Friday, October 24, 2008

Terrorism is not exclusively Muslim in India: Hindu groups linked to RSS in police net for bomb blasts

The story was known to most of the media-men but nobody dared to break it. For the last few years there was a confirmation that extremist Hindu groups, which may not be directly related to Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) were involved in bomb blasts and attacks on mosques.

Long back it was Shashwat Gupta Ray, who had published the report of brain-mapping test and narco-analysis of Himanshu Panse, an extremist from Maharashtra. He had said that Hindus had to attack mosques and terror strikes were necessary for the cause of Hindutva. He believed that Hindus would be considered eunuchs if they didn't do it.

But this story was not followed up properly. Tehelka report on the Hindutva connection can be read here. There were murmurs about involvement of Bajrang Dal cadre in blasts in Malegaon, Ajmer Dargah, Mecca Masjid of Hyderabad and other places where Muslims were congregating in large numbers.

Still, none of the newspapers thought of it much or shied away from publishing. After the Bajrang Dal grew fiercer and Christians were attacked in Orissa and Karnataka, that some journalists appeared to question their own belief that 'how can a Hindu group be involved in terror' though there were disturbing trends.
After Smita Nair's story was prominently displayed in Indian Express, other papers began to follow it. Until then even major English dailies that have editions in Mumbai, refused to accept it and even told their Delhi offices that it was 'suspicious'.

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur had strong links with ABVP though every Sangh organisation now claims that she severed her links with them long back. With the police for the first time openly accepting that a Hindu organisation is linked with blasts in Malegaon and Modasa, it's time media also need a introspection why there was no serious investigative reporting earlier and why reports published in the past were not followed. Now it's a long trail from Kanpur to Indore and Nanded to Malegaon and beyond.

Still, CNN IBN wrote 'three right wing activists arrested' rather than calling them terrorists or suspected terrorists. Other papers also remained sceptical and gave safe headlines like 'Murder charges on Sadhvi'. Is it fair?

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