Fundamentalism is an issue which is always detrimental to the progress and development of any society. Whether it is political or religious or social, it ultimately jeopardises the very unity and welfare of the society and the nation. Now, what we face in India and world over is Islamic fundamentalism. Talibanism, Al-Qaedaism, etc. are the faces of Islamic fundamentalism in international arena. In India, we do face several Islamic outfits with fundamental ideas and modus operandi. In most cases, the circumstances and the statements of the accused give ample proof to believe that they are hand-in-glove with international terrorist outfits like Pakistan’s ISI or Lashkar-e-Taiba, etc. Root cause of the Islamic fundamentalism is the monotheism; they cannot tolerate people who worship Gods other than what they believe in. That is why temple breaking came on top of Islamic rulers’ agenda.
Islamic fanatic and fundamental onslaught has been upsetting the peaceful social life in Kerala since Tippu Sultan’s time (1789 onwards). When the Mysore invader led his conquest to Kerala forceful conversions, destruction of temples, massacres, etc. were the order of day. Then came the Moppilah riots (Khilafat movement) of 1921. It was the expanded repetition of Tippu’s merciless campaign. It is said that more than 10,000 Hindus were killed and more than 20,000 underwent forceful conversion into Islam.
Again, in 1971, Thalassery witnessed an Islamic attack on Hindus following stoning a temple festival procession. It was so severe that Government of Kerala took several days before they could quell it. Later on it was revealed that all major political parties exploited it for the sake of Muslim vote-bank. Since Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the soft face of Muslim politics in Kerala, has been always either a ruling party or a partner of principal Opposition group in Kerala Assembly all Muslim organisations could take maximum advantage.
In Kerala, Islamic Sevak Sangh (ISS), founded by Abdul Nasser Madani in 1991, has contributed a major share towards the rise of the fundamentalism in the state. Muslim youths were trained and initiated into violent methods and politics. ISS influence in southern districts of Kerala led to lot of violence in those places. Once it was banned, Madani revived it under a new banner – People’s Democratic Party (PDP). During the early 1990s, before and after Ayodhya demolition, lot of Hindus, their houses and institutions were attacked. Four Hindus were killed in Kochi itself. Later on Madani was arrested in connection with the infamous Coimbatore blasts, aimed at killing LK Advani, resulted in the death of 58 people; more than 200 people were injured in that blast. When he was in Coimbatore jail for about 9 years, Kerala’s political parties, except for BJP, irrespective of the color of their flags raised their voice for the release of Madani. And, MLAs of Kerala assembly, cutting across party lines, passed a unanimous resolution urging the concerned authorities to grand parole to Madani. In another words, both the CPM and the Congress and their respective coalition partners joined hands for the sake of Islamic fundamentalism and its Kerala champion ! CPM conveniently forgot that there were allegations against Madani for conspiring to kill their senior leader and two time CM EK Nayanar. Allegations were there against his colleagues for plotting to kill P Parameshwarji, senior RSS pracharak.
When he was in jail, a Tamil Nadu Transport Corporation bus was hijacked near Kochi and set to fire. The charge was that it was a protest against Jayalalithaa Government for jailing Madani for Coimbatore case. Madani was again arrested in connection with the conspiracy for Bengaluru blast; he was arrested during BJP regime in Karnataka. But, even after the Congress rule came, Government is not ready to turn soft; on the other hand Congress regime gives affidavit to the court, against the bail petition, with stronger arguments against him than BJP Government said.
