Hindu intellectuals’ take on terrorism, serial blasts

By Md. Ali, TwoCircles.net,

Patna: It is not that only Muslims are critical of probes of serial bombings and terrorist attacks in the country and media coverage thereof; there is a big silent majority that includes Hindu intellectuals who have the similar views.

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TwoCircles.net talked to some academicians and intellectuals in Delhi, Patna and Bangalore to get their views on the probes of serial blasts, spread of terrorism, faltering judicial system and vanishing journalistic ethics.

Probe of bombings

R K Dwivedi, a Reader in Delhi University, rejects allegations that only Muslims are involved in every blast and terrorist attack in the country.

“As far as the recent blasts or the terror attack on the Parliament are concerned, tell me, has there been any impartial enquiry,” Dwivedi asks and himself answers in negative.

“Then how can one say that a particular community is involved when none of them have been proved guilty in a court of law except in certain cases on the basis of confessions in the police custody?” he questions adding that it very difficult for us to believe police claims.

Bangalore-based Journalist Shiva Sunder demands thorough probe of all blasts in the country and terrorist attacks starting from the attack on the Parliament.

“All the blasts and attacks right from the attack on the Indian Parliament need to be thoroughly investigated. What is very problematic is that there hasn’t been any judicial enquiry into these blasts, nor has there been any conviction in these cases” Sunder says.

He demands that the Judiciary and Executive should expose the real culprits behind these blasts through impartial investigation but doubts whether the government will ever conduct such enquiries.

Principal of a college in Patna (who wanted to remain anonymous, given his position) says: “As far as the investigation of the recent blasts is concerned what is happening is that the suspicion is being given the status of evidence both by the investigative agencies and the media.” Instead of hard evidence and proofs cases are built on mere suspicion which is more a prejudice and is the result of demonization of a particular community, he says.


Dwivedi is critical of all kinds of terrorism either by religious fanatics or others. He says what Hindutva extremists are doing is a clear case of terrorism and blames them and the media for helping Muslim extremists in legitimizing their share of acts of terror in the name of Islam.

“Whose terrorism are we talking about? One by the Hindutva goons who don’t have anything to do with the Sanatana Dharma that Hinduism is? By RSS, Shiv Sena and their affiliates like VHP and Bajrang Dal who have terrorized all the minorities across the country in the name of Hinduism which ironically is tolerant to the differences and allows diversity of viewpoints?” he asks.

“Or the terrorism by a few people who try to gain legitimacy in the name of Islam as M. J. Akbar talks about in his article “Fasadi, not Jihadi”. And the irony is that it is not the Indian Muslims but the media and the Hindu right wing which provide them legitimacy and recognition by terming it as “Islamic Terrorism,” he argued.

“Terrorism takes birth from injustice and socio-economic oppression to the point when you don’t leave any peaceful means of expressing for any group or individual to express their views, he says.

“But by saying this I am not at all implying that Muslim community is behind these blasts. My precise point is that why there are two rules of law, one for the minority and another for the majority,” he points out.

On the purpose of Hindutva terrorism, he said: “They have their own political interests which they achieve by terrorizing and causing killings of innocent and marginalized minorities as they did in Indore this May or as they have been doing in Karnataka and Orissa for two months. ”

Bangalore-based journalist Shiv Sunar says terrorism is a media generated political term which doesn’t have a generic meaning.

“If it means to terrorise then various Hindutva organizations should also be termed as terrorist organizations,” he says.

“But the point is that it has been put to its selective use only to demonise a particular community. There is a politics in its selective use which is guided by Hindutva interests in the national context,” he argues.

The Patna principal sees deprivation and oppression at the root of terrorism.

“Terrorism breeds when an individual or a group is driven to the point of death and desperation, when s/he is denied their constitutional rights and when one wants to hit back against the socio-economic and sectarian oppression of any group or community by some people. This oppression can be from the majority community, the state or from others,” he says.

Faltering judicial system

“Justice delivery percentage in the 1993 Bombay bomb blasts is more than 95% but it is just 2% when it comes to the 1992-93 Bombay riots,” says Delhi University Reader Dwivedi.

“Why is it that more than 90% culprits have been punished in the Godhra train carnage but when it comes to the subsequent Gujarat pogrom in which the whole state was complicit, it is not punishment that the state government talks about but the guilty Police officers have been promoted? And the justice delivery system is as low as below 5%,” argues Dwivedi.

He also blasted Nanavati Commission report as there was reportedly corruption involved in the process.

Sunder wonders “why Afzal Guru was ordered to be “hanged” by the Supreme Court even when there was not a proper trial. And this judgment was given in “order to satisfy the collective conscience of the society…”

“Are we living in the period of mob justice where it is not the principles of Truth and Justice which rule the judicial system but the collective conscience of society?” he asks.

Political use of terrorism

Dwivedi says: “I don’t see any benefit that the Muslim community will reap out of it (serial bombings) but the political parties who want to create panic and thereby want to polarize the votes of the communities across the nation to reap the electoral gains.” One has to see this in the backdrop of the coming General Election and Assembly elections in many states.

To support his argument he quotes Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and says when an incident happens don’t see who has done that but see who will be benefited by that episode and then you will get a clue to the people who may be behind that incident.

Dwivedi says: “I don’t see any positive sign and the future is going to be of those political Right wing forces who want to rule the country by destroying the communal harmony which is civilization heritage of the Modern India.”

A poster at Mohammad Ali, Mumbai

The Patna principal says: “The political leadership uses the idea of terrorism to panic people across the country and then to make them vote for it out of desperation and sense of insecurity. And the Right wing uses terrorism to demonize a particular community and polarize the communities across the nation for its electoral benefits.”

Media getting biased

The principal of a college in Patna comes down heavily on the media.

“In the whole affairs the role of media, particularly the electronic media is very destructive. Instead of questioning the version of police it presents them as the gospel truth demonizing the people who have been arrested without substantial proofs.”

He sees Australian media’s role as model in the case of Indian doctor Md. Haneef who was accused in Glasgow bombing case.

“It was the Australian media which, instead of accepting the version of the prejudiced Australian police as the Indian media does, investigated the case and exposed the loopholes in the case. And then the entire case collapsed.

He says: “The Indian media has a lot to learn from the Australian media on how to approach the sensitive cases of terrorism. In India Tehelka magazine is doing a great job which again is an exception and holds out many lessons to the media fraternity.”

Delhi University Reader Dwivedi says Muslims initially were not forthcoming in condemning terrorism but even when the entire community and its leaders have come to street to condemn terrorism, the media still gives an impression that the whole community supports terrorism and is behind the blasts.

Sundar says the role of media in combating terrorism is important but the way it is portraying the issue is not correct. The electronic media does its own trial before any judicial trial can take place.

[Photos by Lakshman Anand]