Saturday, February 23, 2013

Securing Communalism

Prakash Katoch.

“The Army has once again strongly rejected calls for raising new "single-class" units like the Gujarat, Kalinga, Dalit, Ahir, Paswan or Tribal regiments as well as attempts to tinker with its "time-tested" regimental system. The policy since Independence is not to raise any new regiment on the basis of a particular class, creed, community, religion or region but to have a force in which all Indians have representation. This is the well-defined position of both the Defence Ministry and Army." This is part of a text that appeared in prominent dailies in India one January morning under the title “Army rejects calls to raise new units based on caste or religion”. What was not clarified anywhere was the question as to who was raising such calls. The fact that the text was identical indicates media were handed over a prepared press release. The question is who gave it to the press - PRO of the Defence Ministry or the Principal Information Officer to the Government of India? There were some calls of this nature by some erratic politicians few years back but certainly none in recent past. Therefore, the timing of this press release speaks volumes; when communal barbs are being fired by politicians on daily basis with approaching general elections.

Being without political leanings amongst thousands of colleagues who have served in an apolitical army, one is dismayed at the political skullduggery played over the years plunging the country deeper and deeper into the vortex of communalism. It does not matter if the country gets divided further on caste and creed basis as long as the politicians / political parties can increase their vote banks and remain in power with more money flowing into already overflowing coffers. It does not matter which way the endgame is played for achieving this objective – mafias, scams, money, media manipulation, muscle, intimidation, murders, mayhem, you name it. Everything and anything is saleable – morals, integrity, ethics, the works. It gets worse and worse despite the fact that most Indians are able to read in between the lines and discern what the ground situation is. Ironically, the polity knows this as well but continues working on the same wavelength, pinning their hopes on the over 72 percent rural vote bank. What they fail to realize is that the IT and TV revolution is making the rural voter wiser by the day. This was evident during the last UP elections in the reverses that the Congress suffered despite putting all its might behind it on unprecedented levels to woo certain communities.  

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde came up with a dramatic statement in the New Year that the BJP and RSS were running terrorist training camps, much to the glee of Hafiz Saeed who certainly seems to have overawed Shinde. Shinde was earlier heard referring to Hafiz Saeed as “Shri Saeed” in Parliament despite this radical mullah holding open anti-India rallies in Pakistan and wanted in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. Shinde’s allegations against BJP and RSS were accompanied with ample TV coverage including him wearing a hat replete with badge of Central Armed Police Forces boss. Expectedly there was uproar in the BJP and RSS who called for their organizations to be banned if the allegation were true. Hafiz Saeed was ecstatic with the PMI (Pakistani military-ISI) laughing all the way home. Saeed even called upon UN to take note and probe the charges. What no one asked Shinde is that if the BJP and RSS are running terrorist training camps in the country, what the hell has he done about them as Home Minister, why these camps were not attacked and destroyed with all the might under his disposal, did he know their location in the first place or was it his buddy Hafiz Saeed who had passed on this intelligence to him? Is Shinde proving his impotence by making such statement without any action or it is just an utterly irresponsible statement to fool the voters under some weird logic?  

Maloy K Dhar, former Joint Director, Intelligence Bureau writes in his book ‘Open Secrets – India’s Intelligence Unveiled’ that two years before the demolition of Babri Masjid every BJP and RSS meeting was secretly videotaped and audio-taped under orders of the Congress High Command. It stands to logic that this practice has continued ever since. So, with this type of surveillance, how come Shinde does not know the location of BJP, RSS run terrorist training camps and hasn’t acted against them? Additionally, the Congress Government under Prime Minister Narsimha Rao is equally to blame for the Babri Masjid demolition being privy to all happenings and planning within BJP and RSS since two years prior to the incident. Congress can certainly not deflect total blame on Kalyan Singh, then BJP Chief Minister of UP.  If the Congress was truly a secular party, as they claim, they should have refused Kalyan Singh’s later entry into Congress instead of welcoming him.     

Politicians in India are actually securing communalism, Congress being no exception. A senior Chinese politician rightly stated that while China built the future of its next generation in schools and education, India was developing the future of its young in Mandir, Masjid and Gurudwaras. Consequently, reservations are expanding at enormous pace in India with ability sacrificed. Shinde’s deliberate communal remark actually matches his incompetence and that of his ministry in dealing with internal security, which should actually be his bread and butter. Paradoxically even Chidambaram, his predecessor, had stated in 2010 that the Maoist insurgency will be resolved in two-three years. This he reportedly said quoting ‘government sources’ as if he himself belongs to Timbuktu. Gross ineptitude of the government in handling the Maoist insurgency, which is heading towards monumental crisis with support from China and Pakistan, requires no elaboration.    