In this context, Maraadu (Kozhikode district, Kerala) incidents (2002 and 2003) are very significant. They were orchestrated plans to drive the Hindus away from Maraadu beaches. For several years, Muslims had been attacking Hindus and sporadic attacks compelled lot of Hindu fishermen to leave the place and their traditional jobs and settle somewhere and do some other jobs for winning their daily bread. But, some of them, who were members of Sangh Parivar organisations, decided to stay back, come what may. In 2002, they were attacked by armed Muslims and several houses were torched. Couple of people died in the clashes. But the major and shocking incident took place on the May 3, 2003 when eight unarmed Hindu fishermen were killed by armed Muslims while they were taking rest on the beaches after returning from the sea. It was a planned attack. Blatant attempts were made to erase the evidences. The sealed mosque in the beach, which was alleged to have given asylum to the attackers and their weapons, was opened and cleaned after few days. Alibi was to prepare venue for a VIP’s prayers. It is significant that IUML was a partner of Congress leader AK Antony-led ruling United Democratic Front (UDF). Both the UDF and the CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) did not take keen interest for a CBI enquiry into the carnage.
Even though SIMI is banned they are still operating under different banners. Even though people heard a lot about SIMI camps conducted in Panayikulam (near Kochi) and Vagamon (near hilly Moonnar), no concrete actions or evidences are seen. Lots of youths are recruited to the militant groups.
Lots of new Islamic organisations are coming up in different names. Solidarity, National Democratic Front (NDF), Popular Front of India (PFI) are some of them.
Experts believe that ISI started to show interest in Kerala way back in 1983-84. The seeds of Islamic organisations like Muslim Aikya Vedi, Muslim Prathikarana Vedi, Jihad Committee, Jihad Movement, Muslim Yuvajana Vedi, Islamic Dawa Mission, Hisbul Mujahid, Al Ummah, Adam Sena, NDF, Jihad Conference, etc. were sown during this period. All of them were allegedly receiving foreign funds. There were reports of receipt of foreign funds by NDF in the year 2000 itself. But no action was initiated by successive Governments.
In Feb 2007, NDF and other similar organisations of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka assembled at an ‘Empower India Conference’ in Bengaluru. All these organisations merged together and Popular Front of India (PFI) was born.
In Tamil Nadu itself at least three senior Sangh Parivar leaders have been killed during the last few years. The Hindu Manch leader Vellayappan, Murukan and Ramesh, Chartered Accountant and TN state general secretary of BJP. There were attempts to kill Hindu Munnani leader Ramagopal, former BJP chief late Jana Krishnamoorthy and senior RSS leader Advocate Kuppu Ramu. Eighty Sangh Parivar workers have been killed in Tamil Nadu alone since 1985. Another shocking incident in Tamil Nadu was the bomb blast in RSS state karyalaya in Chennai on the August 8, 1993. Al Ummah and All India Jihad Committee are said to be main fundamentalist outfits in Tamil Nadu. There are reports of Indian Mujahideen’s activities in different parts of South-India.
Al Ummah, the All India Jihad Committee (AIJC), Al Mujahideen, Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra, Kazhagam (TMMK), Islamic Defence Force (IDF), Jamaithul Ahlul Quran-o-Hadis (JAQH), Sunnat Jamaat Peravai, Sunnat Jamaat Ilaingnar, etc. are reported to be the Muslim organisations in Tamil Nadu with extreme views.
Several blasts in Bengaluru has revealed that fundamentalist bodies are active in India’s Silicon Valley. The same is the case with Andhra Pradesh where Maoists were up in arms in several parts. Now, several political observers believe that Islamic fundamentalists and Maoists join hands in their clandestine activities. Doubts are also there about the rapport between Islamic fundamentalists and LTTE in Tamil Nadu.
Obviously we have to counter the fundamentalism on all fronts. The time and politiscape in India tell us on top their voice that one of the two fronts is might. That is, there should not be any compromise with the fundamentalism. Force should be used whenever and wherever it is necessary. Secondly, we should realise the force behind the fundamentalism. That is the political parties in our country. They support fundamentalists not because they do not know its danger, but due to the vote-bank they command.
Now, Kerala has become the safe haven of the fundamentalist forces, thanks to the vote-bank politics of ruling and Opposition Fronts. Therefore, Hindu vote-bank is the need of the hour. That is the only language our politicians understand. If Hindu vote-bank is a reality, political outfits will forget the minority votes and support the anti-fundamentalist forces.