India: Where terrorism becomes secularism

Makhdoom BaBar  (Editor-in-Chief)

Yesterday, in a much LOADED ceremony at Indian city of Mumbai, the current head of the most infamous Hindu extremist group, Shiv Sena (Monkey god’s Arm) Uddhav Bal Thackerayy was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra State of India, forging an alliance with main opposition party, the Congress Party. Though the Congress-Shiv Sena alliance was itself a great shock for Congress supporters but it was taken under the mythology of “anything is possible in Indian Politics”. However, the biggest surprise was still to come. It came when on Wednesday, Shiv Sena announced of shifting to secularism, from its decades-old identity and foundation ideology  of defending Hinduism through terrorism, militancy, extremism and what not and what was the only reason for their coming into being and subsistence.

It remains a fact that Congress has always been trying to maintain an image of a political party that opposes religious extremism and believes in secularism. Although, the religious violence against Sikhs in 1984 exposed Congress as being no exception in being far away from secularism, yet the Congress leaders kept surviving on hitting hard at BJP, RSS and Shiv Sena etc for doing politics by spreading religious hatred and for surviving in politics only through targeting minorities.  In fact, top Congress leaders like Digvijay Singh have been unfolding loads of proofs of terrorism by RSS and Shiv Sena after 26.11 Mumbai carnage and terming them as top extremist groups, involved in top degree terrorism. Similarly, no less than the Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi himself has been declaring the Hindu fanatic groups, particularly RSS, Bajrang Dall and Shiv Sena to be the main threats to India’s security. However, despite all this background, if Congress has compromised its reputation and has moved 180 degree away from its ideology and opted to form an alliance with top Hindu extremist organization , it reflects nothing else but that even the Congress has realized that India has been transformed into a Hindi fanatic society and the only way out for political survival is to go by religious extremism with no room for any sort of secularism.

On the other side, Shiv Sena leadership  has also come to the conclusion that Modi doctrine has worked for befooling the global community and the way to get away with every sort of terrorism and extremism is to do all this but under the garb of secularism.

The statistics from recent history reflects that by no virtue or margin, a Hindu extremist outfit like Shiv Sen can even whisper about being a secular group. With such a dirty and filthy past, soaked in blood of terror victims and targets of violence from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, no Hindu fanatic group could even dream of hiding behind the curtain of secularism and in cases of Shiv Sena or RSS, it looks extremely outrageous.

The world is aware that in the very recent past, Shiv Sena’s deceased Chief and founder, Bal Thakeray had publicly pronounced  to setup Hindu suicide squads to target Muslims in India and Pakistan which was actually an admittance of a longstanding policy of Saffron terrorist groups in India. The terrorist activities and training needs of these groups have been closely coordinated by the Indian intelligence agencies particularly RAW, which often relies on Saffron volunteers of these groups to carry out missions with high risk of life.

It remains part of history’s archives that there has been  a long-standing internal feud amongst Hindutva groups vying for ascendancy with each other. Although Bal Thackeray was probably the most popular icon with cultist following amongst the Hindu fanatics yet at times even he showed signs of frustration that this popularity never translated in electoral successes outside his home state of Maharashtra. Much to Thackeray’s annoyance clicked when it came to polls. However, BJP, under Modi doctrine and  through a broader and more organized supporting network of RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal managed to steel electoral success at the cost of Sena. Although, Shiv Sena  remained in coalition with BJP in the Union Government and in the State of Maharashtra, Thakeray was never happy with the portfolios allotted to his party. Bal Thakeray, towards the end of his life, desperately wanted to assume the image of militant Hindutva’s sole champion in a bid to woo many elements in the ranks and file RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal. A former Minister belonging to Shiv Sena in Indian Cabinet, clearly exposed  the actual political sentiments of Shiv Sena in 2003 when he , on-record, stated that  “everyone living in India must either be a Hindu or subservient to Hindus”. Nonetheless, the core members of Shiv Sena continued to feel that time had come  to make this declaration and the doctrine of Hindu Rashstra to become a State policy by formally ending the secular constitutional status of India. Sensing the infuriation of these elements Shiv Sena founder finally let the cat out the bag in a further recruitment drive of Hindu fanatics to his camp by giving an open call for Hindu suicide squads.

It is also on record and on pages of history that General (retd) Premnath Hoon, former Chief of Indian Army’s Western Command, after retirement became Chief of Shiv Sena’s Military Wing with Colonel (retd) Jayant Chitale  as one of his deputies, in imparting training on Hindu fanatic volunteers as well as Lankan Tamil’s for carrying out suicide attacks. Col (retd.) Jayant Chitale also headed the Army Services Selection Board Centre in Pune for several years, where he was able to select Hindutva militant sympathizers for regular commission in the army. Col (retd.) Chitale kept a contact with these recruits who, through normal and sponsored progression in their careers went on to assume many responsible and important posts in the Indian army, finally forming a deadly nexus between Hindu extremists and Indian Army, exposed finally by Maharashtra police’s Anti Terrorism Squad Chief Hemant karkare with serving Lt. Colonel of Indian Army’s Military Intelligence Lt. Col.  Shrikanth Purohit on centre stage. Poor Karkare was though killed by these saffron terrorists in the 26/11 terror episode.

With Background, Shiv Sena’s claims of being a secular outfit and Congress joining hands with Shiv Sena, The Daily Mail believes that in India, secularism has become the new cover for terrorism and that even the political parties, claiming to be the custodians of secularism have submitted to the religious extremism with no hopes of financially motivated global leaders keeping their eyes wide-shut. The Daily Mail also believes that with the episode of Shiv Sena Chief becoming the Chief Minister of the most important province of Maharashtra, with comprehensive political support of the Congress party, one can easily assume that in Indian politics, the order of the day is to gain success on the basis of spreading maximum venom against non-Hindus and to lure voters on the grounds of being stronger religious extremist than others.