New catches by NIA reportedly emerged in the Samjhauta Express blast case, perfectly synchronized with Rehman Malik’s recent visit (invited against bureaucratic advice not to do so) and his insulting remarks equating 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks to Babri Masjid demolition and branding Abu Jundal an Indian agent. Yet, a grinning Shinde grasped his hand without rebutting the fellow, Manmohan Singh still entertained Malik and a tame Shinde later told Parliament Malik was “ill informed”. These catches of alleged ‘Hindu terrorists’ were made despite US investigators clearly blaming the LeT and Al Qaeda for the Samjhauta blast. If CBI can be pressurized what is great about NIA? B. Raman, former Additional Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat wrote in 2010, “According to American investigators the LeT and Al Qaeda were responsible for the Samjhauta Express blast and the HUJI for the Mecca Masjid blast. If the American investigators, who have better sources in Pakistan, are correct, how can our investigators claim that some arrested Hindus were responsible for these incidents? Justice and fair play demand a thorough investigation into the two different versions that have emerged from Indian and American investigators but this is hardly possible with the government hell bent on capitalizing on communalism any which way. 

A dispassionate look at the Godhra incident of 2002 makes it clear that the start point for the riots was a railway bogey full of 58 Hindu pilgrims including 25 women and 15 children were attacked by a 900 strong Muslim mob and burnt alive. In the riots that followed, 790 Muslims and 254 more Hindus were killed and 223 people went missing. Certainly it was a despicable episode but what triggered burning the railway bogey to initiate the riots and on whose orders? The BJP is openly accusing that Congressmen led this 900 strong frenzied mob that burned to death the hapless pilgrims to death and the Congress has not countered it, so what do you make of it – another act of criminalization of politics? And yet, the media blitz by the Congress of claims to be the most secular party!   

Look at the current dispensation in India and you see what shades of political terrorism are; casteism and communalism on the rise, cultural terrorism, financial terrorism et al. Congress tried its level best to implicate Modi in the Gujarat riots but actually has failed to do so despite massive smear campaigns both at home and abroad. This continues to date despite the world acknowledging Gujarat’s incredible development model and which the Congress is loath to admit. That the Congress is unaware of the ground situation was quite clear from the door they were shown by even majority Muslims in both UP and Gujarat elections. Though blacked out in media, Congress has just received the severest jolt pn the recent municipal elections in Gujarat with Muslims voting en bloc for BJP. The fact is that the nation is craving for development and upping the communal card is not going to cover up the loot that the population has been and is being subjected to, with fresh scams hitting the UPA on daily basis. Scams apart, what the government has never discussed in Parliament issues areclike financial mishandling (read misappropriation) piling up to yearly subsidies to dangerous levels of some Rupees five lakh crores (over US$ 90 billion), prices still rising rapidly, only small percentage of subsidies reaching ground level, only four lakh individuals declaring their annual income above Rupees 20 lakhs, to mention some. The Congress is naïve if it appreciates victory purely playing the communal card albeit with weight of money power, CBI, post retirement promises to judiciary and ironically another robot to head the country.  

View the Gujarat Riots in conjunction with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in India post Indira Gandhi’s assassination. More than 3000 Sikhs were massacred in northern India including publicly in the heart of Delhi and surrounding areas, with their properties burnt. There were instances where Sikhs, including uniformed military personal, were pulled out from trains and brutally killed. The mobs were organized and openly led by Congressmen. Wikipedia quotes CBI in stating that in their opinion, the acts of violence were well organized with support from the then Delhi police officials and the central government headed by Indira Gandhi’s son, Rajiv Gandhi. Rajiv, who was sworn in as the Prime Minister after his mother's death, when asked about the riots said "when a big tree falls, the earth shakes". Of course there was a sham inquiry that followed. View Rajiv’s statement in the backdrop of Congress efforts to link Modi with the Gujarat riots and you can draw your own conclusions about who was more secular or communal. Yet Modi is portrayed as hardcore communalist to gullible foreign audiences and the Gujarat development compared to Hitler’s corporate world. 

The communal card is irrelevant where farmers continue to commit suicide because they have little relief, as exposed by the recent ‘fertilizer scam’ and the ‘farmers loan waiver scam’. The High Court has already stated the Centre had no authority to allocate coal blocks. Shiela Dixit, Delhi’s Chief Minister has been exposed charging double the electricity tariffs than what is required, obviously collecting moolah for next elections including contributing to higher central coffers. Shiela Dixit incidentally made the remarkable discovery that a family of five can live ‘comfortably’ for a complete month in Rupees 600 ($ 10.94), declaring it openly – surpassing even Montek’s genius of Rupees 32 ($ 0.58) a day for a below poverty line Delhi citizen. The continuing hike in petrol and diesel prices is publicized to reduce subsidy but is being poured into another massive yearly subsidy to the tune of Rupees 95,000 crores (excluding at least another 30-40,000 crores for infrastructure) as Food Security Bill, only a small percentage of which will reach ground level. Already, plenty food reserves under the Food Corporation of India are rotting without cover or without turnover. Incidentally, future food grain prices (some on five year basis) are reportedly auctioned out to big business houses; the type that can lend you private jets for foreign trips amongst other things. That is the reason, prices will never be controlled. Already many small scale industries have shut shop with gross imbalance in the India-China trade and cheap Chinese goods flooding the Indian markets. Wall-mart bribe of Rupees 125 crores for entering India is no more secret. With Wall-mart stores having around 80-90 percent Chinese goods, the Indian hosiery industry will be the next casualty. The much hyped Aadhar Card is now questioned by government ministers. The direct subsidy scheme will turn into another scam with hordes of poor without a bank account. For those that do have a bank account, whose door should they knock on if the subsidy is not credited and in what time frame and at what expense should they expect arbitration? 

