The recent testimony by David Headley, reiterating that Ishrat Jehan was a LeT suicide bomber, has once again exposed many in the public sphere who can only be called ‘terror apologists’. In any self-respecting nation they would be classified more harshly, possibly as traitors; but present day Bharat, where the Nehruvian ‘Idea of India’ still reigns supreme, finds these terror apologists occupying high positions in our polity.
We will attempt to give an overview of the typical terror apologist, a breed that flourishes in politics, media and so-called civil society; the focus of this post is on the politician who apologizes for terror. Subsequent posts will address media and the NGO/’civil society’ world. But one thing which should be admired about this nexus of apologists is the synchronized manner in which they support each other to shape the narrative and further their collective agenda. Nationalists have a lot to learn from them.
Terror Apologists In Politics
“Terror has no religion” is the favorite phrase of this brand of politician terror apologist. Surprisingly, this phrase is not used in the case of Naxalite attacks, but crops up unfailingly whenever the nation faces an Islamist terror attack. This apologist can be further sub-divided into –
A.) A psuedo-secular Hindu politician who believes that denying the Islamist roots of terror attacks will win him/her votes from the Muslim community. Some examples of this category are :
- Mamta Banerjee, TMC supremo, who nominated Ahmed Hassan Imran to the Rajya Sabha in 2014, despite documentary evidence of Imran’s role in the communal violence that took place in Canning, South 24 Parganas district in 2013. Imran is also the co-founder and senior office bearer of now-banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). He is being investigated by NIA for being a front-man of the Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, a fundamentalist organisation that wants to topple the Sheikh Hasina Government in neighboring Bangladesh and carve out a “Greater” Bangladesh by annexing parts of West Bengal & Assam and merging those with Bangladesh.
- Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) party called Lashkar-e-Toiba operative Ishrat Jahan, shot dead in an encounter with Gujarat police in 2004, as ‘Bihar Ki Beti’ (daughter of Bihar) in 2013, as a ploy to woo Muslim voters before the crucial 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Nitish also ensured the Bihar police does not interrogate terrorist Yasin Bhatkal as he feared it would upset his minority votebank.
- Recently, Bihar Health Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son Tej Pratap Yadav, echoed Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s sentiments, saying Ishrat Jahan was a ‘daughter of Bihar’.
- Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi Chief Minister, called the Batla House encounter ‘fake’ & also asked for a probe into the Ishrat Jehan encounter. Highly-decorated Delhi Police Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma was killed in the Batla House operation, in which two Indian Mujahideen terrorists were killed, while two were arrested.
- Mani Shankar Aiyar, senior Congress ideologue and confidante of the Nehru-Gandhi family, justified the brutal terror attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo’s office as a ‘backlash’. Displaying remarkable double-speak, Congress claimed that Aiyar’s opinions were his own, but there was no condemnation from Sonia Gandhi or the Congress ‘High Command’.
- Rahul Gandhi’s remarked in 2009 to US ambassador Timothy Roemer that Hindu groups posed a bigger threat to Bharat than terror organization LeT. This was revealed via WikiLeaks.
- Akhilesh Yadav’s ruling Samajwadi party in UP had asked for the ban on terror organization SIMI to be lifted. SIMI was founded in Aligarh UP in 1977, with an aim to restore the supremacy of Islam through the resurrection of the khilafat (Caliphate), emphasis on the Muslim ummah and the waging of jihad. It was banned in 2001 after its members were found to be involved in various terror attacks and subversive acts. The Supreme Court has described SIMI as a ‘secessionist movement’. Incidentally, JNU’s anti-Bharat event mastermind Umar Khalid is son of ex-SIMI chief SQR Ilyasi. Ilyasi is now the national president of Welfare Party of India.
B.) The Marxist/communist politician who believes that accepting Islamist terror as a threat will hurt their ‘class struggle’ where the real enemy is the ‘Brahmanical Hindu hegemony’. This left-Islamist alliance built around a common enemy holds good in other parts of the world too, with the capitalist West and Israel being another favorite target.
- Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary of Communist Party of India-Marxists (CPM), has branded Israel as the “biggest terrorist” and asked for Bharat to cut all military ties with Israel (which is an important supplier of military equipment to Bharat). He had no words of condemnation for Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic terror organization which regularly targets innocent Israeli citizens through rocket attacks. Yechury has also repeatedly condemned Hindu ‘fundamentalism’, but maintained a strategic silence on Islamist terror.
