India’s jaundiced secularists
By Balbir Punj
17th August 2012 01:03 AM
Nobody would have objected to some Muslim organisations protesting in Mumbai for the violence in Assam that has sent lakhs of the people in Kokrajhar and other adjoining districts into government aided relief camps. However, the protests in Mumbai that flared up into an attack on the police, on the media and ransacking of shops nearby had clearly a communal origin.
In Assam the violence has not been against Muslims alone; it has also been, and right from the beginning, organised against the local Bodo tribals mainly, who then retaliated to save their identity, honour, homes and lives. The targeting of media vans and personnel and the police and the hate speeches at the Mumbai rally betray the pre-planning. The waving of Pakistani flags at the rally and subsequent vandalism of Amar Jawan Jyoti at the CST station underline the anti-national character of the rally.
Most importantly the incident comes right when a major culprit of the 26/11 attack in Mumbai is in the city coughing out the elaborate planning and execution that went into the massacre of innocents. The capture of this culprit, known by different aliases, has been a blow to the Pakistani perpetrators of 26/11 and their Indian support line from the Indian Mujahideen that is waging a war against our country with active prompting and aid from Pakistan.
Creating violence in India by targeting the security forces and media would be the way of these traitors to deflect attention from the so-called Abu Jindal and his confessions and also a way of retaliation against the Indian state. Meanwhile, the linkages of Pakistani ISI to several Indian contacts and entities are rolling out. The Assam violence therefore cannot be seen in isolation, just as the Mumbai violence. The problem, however, is with our central government that fails to see the linkages. It continues to view the planned infiltration into Assam, the ISI working through the Bangladeshi route, especially in the Northeast, the creation of new communal hotspots in states like Meghalaya apart from Assam, the consolidation of orthodoxy leadership among the Muslims, the functioning sharia courts punishing the alleged violators of their law, provoking hartals and violent protests in Kashmir at the drop of a hat, as separate and unconnected events.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi still refuses to see the pattern and the threat India is facing from such organised, planned and abetted pouring in of illegal migrants from mainly one community to change the demographics of his state in specific, of the entire Northeast and other states in the country. For instance, the central government that holds direct responsibility of law and order in Delhi, does nothing to stop the steady stream of Bangladeshi Muslims filing into the national capital and trying to merge with the local community.
The question in Assam, for instance, is not one of mere law and order. Even if Kokrajhar manages to come out of its long nights of violence, would it change the basic pattern of infiltrators from one community squeezing into territories enjoyed for ages by the local Bodos and others?
The entire chain of events where the minority community seeks to impose its dominance cutting through the soft spots of India, raising its numbers through illegal immigration, also appears as a subscript of the enormous pressure Hindus in Pakistan are subject to convert to Islam for fear of summary executions and harassment including threat of execution on flimsy allegations of insulting Islam (especially by quoting the infamous blasphemy law).
Right now there are several Hindu families from Pakistan waiting east of Atari for a nod from the government of India on their application to be citizens of India. The government that invokes human rights elsewhere refuses even to consider a proper shelter for these legal immigrants into India. It is ironical. The government pretends to face problems when it comes to letting Pakistan-based Hindus basic human rights and a long awaited relief by giving them Indian citizenship.
The Congress-led regime has two different criteria when it comes to dealing with the sufferings faced by Muslims and Hindus. It lets the Hindus from Pakistan remain in the trishanku region but goes out of its way to protect the Muslims illegally entering India from Bangladesh. It refuses to shed even a tear for the plight of the Pandits of Kashmir driven out of their ancestral homes and hearths and living in Indian cities by street vending.
Muslim leaders in India swear by secularism. However, that luxury is denied to minorities in Muslim majority countries anywhere. In Pakistan, Hindus have been reduced from 15 per cent at the time of Partition to less than 2 per cent now and even they also want to leave as the appeal of the some 300 Hindus who came recently reveals.
Even among Muslims in Pakistan the Sunni majority does not let other sects of Muslims live in peace. Some of them like Ahmadiyyas have been denied even recognition as Muslims by the Sunnis. That is the pattern in all of West Asia. In Saudi Arabia it is minority Shias who have no civic rights. In Shia-majority Iran the victims are the Bahais and Sunnis.
No wonder that in Mumbai there is an eruption of violence of unprecedented dimensions and brutality. The communal victimhood mindset displayed at the Mumbai protest is in a country where the proportion of Muslims have been steadily increased since Partition. In Assam itself as many as 11 districts are now Muslim majority districts according to census figures.
As a footnote one may add that after last Saturday’s violence so-called secularists who otherwise talk of Gujarat 2002 day-in and day-out have gone on a long vow of silence; even they do not have the courage to denounce the targeted attack on the TV vans and journalists. Their cowardice doubts standards in public life, as much as their prejudices are showing.
Balbir Punj is a BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member.
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