Vote banking has overtaken every other form of banking and money laundering tops all agendas. The GFI study (Co-authored by GFI Lead Economist Dev Kar and GFI Economist Sarah Freitas) titled “Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2001-2010”, released in December 2012 says illegal financial outflows from India during this period amounted to $123 billion (annual average of $12.3 billion). So, isn’t it best to play up the communal card and divert attention by playing on passions and religious fervor?

In addition to the communal card, the original plan of Congress for replacing Manmohan by Anthony has undergone change with accent shifted to dynasty politics, should the communal plank fail. Hence, while sidekicks are openly declaring that the next election is a fight between ‘Secularism and Communalism’, a reluctant Rahul Gandhi is being draped with the leadership mantle, with more sidekicks declaring Modi is only a Gujarat leader and can hardly match a national level leader like Rahul Gandhi. The Congress is apparently unaware of issues questioning Rahul Gandhi’s political achievements and capacity, extremes in corruption presided over by the government, Vadra’s business dealings and even the Ghandy-Gandhi controversy blitzekrieging the internet.   

India has witnessed criminalization of politics in generating the ULFA and Bodo insurgencies and the creation of Bhindranwale – all pointing to the Congress. In the current context, Hardcore Hurriyat members are given visas to travel to Pakistan and meet Hafiz Saeed. Hurriyat’s Geelani is permitted to continue with his anti-India venom through his Facebook page and the IB continues to fund the Hurriyat without reference to the army. The Popular Front of India (PFI) headquartered in Kerala that has proven links with Al Qaeda and LeT since past four years and has armed itself against the Indian State is not even listed in the 35 banned terrorist organizations by the MHA. There would have been no action against the likes of Akbaruddin Owaisi and his brother if the media had not taken up the issue vigorously.  

On the lighter side, Congress can claim absolute secularism in choosing the President of the country. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (Muslim) was made President despite his reportedly intimate involvement in enforcing the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) (IMDT) Act of 1983 by the Indira Gandhi government on pretext of providing ‘special protection’ to illegal migrants from Bangladesh, absorbing them and reducing Assam to a Hindu minority state by the time this Act was struck down by the Supreme Court of India in 2005. Zail Singh (Sikh) was made President despite him dining, wining, arming and financing terrorists in his own house as Home Minister of the country and now Pranab Mukherjee (Hindu) has been made President for services rendered in plunging India into deep financial abyss (US$ 90 billion annual subsidy and rising prices - no mean achievement) aside from presiding over numerous scams that give the ruling party unlimited money power to buy votes, politicians and political parties en-bloc. Pranab was also the Defence Minister when the now scam strapped VVIP Helicopter Deal was signed but can hardly be quizzed with immunity as President, nor can anyone question the two stalwarts whose names figure in media but sit pretty as Governors. But this is not the first time. There is another fellow whom the IB was onto for having purportedly taken a massive 22 million euro in the ill fated Eurocopter deal but was sent off as Governor to northeast post haste with Congress blessings. Hopefully, they will meet what they deserve in due course of time but perhaps the time has come for the media and public to look at this issue of immunity seriously. 

While Pakistan eulogizing Hafiz Saeed is understandable with G Parthasarthy, former Ambassador to Pakistan, confirming Pakistan Army has a pathological hatred towards India, individuals in India openly talking of secession and inciting communalism confirms the resolve of our government to keep communalism on the boil in perpetuity, added advantage being to divert attention from the massive corruption that is being continuously engineered.  It remains to be seen which way the over 65 percent population of India in 35 years and below age group will tolerate disgraceful communalistic antics of politicians. The mood of youth of nation is certainly for development.

Prakash Katoch is a veteran Special Forces Lieutenant General.



1 comment:

  1. Sovereignty and corruption are incompatible. Ergo, corruption is treason. No Army can be a cultural exception to the rulers who operate it or the Nation from which it springs. Democracy and inequality under law are incompatible. Ergo, India's "Animal Farm" Constitution replete with the likes of Article 31B and Schedule 9 needs to be scrapped. Those who serve the people cannot be their masters. India can never be a Democracy unless India's Ruling Scum are put in their place. When politics and money are allowed to trump law and facts, you have bazaars in lieu of Courts of Law. Till 1947, universal primary and secondary education was a priority. Travancore, Mysore and Baroda beat the Empire in these metrics. Post 1947, education was obliterated to the benefit of India's ruling scum. Otherwise, Plato's Dialogues and Gobbon;s "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" might have been more widely read to infer the future of India. Like a low intensity war, India is going through an inexorable low intensity revolution with Maoists gaining ground from their present strong hold of eight states while those who study the Quran (The Talibs) are fanning their own flames. Only the erection of guillotines at every street corner with empowered citizen's committees that start their drum beats with India's corrupt ruling scum can now protect India's sovereignty and turn it into a "Democratic Republic"