April is the cruelest month
Is there a method in the madness?
By Mayank Jain
The new realities of the much hyped ?peace process? in the year 2003 had no place for anything that could ?hurt? Pakistani feelings. ?One hardly noticed the Indian public paying homage in remembrance of the approximate one thousand officers and jawans of the Indian Army who laid down their lives to uphold India?s honour and dignity,? wrote Dr. Subhash Kapila of the South Asia Analysis Group.
Recently, I quizzed some students of journalism about the dates of the Ayodhya, Delhi, Bangalore and Varanasi terror attacks. Many of them replied rather vaguely. Contrast this with the American attitude. See how they converted 9/11 into an international brand name. Its very mention evokes images of suicide bombers, planes and Islamic terrorism. No wonder, there has not been a single terrorist attack on the American soil after September 11, 2001. Far from deliberately memorising and commemorating terror anniversaries in India, we just escape by pretending that we have learnt to live with these attacks! The heroes and the victims of terrorism keep on fading away from our memories. The least we can do is to remember anniversaries of terror events; this will sharpen our resolve to fight the menace.
Most Indians have already forgotten Rupin Katiyal, the hero of the IC-814 plane hijacked to Kandahar. After stabbing the 25-year-old man, the hijackers ordered other passengers to watch him bleed to death. Has anyone of us ever cared to do anything worthwhile for Rupin?s near and dear ones? And, what did we do to the brave Punjab Police officers who stamped Khalistani terrorism out of Punjab? Far from bestowing them with honour, we encouraged scores of human rights organisations to file cases against them. We demoralised them, entangled them in a web of cases and pushed them to suicide.
The Kargil War heroes were almost forgotten by the fourth war anniversary. The new realities of the much hyped ?peace process? in the year 2003 had no place for anything that could ?hurt? Pakistani feelings. ?One hardly noticed the Indian public paying homage in remembrance of the approximate one thousand officers and jawans of the Indian Army who laid down their lives to uphold India?s honour and dignity,? wrote Dr. Subhash Kapila of the South Asia Analysis Group.
In the ever-enlarging matrix of terror incidents in India, the date ?April 18, 2001? is yet to get the special attention it deserves. This is the date of the brutal killings of 16 BSF personnel at Boraibari, Manakachar, Assam, along the Indo-Bangladesh border. The anniversary was ?marked? by the Bangladesh Rifles last year?just two days in advance. They brutally murdered Jeevan Kumar, a BSF officer, on the Tripura border. According to a press release of the then DG, BSF, R.S. Mooshahary, ?This incident happened on 16th April 2005 when BSF & BDR were having talks at Dhaka. The late Shri Jeevan Kumar, Asstt Comdt was in sports gear and unarmed.The gruesome act of torture was visible on the dead body of the late Shri Jeevan Kumar, who was shot from close range.?
B. Raman, the famous security expert, reminds us of another incident in Dhaka just four days before the killings of 16 BSF personnel: ?On April 14, 2001, a bomb exploded at an open-air concert in Dhaka, killing at least nine people and wounding nearly 50. The concert was part of celebrations marking the Bengali new year. The Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) had been campaigning against the celebration of the Bengali new year on the ground that it was un-Islamic.?
According to statistics, April happens to be a favourite season for the Bangladeshi Islamic fundamentalists to unleash terror not only against India on the border but also against the hapless minorties within their own country. The Bengali and Assamese New Year (Bihu) falls on April 15 and April 14 happens to be the Bengali and Assamese New Year eve. The first day of the bihu is called Goru Bihu or cow bihu, where the cow are washed and worshipped, which falls on the last day of the previous year, usually on April 14. This is followed by Manuh (human) Bihu on April 15, the New Year Day. There is a likely connection between these dates and the terrorist attacks because of the JeI campaign against celebrations in this period.
Way back in 1992, it was on April 10, 1992, that the ?Logong massacre? took place in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Seventeen members of the Congress of the United States sent a letter to PM Begum Khaleda Zia on November 13, 1992. ?According to reliable reports, on April 10, 1992, the town of Logong in the Chittagong Hill Tracts was surrounded by Bengali settlers accompanied by paramilitary forces. The inhabitants of the town were systematically murdered. Military officials in Khagrachari admit to over 130 dead; estimates from the Amnesty International and human rights organisations in Bangladesh range up to 600 or more. Eyewitness reports say that the entire village was burned to the ground.?
Every year in the month of April some of the Bangladeshi newspapers carry numerous stories of rape, plunder and killings of minorities.
On April 17, 2002, at 10 PM, Ali, a cadre of Jamaat-e-Islami raped Dr. Sachidananda?s wife (The Daily Janakantha, April 2002).
On April 21, 2002, internationally known Buddhist monk Gnyan Jyoti Mahastabir was hacked to death in a Buddhist monastery/ orphanage in Hingla, Chittagong, Bangladesh (Bangladesh, A Portrait of Covert Genocide).
On April 18, 2003, Good Friday, there was an attack on Bonpara Mission, Natore, leaving ten people injured (Rosaline Costa, Hotline Human Rights Bangladesh).
On April 2, 2004, there was a huge arms seizure near the Chittagong Port in southern Bangladesh. According to Indian intelligence, the cache included 1,790 rifles (Uzi sub-machine guns and those of the AK series), 150 rocket launchers, 840 rockets, 2,700 grenades and more than ten lakh rounds of ammunition. It is quite possible that the deadly cargo was heading towards the northeastern region in India.
On April 25, 2004, the Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) launched an attack on a traditional Bengali fair at Rajshahi killing a minor and injuring 40 persons.
In India, the barbaric killings of 16 BSF soldiers on April 18, 2001, gave the first indication of ?Bangladesh becoming the next Afghanistan?. April 18, 2001, became a deadly cocktail of the killer month ?April? and the year of terrorism ? ?2001?. This was followed by the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
In October 2001, there was an announcement by the Al Qaeda on the Al Jazeera Television Network that the so-called ?Hindu India? had been added to the target countries of jehad. The reason given by the Al Qaeda spokesman was the ?US support to Hindus against the Muslims of Kashmir?. On October 1, 2001, there was an attack on the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly and the Indian Parliament was attacked on December 13, 2001.
Exactly two years after the attack on the Indian Parliament i.e. on December 13, 2003, Benazir Bhutto made a startling revelation in Hindustan Times Leadership Initiative Conference: ?A joint politico-military decision was taken (by Pakistan) in 1989. The view was that low-intensity operations will help focus attention on Kashmir.? ?Low intensity conflict? is nothing but an euphemism for terrorism. Here was Benazir?s confession that Pakistan was a terrorist state.
Dates, anniversaries and coincidences make interesting analysis. Talking about November 9, 1989, the day on which the shilannyas in Ayodhya and the breaking of the Berlin wall took place, Jay Dubhashi wrote: ?History has its quirks but there is a method behind the madness.?
(The writer is Producer and Director of The Bangla Crescent?ISI, Madrasas & Infiltration.)