On May 31, 2008, a massive gathering of Muslims was held at the historic Ram Lila Ground in Delhi, led by clerics who issued a fatwa against terrorism, which was unanimously accepted. This is a major development, whose significance cannot be under-estimated. The fatwa is especially relevant coming as it does from the Dar-ul-Uloom, India'smost respected Islamic seminary. If one understands its meaning, it is that there are no longer any takers for the jihadi agenda of outside elements within the Muslim community in India which will henceforth work on the theory that its destiny is irrevocably linked with the land of their birth. So far so good. But there are Muslims and Muslims.
There are elements among Muslims who take their orders from Pakistan'sInter Services Intelligence (ISI). There are blind followers of the United Jihad Council (UJC) whose chief, Syed Salahuddin, stationed in Pakistan recently called for renewed offensive against India and openly urged cadres to advance the cause of jihad in Kashmir. Then we have followers of the Bangladesh-based Harkatul Jihadi-e-Islami (HUJI) and the banned Students Islamic Movement of India(SIMI) both of which have been very active in recent times.
The terror challenge has become all the more serious following reports that Pakistan'sISI has made Dawood Ibrahim'sgang ?D-company? to merge with the Lashkar-e-Toiba terror network. It is well-known that Dawood'sgang has a formidable smuggling network in India but Pakistan still refuses to hand over the gangster to India on the plea that his presence in the country is not verifiable. According to M.K.Narayan, National Security Adviser, India'shigh-value oil assets are being targeted by an unholy nexus of the underworld and terrorist groups such as the Jaish-e-Mohammad. Interestingly, the entire Dawood Ibrahim family, according to reports has been awarded high educational qualifications by the ISI to facilitate fake travel documents and visas. Pakistan'sduplicity become evident when it is noted that it has released the Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar from house-arrest and lifted restraint on the Lashkar.
Meanwhile, let it be noted that in the thirteen major blasts since August 2003, about 560 people have been killed and more than thrice the number have been wounded, a clear testimony that terrorism is not yet dead in the country, but, on the other hand, is very much alive. The law moves slowly. It took the country nearly 14 years to get convictions in the 1993 Bombay blasts. There have been virtually no break-throughs in cases of terrorist attacks in Malegaon (September 2006), Samjhauta Express (February 2007), Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad (May 2007), Gokul Chat and Lumbini Park, Hyderabad (August 2007) and the serial bombings in U.P. courts (November 2007). The cycle bombings in Jaipur cost at least 63 lives, forget the number of people injured. All these were professionally planned and it is clear that the terrorists have enough manpower in the country to back their murderous activities.
No doubt, the Grand Mufti of Deoband'sDar-ul-Uloom, Habibur Rehman is aware of all this and feels frustrated. He has taken the first step; the next step is to establish an anti-terrorist network throughout the country and report suspects to the police without delay. Muslim patriots alone can do that; intelligence agencies have their limitations. But the worst enemies of the country are our secularists who would rather turn a blind eye to terrorism then act swiftly to contain it. The Supreme Court had decreed that Mohammad Afzal, the man involved in the murderous attack on Parliament should be hanged. But the UPA government with one eye on the Muslim vote bank has been reluctant to implement law. The condemned man has had enough of solitary confinement and would prefer to be executed and is praying for L.K.Advani to be the next Prime Minister; but the self-styled secularists seem to believe that that would offend Muslim sentiment. Afzal is a criminal who has been found guilty. One may be against capital punishment, but that is another matter.
Not to obey the Supreme Court is to show cowardice and fear of Islamic fundamentalists. We have had enough of secularist double talk. If the government does not implement the Supreme Court decision, what is the Supreme Court for? The time has come to take this matter of minorities seriously. We must stop dividing the country along these lines. It hasn'tin the least helped Muslims. On the other hand they have for all purposes been marginalised because the whole lot has been taken to be sworn enemies of India. In part they have to accept blame because they wanted to be treated as minorities. There are no minorities in India. There are only people. One of the most sensible thing that the BJP government in Karnataka did was to co-opt a leading Muslim into the cabinet. And he has already shown his courage by exposing corruption in handling of wakf properties.
But a more urgent problem is facing the country and that is the recourse to violence taken by people over the silliest of issues. The Gujjars have done incalculable harm to themselves and the country by their behaviour. Their leaders should have been arrested, tried and sentenced to rigourous imprisonment. It is shocking to learn that India'sCorporate Sector has lost over Rs.5,300 crore since May 23 due to Gujjar stir, apart from cancellation of at least 75 trains by the railways. The losses are in addition to the physical damage done to train tracks. Violence should never be tolerated for howsoever right a cause it is supposedly resorted to and punishment must be swift, adequate and drastic. The damage done to public transport in Hubli-Dharwar because shops selling fertilisers had gone out of stock is shocking.
It is now believed that Congressmen were behind this vile exhibition of violence. The idea, apparently, was to embarrass the newly established BJP government right from the start. People take to violence at the slightest or no provocation because it has become the accepted thing in politics, whether at Singur in West Bengal or Samba in Kashmir. That it is not and it must be impressed on every section of society, including Congress adherents. Public property is sacrosanct and anybody who damages it must be made to pay for it by the heaviest punishment possible. It is time our people learn to behave like adults. India is not for burning. And anybody who indulges in it should know that they will not be spared.