Islamic Terrorism in India

Most Muslims are not terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims

Understanding Indian Muslim Islamic terrorism, Beyond Hindutva excuses

Posted by jagoindia on September 17, 2008

This article looks beyond the Babri bogey while analyzing Islamic terrorism in India. Full article is here
Understanding the terror spectre
Radhika Bordia, Supriya Sharma
Monday, September 15, 2008, (New Delhi)

But what about independent factors, like the growing hold of orthodoxy tied to changes in the Islamic world?

The affluence of oil rich Saudi Arabia is translating into greater influence of Wahabbism — a more hardline version of Islam.

Nadeem Hasnain, a professor of social-cultural anthropology at the Lucknow University, says: “As a south Asian anthropologist, what scare me the most is the Arabization of Islam which is rapidly taking place. I see it everywhere. For instance, take names like Saad bin Jung or the use of ‘ibn’. Now, even the name Saddam is becoming common in India.”

At home, the Deoband seminary is strong in condemning terror. But among the graduates in its madrassa are religious bigots like Mullah Omar.

The mullahs also finding allies in parties that call themselves secular, yet in the bid for Muslim votes they unabashedly support dangerous radical leaders.

Religious fault lines come into greater focus with blasts.

And so for instance when Bangalore was rocked by blasts, we found ourselves visiting Muslim centres in Karnataka, looking for evidence of radicalization. We were terrified at the discovery that radical Islam had taken root even in a state like Karnataka.

In January 2007, when people in a RSS-organised Hindu Jan Jagruti Mahotsav procession pelted stones at Muslim households, Muslim youth retaliated. And it almost sparked a riot in Bangalore.

Startling ruptures were there between the communities. But if we had looked closely, actually the signs were already there, unfolding in seemingly unconnected, unusual ways.

For instance, Yakshagana, the famed theatre of Karnataka once had Muslims, but no longer. In Rajasthan, powerful folk voices tell us of new maulvis who would rather not have them sing.

Folk artist Rukma Bai says: “They told me If I sing, they will make me an outcaste.”

Radicalisation on the ground is too powerful to ignore.

But where to go from here? What to do about it?

Questions we need to take on. But before we can, another blast has hit us.

Once again, we find ourselves in sensitive territory.

The trail of investigations leads to Muslim neighbourhoods Each detention makes us panic: Is the police rounding up innocents, and creating ground for further alienation?

This is a real and valid anxiety, but equally a cause of concern: How our police and our investigative agencies struggle with lack of resources and worse lack of intelligence?

Each blast is followed by a mandatory discussion on the need for a federal investigative agencies on the lines of the US FBI. But what’s the use when the existing agencies are struggling?

For example, for every 100 men required in Rajasthan to collect intelligence, only 80 are available. The Maharashtra state intelligence bureau is coping with 30 per cent vacancies. And when terrorists armed with the latest technology are hacking through email networks, our investigative agencies are grappling with numerous problems.

S C Tripathy, former DGP, Madhya Pradesh, says: ”Earlier they had special status both in terms of money and in terms of respect. Now they are gone. Money part, special pay, was substantial. But in the last, I mean forty years or so, the special pay percentage has not increased while the pay has increased. So naturally people are not willing to go to these jobs.”

An overhaul of Intelligence is something recommended by multiple reports — like the Kargil Review Committee Report (1999) and Group Of Ministers Report: Reformation of National Security System (2001).

A key recommendation, pending for almost a decade, is the need to immediately recruit an additional 3000 people in the Intelligence Bureau. To date, only 1,400 posts have been sanctioned. The IB has barely 3,500 field personnel in a country of 1.2 billion. What’s more shocking, there are hardly any Muslim officers.

We in the media often fall into same trap as the police we criticise. For a few days we’ll debate the blasts, cover the arrests, do stories on families and then it is all forgotten. It’s on to the next headlines, the next big story. But terrorism is a complex process. It needs to be tracked for weeks and months. Its multilayered: Involving Islamic fundamentalism, ghettoised communities, a world difficult to penetrate.

Then there is a wider problem. The canvas of jihadist Islam is wide, wider than national borders. How do we probe a phenomena unfolding outside our borders? Events that unfold in West Asia, Pakistan, Afghanistan. Policy decisions taken in Washington impact us in Delhi, Mumbai and Kashmir.

With truth elusive, fiction fills the vacuum. The latest Bollywood theme are terror and its aftermath — Mumbai Meri Jaan, Wednesday, Contract, Black Friday.

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