. Here is an English translation of the report: "Malegaon 10 Sept (Inquilab correspondent): The dead body of a man who was wearing a fake beard and had died in the bomb blasts of Malegaon has mysteriously disappeared. His body was badly mutilated and the lower part was completely missing. Aqeel Ahmed, a 37-year-old tailor from Islampura area of Malegaon, says that he had himself moved the dead body of this man into the ambulance van when his [fake] beard came off. Inquilab’s correspondent visited the mortuary along with Aqeel Ahmed. When he asked Aqeel Ahmed to identify the dead body, he said that the body in question was not there. The medical officer of Malegaon Municipal Corporation Dr Vagh said that post-mortem had been carried on 30 corpses in Wadia Hospital and one body was autopsied in Dholia Hospital but none of them was without legs. It should be noted that Aqeel said to have himself moved into the ambulance van a dead body that did not have the lower part. According to Aqeel, at that time he did not pay much attention to this but realised the significance only later. This revelation links these blasts to the explosions in the house of a RSS member in Malegaon from where fake beards were discovered. Police say that they do not have any such information. However, if an eyewitness comes forward, investigation will be launched into the fake beard." [Inquilab, Mumbai, 11 September 2006]

Shockingly, this dark reality continues to this day. One case after another, where right -wing terror striking men and women go about scot-free, if not let loose. It’s time we focus on the growing right-wing terrorism and the havoc its been unleashing.

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Published: 22 Mar 2019, 9:00 PM