- The CPM Government in Kerala from 2006-11, especially Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, extended political patronage to Islamic terrorists like Coimbatore Bomb Blast accused PDP leader Abdul Nasser Madhani and others. CPM Kannur district secretary P Jayarajan was also recently named as an accused in the brutal murder of RSS worker E Manoj.
C.) The third category of political terror apologist is the Muslim politician who would like the world to believe that Muslims are always the victims of terror, never the perpetrators; everything is a conspiracy to defame Islam, cooked up by Hindutva forces, Israel (Moassad), US (CIA) etc.
- Abdul Rehman Antulay, Congress leader and ex-Union Minister for Minority Affairs, claimed a ‘Hindu hand’ was involved in the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai. WikiLeaks revealed the cynical Congress doublespeak on the matter –
“Compounding matters, the Congress Party, after first distancing itself from the comments, two days later issued a contradictory statement which implicitly endorsed the conspiracy. During this time, Antulay’s completely unsubstantiated claims gained support in the conspiracy-minded Indian-Muslim community. The entire episode demonstrates that the Congress Party will readily stoop to the old caste/religious-based politics if it feels it is in its interest.”
- Kamal Farooqui, a Samajwadi Party leader and favourite panellist of media channels like NDTV, questioned whether Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal had been arrested just because he is a Muslim.
- Rashid Alvi, a senior Congress leader and national spokesperson of the party, joined his colleague Digvijay Singh in justifying Islamic terror as an outcome of the Babri Masjid demolition.
- Shakeel Ahmed, another Congress spokesperson, alleged in a tweet that a 2013 bomb blast outside the BJP office in Bengaluru might have been carried out by BJP itself! It was later found that Tamil Nadu based Islamic terror group Al Ummah was behind the blast.
- Asaduddin Owaisi, Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) party chief and Lok Sabha MP, threatened the country with a ‘third wave’ of Muslim radicalization over the 2013 Assam riots between the indigenous Bodo and illegal Bangladeshi Muslim immigrants. He has also claimed the terror convict Yakub Memon was hanged because ‘he was a Muslim’.
D.) The fourth category of political terror apologist is not known to most – It is a Christian politician who prefers to suppress talk of Islamic terror, as he/she thinks public awareness of the Islamist terror threat might help ‘fascist Hindutva’ forces. Hindu awakening in self-defence would also harm the ‘work’ of Christian missionaries who are busy harvesting Hindu souls.
- Sonia Gandhi continued her alliance with Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), both at the Centre and in the State of Kerala, despite a judicial commission finding that IUML leaders C. Mayin Haji and P.P. Moideen were directly involved in both the conspiracy and execution of the 2003 Marad massacre where 8 Hindus were killed by a Muslim mob. A large cache of swords, knives and bombs were stored in the neighbouring masjid for this attack in Marad, Kerala.
- A.K. Antony, then Kerala Chief Minister, opposed any CBI probe into the Marad massacre, and the investigation of the Kerala police under Antony’s rule came in for harsh criticism from the judicial commission set up at a later date.
- Radhakant Nayak, a Rajya Sabha member from Congress and World Vision (a Christian missionary organization operating under the guise of social work) chief in Orissa, stands accused of being behind the conspiracy to kill 85 year old Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati who was murdered for his work against religious conversion in Kandamhal, Orrisa. Senior Congress leaders have never commented on this issue.
But the numero uno of terror apologist politicians in Bharat is the one and only Congress General Secretary, Digvijay Singh. In 2010, Digvijay Singh launched a book “26/11 : RSS ki Sazish” written by Aziz Burney, Editor-in-Chief of leading Urdu newspaper ‘Roznama Sahara’. Other terror apologists gathered at that launch were – Maulana Mahmood Madani, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind general secretary & Rajya Sabha MP; K Rehman Khan, Congressman & Deputy Speaker, Rajya Sabha; Qalb-e-Jawad, Shia leader; and Maualana Tauqeer Raza, prominent Barelvi cleric.
Digvijay Singh is known to be extremely close to the Nehru Gandhi family, and is a mentor for the dynasty’s heir apparent, Rahul Gandhi. To this day, Sonia Gandhi has not condemned Digvijay Singh for his endorsement of a book that indirectly aids an enemy state, Pakistan. Sonia’s Congress, and particularly Home Minister P Chidambaram, ensured the term “Saffron Terror” gains currency, ironically in an era when Bharat is one of the biggest victims of Islamic terror.
In the next post, we will attempt to uncover the terror apologists in media.